Twitter really shines as a communications tool when you use it with hashtags. Hashtags are words or phrases prefixed with the hash symbol (#), #justinbeiber for example.
Hashtags have two major benefits – they help your tweets get found (by people who are searching for your subject), and they help you find good content. You can make up your own hashtag – #ihateitwhenthathappens for example – but that’s more of a sentiment than a communications strategy.
Use a hashtag that’s popular and meaningful to your interests – like #nptech, which stands for nonprofit tech – and you’ll tap a powerful vein of conversation and learning.
When you use a popular hashtag like #nptech in your tweets, you’re more apt to get retweets and click-throughs and spur interaction with your followers.
Do a persistent and regular search for a popular industry hashtag – #fundraising is another example – and you have access to a pure, topical news stream. In other words, hashtags let you cut to the chase, and they really sing once you use a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to monitor the hashtags in streams.
My absolute favorite nonprofit hashtag is #nptech because it consistently yields good results. You often see it paired with 1-2 other hashtags to expand the reach of the tweet – #nptech and #fundraising for example. In fact, follow a big hashtag like #nptech to find niche hashtags such as #sm4sg.
Another great use of hashtags is the Twitter chat – a conversation that happens on Twitter that’s focused within a certain time (usually 1-2 hour slot), on a specific topic and by a specific person. Twitter chats often occur on a regular schedule (once a week, twice a month, etc.). Once you learn the hashtag for the chat, you can use a tool such as Tweetchat (specifically designed for Twitter chats) to view the chat and participate in the conversation in real time.
Twitter chats are a fantastic way to discover new people to follow on Twitter.
Here are some popular and consistent hashtags and Twitter chats for nonprofits.
#csr – corporate social responsibility
#ngo – nongovernmental organization
#npcons – nonprofit consultants
#nptech – nonprofit tech
#sm4sg – social media for social good
#socent – social entrepreneur or social enterprise
#nptalk – nonprofit talk (weekly Wednesdays, 3-4pm EST | about the chat)
#ynpchat – young nonprofit professionals (first Wednesday of the month, 4-5pm EST | about the chat)
#npcons – nonprofit consultants (third Tuesday of the month, 4-5pm EST | about the chat)
#socentchant – social entrepreneurs (first Wednesday of the month, 4-6pm EST | about the chat)
#smNPchat – small nonprofits (every other Friday, 12-1pm EST | about the chat)
I’m working on a separate post about conference hashtags to follow. Got a suggestion? Please post it in the comments – thank you!
- Don’t Drink From the Twitter Firehose. Filter it! (companykmedia.com)
- 11NTC Tip of the Day : Participate in the Twitter Conversation (#11NTC) (nten.org)