Making Your Mark: Creating the right hashtag for your event or campaign

Trending, engaging, Re-tweetable; buzzwords that every non-profit or association exec wants to describe their event and its presence on social media.

Getting your event, conference, initiative or awareness campaign to sizzle on Twitter takes time, work and persistence, but a great hashtag can go a long way to achieving this goal.

So, without further ado, here are five tips for creating an event hashtag for your organization

1. Shorter is sweeter

When you are creating your hashtag, make sure it is relatively short. Remember, you only get 140 characters on Twitter and a longer hashtag means less space for updates from your organization and less space for others to tweet questions and comments. Shorter hashtags will also be easier to remember. Tip: use the initials of your event or campaign’s name to shorten the hashtag.

2. Make it clear

Make sure your hashtag clearly tells what the event or campaign is about. Allusions and puns can be clever to those in the know, but they can be hard to remember and harder to search for those who are new to the scene and want to get involved.

3. Search it up

Great, you’ve thought of a clear and concise hashtag. The next step is to make sure it isn’t already being used. A simple twitter search will let you know if your desired hashtag is already in use. If it is, you might want to reconsider your hashtag as your tweets may get lost in the clamor and your followers may get confused. Using an already existing hashtag may not matter, or can even work to your advantage, but make sure there is nothing controversial or hugely popular about the existing hashtag.

4. Promote the heck out of it

Unless you are an A-list celebrity or an organization with a couple hundred thousand followers, your event or campaign hashtag will probably not explode overnight. This is where persistence and some advertising come in handy. Once you have a hashtag, promote it using every channel you have. Tweet about it frequently, put it on your website, link to it from other social media platforms, publish it prominently in newsletters and publications, put it up on a PowerPoint slide before presentations, put it on posters and use good old word of mouth to spread it around. And do all these well in advance, at least a month, before your event or campaign starts. This will get the hashtag into peoples’ minds, will get people talking and using it and make it easier to remember by the time the big day(s) roll around.

5. Maintain it

Once the event or campaign begins, don’t stop using the hashtag. It will be seen by followers and will be more likely to be used by them and re-tweeted out to their followers. Frequently check what people are saying using the hashtag and respond to tweets that use it. This will let people know that by using the hashtag, their voice is being heard and will encourage them to continue being involved. It also encourages more and more people to talk, contribute and use the hashtag because, let’s face it, people like being a part of things. Check the hashtag frequently after the event or campaign to respond to any late-comers and to make sure no one has hijacked the hashtag to badmouth your organization, its cause or its members.

A good hashtag alone won’t make your event or campaign a smashing success on social media or elsewhere, but it will go a long, long way to making that the case. Engaging and informative updates, persistence and frequent interaction with citizens of the Twittershpere are all ingredients as well. But never underestimate the power of the # symbol and how a great impact can come from a great hashtag.

The Big Thanks: Recognizing Sponsors and Donors on Social Media

There comes a time in every organization’s life where they go for the Big Ask; when an organization seeks out sponsors or donors for events or initiatives.

The importance of the Big Ask cannot be understated, because, well, most non-profits and associations just wouldn’t have the budget for all the things they do for consumers and members and so they need some help from outside sources.

But as much as enlisting the help of individuals or companies is crucial, recognizing these benefactors is just as significant. This showing of gratitude is what we like to call the Big Thanks and a Big Thanks needs a big stage, something social media provides.

On Twitter

Interacting with sponsors or donors on Twitter is one of the easiest ways to recognize their contribution. Mentioning them in a tweet not only lets sponsors and donors know you appreciate them and their giving, but it does it on a massive, public scale. You are letting the donors know that you appreciate their contribution enough to tell the world about them.

A mention in a tweet also includes sponsors and donors into your community by inviting them into the conversations you have with consumers, members, volunteers, other contributors, etc., and gives them a chance to share in this dialogue.

In short, thanking sponsors and donors on Twitter is like giving them a giant, warm welcome into your organization’s home.

On Facebook 

Put a face to sponsors’ or donors’ names by utilizing Facebook. You can, of course, list the people and companies who contribute to your cause or initiative, but Facebook allows you to get creative by adding photos, videos or customized tabs that showcase sponsors or donors.

Your organization is all about the people who make up the membership or consumer base and each one of those people are unique individuals. The same goes for sponsors or donors. Most of them want to be recognized as unique and caring, not just faceless logos or names.

On Blogs

Blogs are great because they allow many different voices to be heard through one medium. Give your sponsors and donors a chance to write a post or include some of their thoughts and comments into a post. The reason people and organizations give is they are passionate about the cause of an organization. It just makes sense to give contributors a forum to get this passion across to potential members, consumers, volunteers or future contributors. It’s always helpful to give readers a different perspective on what is special about your organization.

