Using Twitter #hashtags at Your Charity Auction

First, if you don't understand Twitter, grab an 18-30 year old to walk you through this post.  It took me while to really understand this concept too.  The good news...this is still in it's infancy of being utilized at Charity Auctions. But it's a great way to market your events and keep your Social Media updated and fresh.

It's a simple thing really, you create a #hashtag for your Charity Auction and then tell everyone about it.  That's it.  Seriously.  Those who "get" Twitter, will handle the rest.  It's like a dog whistle for the cool kids.  Here's how it works.

When you start planning your event, create a hashtag that represents your event.  It can literally be anything you want.  I recommend keeping it short and memorable (Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet) and your hashtag counts against that number.  It could be #MarchForBabies #SaveTheWhales #EmersonGala #FallFete #BlueShoeAuction  There are no real restrictions.  then start telling everyone.  Use it in email blasts, newsletters, post on your Facebook page, add it to reservation confirmations, put it on your website and of course POST it AT YOUR EVENT!  Put it on tables, your big video screens and on your silent auction tables. Also announce it occasionally during the event.

Think of your hastag as creating a Virtual Club House for your guests.  It's basically saying...If you are interested in this event, we are having a conversation at "this location".

People using Twitter can/will add to the conversation at anytime.  You don't do anything. 

I know this is like reading Greek for many of you, but give it a try.  It's free and pretty harmless. 

A typical hashtag thread may look something like this:  

Tweet #1 from Org:  Last chance to get your tickets to Friday's Brown Eyed Furry Little Critter Auction.  Get tickets today at insertyourwebsite.com/buytickets #critterauction

Tweet #2 from Guest 1: Can't wait to try the new menu from @chefBoyardee at #critterauction this Friday.

Tweet #3 from Guest 2: Heads up @auctionboy the next auction item is that trip to Spain you wanted #critterauction

Tweet #4 from Guest 4: Just met my favorite Chef of all time at #critterauction Look at me! http://instagram.com/p/RTfWVCICBJ/ 

Tweet #2 from Org: Can't make it to this years #critterauction  Make a $25 donation at insertyourwebsite.com/donatetoday

the common thread here is everyone uses the same Twitter Hashtag, #critterauction, so anyone could follow along with what's happening in regards to your event.

Quick Notes:

- Make sure nobody else is using your hashtag 

- Keep it short and memorable

- Many #hashtags have short life span.  That's fine.

- Remind guests at Check in "We're using hashtag #critterauction tonight if you are Following us on Twitter."

- Your "Followers" can post links, photos, comments.  Twitter users will know what to do.

- It's all free, so give it a try!