With three school-aged children of my own, I often find myself reminiscing about the “simple” days of my childhood. Some of my favorites that come to mind are the memories of playing outside. Tag, particularly a good old game of “Spotlight Tag,” is definitely among the top of my memory list.
Well, we’ve certainly come a long way from the game of tag I grew up with! Recently, I had the pleasure of stumbling my way through an explanation of the concept of a hashtag in a discussion about social media with my parents. You can imagine the look on their faces as I attempted to explain why in the world anyone would ever think communicating using a string of words tied together with a “pound sign” would be effective, and actually serve a purpose. What relevance could this possibly have? Wasn’t it enough that my mom was finally on Facebook??
Ok, so maybe my mom doesn’t need to adopt a hashtag to help herself get noticed. But for a school district, being “on social media'' isn't necessarily enough to make that part of your communication strategy most effective. Let’s take a look.
What is a hashtag anyway?
In simple terms, it’s functionality that converts a string of words or phrases into searchable links on social media platforms. Through this functionality content, and therefore brands, can be discovered because they are grouped together with other posts that share a similar theme.
Do I need one?
The short answer? ABSOLUTELY! The longer answer goes something like this. In the day and age of social media, your communication on this vehicle must be strategic and a bit less formal. A simple way to do that is to embrace the emergence of new functionality (and their respective vernacular) to maintain relevance and capture your audience’s attention. In other words, while hashtags are not new, if you don’t have one, you are likely missing an opportunity to effectively share your district story with your community and reach your broader potential audience.
How do I create one?
The good news? Allerton Hill Communications can help! But if you opt to go it alone, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- It’s an extension of your brand - so naturally, your options for consideration should connect to who you are or what you stand for.
- It must be unique; period. Once you identify a couple of options, head to Twitter and Instagram and plug them into the search fields. Get any hits? Move to next! No hits? You have a winner!
- It should stand the test of time. Choose something that works today, and will still work 5 years from now.
How do I use it?
In every piece of content, on every social media channel, in your email signature, on promotional materials for your school district. Essentially, anywhere you are talking about your school district, you should weave in your hashtag. It is THAT important.
So, embracing a few of my fondest childhood memories, flashlight in hand, I say:
The spotlight is on you, my friend! (Hash) tag, you’re it!