Using Social Media for Ministry

Playing the Hashtag Game

It’s no longer about the coolest looking fliers you can print up or even the innovative prize you offer to get the word out about what’s going on in your ministry.

It’s about how you’re using social to get your audience’s attention, and a big part of that is the hashtag. Yeah, that symbol that used to be a pound sign, and for those Snapple fans, before the number symbol its original name was “octothorpe.” Is this more than you ever wanted to know about the “#”?

Did you say, “no”? Good! Because we have some exciting news about the hashtag, or octothorpe as some of you may call it. This symbol paired with the right keyword can tune your audience into what you are doing and help broadcast your ministry and events unlike anything else.

If you’re on campus, that is likely in the first six weeks of school. You can use strategic hashtags as a way for a team of students to work together to take their own photos, videos and creatively engage their campus using social media. It’s not too complicated, allows the students to have fun together as a team, and should definitely help engage freshmen and other new students.

As a ministry team, decide on a unique but readable Main Hashtag that would connect well with new students and get their attention and curiosity.  It should sum up what your ministry is and what you offer to the campus. You’ll only use it for a specific time frame.  

For Example: #WhyDiscipleChicago or #WhyDiscipleChicagoRetreat would meet all those criteria. 

Use your Main Hashtag in a general way and then in a more specific way that works for your specific audience. For example, #UF2016 and #CruUF2016 will not only alert students to your particular ministry, but it will also get in the social media streams of those individuals who may not know about your ministry, but are looking up that in general hashtag.

In that way of thinking, find popular local hashtags that you can use to promote any events or meetings you have coming up. You'll have to poke around to find other ones that are big on social media related to your area. #Rio2016 #AIAinRio

You can also brainstorm with your team on more general sayings that are related to what you are posting. For example, if you’re posting helpful tips for incoming freshmen you can use #HelpAFreshmanOut.

Be sure to alert your ministry team and involved audience to use the hashtag at the same time so that you have the chance to be trending and will be on more streams sharing the same message for the biggest potential impact.

After you and your team have posted on your chosen social media platforms, everyone should be encourage to keep posting and tweeting using the hashtags for the duration of your campaign or event. Set individual goals for the number of posts/tweets you want to make over that time frame. Now, it’s time to start planning how you’re going to celebrate an awesome event or campaign!

What to post:

  • Pictures of you and a friend saying you're excited to meet new people.
  • Are you targeting freshmen, or new people to your city? Advertise helping with move-in.
  • Live" shots from any and all your events.
  • "Live" behind-the-scenes shots of getting ready for your events (buying food, putting together swag and snacks for Activities Fair).
  • Little bits of advice you have for people new to the area: Where to eat, places to buy the best fruit, tips on getting good seats at sporting events.
  • Short videos of live happenings from your events.
  • Photos and text that would appeal to Christian in your area, like shots of the group praying for your target audience.


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