Facebook just rolled out hashtags, allowing users to incorporate them into their status updates. Instagram and Twitter users are already familiar with hashtags, and now that Facebook is in the game, ministries will be able to truly engage in cross-channel integration. 

Effective social media strategy is really all about connecting and community. Hashtags are a great way to unite conversations, connecting users and reinforcing that warm and fuzzy feeling of community.

But first, here’s a quick primer on this thing called hashtags and why they play an important role in social media storytelling. Hashtags (#) are used to earmark keywords or topics, making them easily searchable. They’re also great for tracking buzz surrounding a specific event, such as #oc13 (Orange Conference 2013) or #d62013 (DC Conference 2013). Every industry and niche has its own unique community specific hashtags. In the world of ministry, some of the most widely used hashtags include #kidmin, #stumin, #fammin, #missions and #ministry.  For non-profits there’s a lot of buzz generated around the hashtags #nonprofit, #fundraising, and #philanthropy. Big brands frequently use hashtags to help solidify an overall theme, such as Nike’s 2012 #makeitcount campaign.

How can ministries leverage the new Facebook hashtags feature to maximize social media conversations about their brand?

Organize conversations: Facebook hashtags will make it easier to organize conversations surrounding a specific event, such as an annual youth ministry conference or a mission trip.

Monitor conversations: The combination of tracking hashtags and using Facebook page analytics will enable ministries to really hone in on what types of messaging resonate with their audience. 

Drive conversations: Facebook hashtags will allow social media managers to drive the conversations about their ministry and will lead to creative fan engagement campaigns. For example, asking a question and encouraging fan responses made trackable with a specific hashtag allows followers of a ministry Facebook page to be engaged in an organic conversation.

How will your ministry incorporate Facebook hashtags into its social media strategy?

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