A few days ago, I was exploring some new hashtags I had been seeing on Twitter and Google+ and I had noticed that they had really caught on in the social media community. However, there were two that had several postings, but weren’t being used by others much. I actually reached out to one of them saying it was a cool new community reach. They said; “You are the first one to respond to it.” “I’ve been doing it for close to eight months now, but I’m keeping it alive.” I also responded that I have started a few myself and only two have really caught on in the last few years. They then asked me, why we still do it. Which was a really good question.
There was a great Hashtags 101 by Adweek a few years ago. In fact, I used it when I started my original #appdice hashtag in early 2014 and later #DiceUPtheclassroom (which is used sparingly now). Most have noticed that my common hashtags have been: #RobotEDU and #coding4kinders, which have slowly started finding an audience. So, a question I get a lot, is what happens when you are a Hashtag of One and you still want to stay focused on trying to make it an active community for learning or engagement in social media.
- Similar to what Adweek said, make sure you brainstorm first. What is something you are not only passionate about, but know you can also show what your hashtag is all about. One great Hashtag is #WalkMyWorld which is an engagement of showing what you love, why it is important to you. Starting a hashtag that is: #lillywalk and not showing images or support to what it is about isn’t going to really find much engagement. The hashtag might mean about frogs in the water, a person name Lily who is learning to walk or a type of artistic style. Remember, your hashtag has to be relatable, engaging and applies to what it means.
- Don’t expect it turn into an overnight success. Hashtags take a while to really catch on and in fact I know a relative that uses hashtags constantly and 9 times out of 10 they have nothing relatable. Putting in: #popdrink will get you so many searches you will be a snowflake lost in a blizzard. Good community engagements take time, I know that at one time Teach Like a Pirate #tlap was used for other terms, but the growing of engagement through various teachers and students on social media like Twitter helped it grow and it turned into something amazing, but it took time and one of the big factors was chat leading to #3.
- Host an online chat using your hashtags. Trust me, #tlap really turned into an amazing hashtag when weekly chats started becoming a stable. . When chats started becoming the norm you have to start monitoring the hashtag. As Adweek perfectly said: “be sure to monitor it in the days and hours leading up to the event, during the event itself, and post-event for photos and feedback. Your community is looking to you to be the central pillar, so make sure no tweet goes unnoticed!”
- Be patient. It takes time, up to months to a year at a time to really get a good hashtag going. Be patient, learn what engages others and what doesn’t work and learn from it. Just like having a classroom, you have to find out what engages the student, how to manage the daily operations and introduce new and exciting experiences with others. It will help your community grow and spread rapport to others.