These are just a few ways social media can and will help your organization recognize those that are vital to its efforts and encourage more sponsors and donors to work with your organization in the future. When it comes to the Big Thanks, Incline Marketing can help your organization rise to the occasion.

Coming to You Live!: Live Tweeting and How it Helps Your Cause

It seems like a millennium ago that families would gather around the radio and listen to the great voices of their time read the news or perform their favourite show.

Ah, the intimacy of it all! The excitement! The togetherness!

Yes, radio in its heyday provided it all to the millions that tuned in every week, every day and every hour.

Fast forward to the present and the novelty that radio provided has been upgraded for the 21st century, and made better. It’s called live tweeting.

Live tweeting is the practice of composing up-to-the-minute tweets that give information and insight into a live event.

If you want to see an example of live tweeting in action, take a look at this journalist’s heart-warming and heartbreaking account.

Live tweeting an event has some key advantages for professional associations and non-profit organizations.

Just like the radio, Twitter allows a large group of people to access the information while, at the same time, making it feel like an intimate encounter. You are reaching right into the homes, offices, etc., of people around the world.

When you live tweet, you are not just reaching your members and addressing their interests, needs, concerns, etc., you are also reaching those who may be interested in what your organization has to offer, but are not familiar with your organization.

Live tweeting offers a behind the scenes look at events that many of your followers cannot get elsewhere. If provides members with an inside-the-ropes experience, giving them unique insight and enhancing your value and the value of the event itself.

Live tweeting an event allows members and the public stay up to date and to actively engaged, even if they are not there. This makes it so everyone feels included and makes it easier for people to join in and learn more.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, live tweeting offers an opportunity for your followers to engage with your organization during an event. This can take the form of questions, comments or additional insights that build a relationship with your members or interested parties. Instead of a one-way conversation, Twitter provides a forum for dialogue, making it easier to inform people and get them excited and engaged in your event and therefore your cause.

Here are some important things to keep in mind while live tweeting

  • A good hashtag goes a long way. A hashtag¬†allows Twitter users to track your tweets, see what people are saying about the event and join the conversation. A good event hastag should be to the point, short and easy to remember.
  • Keep your mobile device/laptop at your side and charged. This may seem obvious, but if you aren’t careful, during a long and hectic event you can find yourself without a pulse on your Twitter machine and that means live-tweeting goes belly up.
  • Pace yourself. Tweet too much and risk clogging up people’s Twitter feeds and scaring them away. Tweet too little and you could find your audience losing interest. Striking that balance depends on the pace and length of the event and the amount of interaction you are generating.
  • Attribute, Attribute, Attribute! Mention the people you meet, the venue, the speakers, the guests. This acts as a courtesy and an invitation for people to take their participation to the next level and helps others who could not be at the event to connect with those that are.

Whatever the event, whether it’s a fundraiser, a conference, a seminar, the ground-breaking of a new project or something else, live tweeting can shed light on your organization’s causes and benefits while giving others a chance to follow along and join in on the fun!

Picture This: Facebook and the Power of Photos

Mission statements are great for organizations and can help them focus their resources, priorities and members, but when it comes to explaining your organization’s brand to someone or telling a group of strangers what your association does, it’s easy to get tangled in jargon and mottos.

That’s where photos and Facebook don a cape and swoop in to save the day.

As the saying goes, pictures can say 1000 words, but they can just as easily bulldoze through lengthy lines of text and long explanations to get to the core of what an organization stands for. A photo can show the heart, the ambition and the purpose of an organization in one concise and powerful frame.

And the perfect place for these photos is on Facebook.

Facebook allows non-profits and professional associations an opportunity to post individual photos or whole albums. These photos capture the benefits an organization provides and promotes the organization to the wider community. Here are just a few examples of how:

  • Instead of talking about how a member or the community can benefit from your organization, put a face (or several faces) to the claim. Your words will no longer be abstract what-ifs, but have concrete, human results for potential members and clients.
  • Many associations and non-profits provide networking and education through conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. Putting together an album of these events highlights the opportunities of joining the association or utilizing the non-profit. It also strengthens the bond between those that attended, helps them network and increases excitement for the next event.
  • It is important to publish photos of members or staff being honored for the work they do. It promotes your members, your organization and the work being done by both. It also shows that your organization recognizes the achievements of those it supports. Facebook allows a forum for the honored individual to share their accomplishment with others, which is another service you can offer those considering membership, thinking about volunteering, etc.
  • Lastly, Facebook photos and albums allow an organization to let the work and passion of its members, clients and staff to shine through by capturing powerful moments. Showcasing the work of a proud member or publishing a photo of a determined volunteer could do more to boost interest and morale than other marketing and awareness campaigns.

The above are some of the many ways Facebook and its photo capabilities can be used to promote and grow your organization and its members. Incline Marketing is here to put the face back in Facebook and make sure members, staff, media and the wider community realize the human impact non-profits and professional associations have.