Using #hashtags at Your Charity Auction

First, if you don't understand Twitter, Instagram and whatever is next, ask a 15 year old to walk you through this post.  I feel your pain.   Bottom line is it's being utilized at Charity Auctions more every day. It's a great way to market your events and keep your Social Media updated and fresh.

It's a simple concept really.  You create a #hashtag for your Charity Auction and then tell everyone about it.  That's it.  Seriously.  Those who "get" Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, 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.  Keep it short and memorable (Twitter allows only 280 characters per tweet) and your hashtag counts against that number.  It could be #MarchForBabies #SaveTheWhales #YourSchoolsGala #FallFete #BlueShoeAuction  There are no restrictions, but also no way to "lock down" a hash tag, you never own it. So check if anyone else is using it to avoid any confusion. 

Tell everyone about your #CoolNewHashtag.  Use it in email blasts, newsletters, Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat.  Put it on your website and of course ANNOUNCE IT AT YOUR EVENT!   Make note of it on your tables, the big video screens and at the bar.  

Think of your hastag as 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. 

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:  

Original Tweet from Org:  "Last chance to get your tickets to this Friday's Save The Dung Beetle Gala.  Get tickets today at www.DungBeetlesGala.com/tickets  #DungBeetleGala

Re-Tweet from Guest Follower #1:  Can't wait to see everyone Friday @ The #DungBeetlesGala   

Tweet from Guest Follower #2:  Heads up @auctionboy,  the next auction item is an AWESOME trip to Spain!!  #DungBeetlesGala

Tweet from Guest Follower #3:  Just met my favorite Chef @ChefExtrodenaire at #DungBeetleGala  Look at me!  http://instagram.com/p/RTfWVCICBJ/ 

Tweet #2 from Org:  Can't make it to this years #DungBeetleGala  Make a $25 donation at www.DungBeetleGala.com/donate

The common thread here is everyone uses the same Twitter Hashtag, #DungBeetleGala   Anyone in the world could follow along with what's happening in regards to your event, by simply going to #DungBeetleGala

Quick Notes:

- Make sure nobody else is using the same #hashtag 

- Keep it short and memorable

- Many #hashtags have a short life span.  That's fine.  But it's becoming more common to "own" a hashtag as best you can by repeatedly using it.

- Remind guests at Check in "We're using hashtag #DungBeetleGala tonight if you are Following us on Social Media."  A sign or two will also help spread the word.

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

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

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