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How to use hashtags for #good

This week is a very exciting one! The 19th of August brings us both World Humanitarian Day and Photography Day, and the 23rd marks the Hashtag's 13th birthday. As humanists, creatives and marketers, all 3 inspire us enormously, but what inspires us the most is how they can work together to change the world through the power of #good.

To give you a bit of context, Photography Day dates back to 1839, and is a celebration to commemorate the huge importance of this life-changing invention in our past, present and future, because as they say, an image is worth a thousand words.

On the other hand, World Humanitarian Day was officially declared by the UN in 2009, as recognition and awareness of good people around the globe risking their lives every day to make a better world.

Finally, this week also marks the birthday of the hashtag - since its first use 13 years ago, the hashtag has evolved into a highly significant and influential tool on various social media platforms, including twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok. It is estimated that over 125 million hashtags are shared every single day - now that’s a whole lot of hashtags with the potential to do a whole lot of #good!

Both photography and hashtags have played a key role in this digital age when it comes to humanitarianism. Whilst photography can raise awareness of the reality through the morality of sight, hashtags have recently created an even bigger exposure for humanitarians and their work.

In fact, hashtag activism is a real concept that has flourished in the last five years, demonstrating the power the hashtag has to promote humanitarian values across the globe. The hashtag has become the source of many world-changing movements, including #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter. Humanitarian hashtags have become an inspiring, refreshing alternative to the constant negativity we see on the news today - the celebration of humanitarianism through hashtag activism can give us hope for a better, brighter future.

So, what can humanitarian hashtags do?

  • Spread awareness

  • Start a global conversation

  • Rally communities

  • Organise days or events

  • Become a resource of support/help/information

How to use these hashtags for #good

Now that we have established the many purposes of humanitarian hashtags and what they can achieve, how can we use them effectively? We have compiled a list of our top tips below:

1. Find out what’s trending

Like most things in social media, humanitarian-related topics have trends too. By identifying and using trending humanitarian hashtags that relate to your content, you will be able to increase your reach, as these are going to have an increased visibility among social media platforms due to their current relevance.

In recent years, there have been multiple trending hashtags which have been the catalyst for major social change. Among these are:

You can use other resources to explore and understand what humanitarian topics may become more prevalent in the upcoming months. A good source of information is The New Humanitarian’s trends to watch in 2020 article.

2. Use hashtags with varying popularity

When using a hashtag that hundreds of thousands of other posts use on a daily basis, your content is more than likely to get lost among the crowd. We suggest using a range of both very popular hashtags and less popular ones, in order to increase the chance of your content being seen.

We recommend sticking to the following ratio for your hashtags:

  • 30% - hashtags with 1 million + posts

  • 40% - hashtags with 100k - 1 million posts

  • 30% - hashtags with less than 100k posts

3. Use location hashtags

This tip is perfect for those who want to spread awareness of a specific humanitarian event that will take place. By specifying the location, other users may come across your content in the local area, making them more likely to participate.

4. Use acronyms from organisations

It is a really great idea to incorporate some organisations within your humanitarian content, however the names of these organisations are often extremely long, meaning they are not as popular. Luckily, many organisations have already identified this, and have created their own acronyms to resolve this. By incorporating these acronyms into your hashtag lists, you are including them in your humanitarian projects!

5. Use hashtags that have a large following

Hashtags that have a large number of followers should not be confused with hashtags that have a large number of posts. Hashtags can be followed by users, meaning that when a post uses the hashtag, it will end up on a follower’s feed. These can be an extremely effective way of reaching out to a new, like-minded audience, and are therefore often the best way to start conversations.

6. Make a unique hashtag specific to your aim

Creating a unique hashtag for your humanitarian content can be especially effective if your aim is to develop your own resource of information on a specific humanitarian topic. This has proven extremely useful in the past with other humanitarian movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, which provided in-depth advice and support for those who suffered.

The list of powerful, humanitarian hashtags is growing every single day. Originally a simple symbol of categorised content, the hashtag has become the symbol for free speech, true justice and social activism that has brought the whole world together. It is no surprise that World Humanitarian Day is using the hashtag #RealLifeHeroes for their 2020 celebration, in order to recognise those who have changed the world for better. You can read more about this (humanitarian) hashtag on the WHD website.

At Bob’s, we have been so inspired by humanitarian hashtags that we have decided to come up with our own. We may not be able to start a whole social movement, but we can do our little bit by providing support on what we know best - digital creativity. Therefore, we would like to introduce our new channel #bobhelps. This hashtag has been created to help you with all things digital, giving advice and experience to take your brand to the next level.

For more information on #bobhelps, visit our instagram page!

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