School Auction Social Media Strategy Series: Hashtags

23 Apr 2019 By Kelsey Zander

A social media campaign isn’t complete without a catchy hashtag. Hashtags have shown to increase engagement across Instagram by 12.6%, and a tweet with a hashtag is 55% more likely to be shared.

Hashtags take some brainstorming. Ask your volunteers to submit their hashtags by a specific date early in the campaign, or have a hashtag party and let the ideas flow. By thinking up as many hashtags as you can at once, you’ll have a master list to refer to when inspiration has abandoned you.

Hashtags are a quick, easy way to get the word out about your auction, but they also bring visitors to you. Use your designated auction hashtag on every post, but individualize your remaining hashtags for that specific post. For example, by hashtagging the brand or name of your auction item, any person who searches for that hashtag can run across your post.

It’s also a great way to share inspiration with school auctions everywhere. #SchoolAuction is a fun one that gives you an opportunity to share across a like-minded audience and see what others are doing as well.

More is not necessarily better. Two to three hashtags have the best results on Facebook and Twitter. On Instagram you have more room to play – 11 is the golden maximum number.

It may be small, but it’s mighty, and that’s why it is so easy to overthink your hashtag. We’ve included a few tried and true tips to get you headed in the right direction.

  • Capitalize every word for easy comprehension. #SchoolLuauAuction is much easier to read than #schoolluauauction.
  • Include your school’s name in your hashtags to ensure exclusivity. Also include a hashtag with just your school’s name so anyone browsing your school’s hashtag will run across your post.
  • Search Instagram for other popular hashtags in your area, especially if it ties into your auction. For example, if you live in Portland, the #RoseCity hashtag has 207k posts! If you are auctioning off a pair of Blazer tickets, adding that hashtag to your Blazer ticket post increases the views by people who are also interested in what you are auctioning but may not be connected to your school. Of course #GoBlazers, #RipCity, and other related hashtags are powerful, too, but remember to stick to the recommended number of hashtags per platform for the greatest impact.
  • Keep it simple. The goal here is to convey a message as directly and quickly as possible. While long, silly hashtags have their place, ad campaigns are not it. If a viewer sees too many hashtags or hashtags that are too long, they’re more apt to skip the post entirely.
  • When it makes sense, add a year at the end of your hashtags so you can recycle them again next year.
  • Add #SchoolAuction to your list of tags. We love seeing all of your posts, and other schools will, too!

Include these hashtags in all of your promotional material: social media content, banners, posters, and school fliers. Offer small goodies for sharing hashtags and tagging your Facebook or Instagram page, like a free door raffle ticket or a dollar off admission tickets. (Stay tuned for other fun social media promotions to get the word out later in this series.)

Congrats, your campaign is well underway! You’ve created your Event Site, set up your social media pages, come up with your auction’s hashtag, and now it’s time for the fun part—creating content.