Social Media Marketing for Community Theaters: 5 Simple Steps to Creating a #CustomHashtag

In our previous article, Should Your Community Theater’s Social Media Marketing Plan Include a #CustomHashtag?, we outlined the benefits and best practices for using #CustomHashtags in your community theater’s social media marketing plan. Today we’ll be walking you through five simple steps to creating your own #CustomHashtag.

CC Image by misspixels
CC Image by misspixels

Let’s get started!

Step 1) Jumpstart With Questions

Roxanne at r3socialmedia.com has some great initial questions to help jumpstart the process before diving into a brainstorming session. We’ve tweaked them a little so that they’re more relevant to arts and culture organizations:

  • What is the purpose of your #CustomHashtag? Are you looking to promote a specific event, a new goal for your organization, or to simply encourage a fun conversation?
  • If you’re promoting an event:
  • What’s the name of the event? (Event names make great starting points for promotional hashtags.)
  • Is this a reoccurring event, or is it a one-time occasion?
  • What’s the purpose of the event?
  • If you’re promoting a specific goal for your organization:
  • What’s the goal?
  • Why is it important?
  • Does this goal have a deadline?
  • If you’re hoping to spark a fun and engaging conversation:
  • What topic would you like the conversation to center around?
  • What is your audience interested in?
  • Can you find a common ground between the answers to the two questions listed above?
CC Image by Andy
CC Image by Andy

Step 2) Begin the Brainstorming

Use the questions from Step 1 to help get the brainstorming process off the ground. Your answers should help with establishing some basic keywords, as well as providng a narrower scope to work within.

CC Image by Andy Mangold
CC Image by Andy Mangold

Here are some pro tips to keep in mind during your brainstorming session:

  • Keep it short and simple. You’re limited to 140 characters per tweet, so try for #CustomHashtags with high impact and low character counts.
  • Relevance is key. Your #CustomHashtag should establish a clear connection with your event, organization, or conversation.
  • Make it easy to remember. The easier it is to remember, the more likely your audience members and/or followers are to use it. Don’t make them search for it…because they probably won’t.

Once you’ve concluded your brainstorming session(s), narrow your list down to your top three choices and move on to Step 3.

Step 3) Check Twice, Choose One

We really can’t stress how important it is to research your proposed #CustomHashtags before you put them to use. Remember that you’re checking for any previous use, as well as hints that its use could have a negative impact on your community theater’s reputation.

The best way to search for hashtag usage is to use the Twitter search feature. Type in your chosen hashtag(s) and see what shows up!And check popular weekly ads:
Avon Catalog, Publix Weekly Ad, Aldi Ad, Safeway Ad
Cvs Weekly Ad, Aldi Catalogue, Coles Catalogue, Woolworths Catalogue

We did a quick search to show you what your ideal search result should look like:

Screen Shot of Search ResultsNo results? Excellent! This means that you’ve created a completely unique #CustomHashtag that’s never been used before. You’re now ready to move on to Step 4!

Did your search yield some results? Head back to the brainstorming stage and try for more event- or organization-specific #CustomHashtags.

Step 4) Register Your #CustomHashtag

Now that you have a completely unique and original #CustomHashtag, it’s time to register it! There are a few different websites that you can do this through, so decide which one is best for your community theater.

Our two favorites are:

Remember, this doesn’t mean that you own your hashtag. Registering your #CustomHashtag simply ensures that your idea is in fact yours and also helps you to track and engage with your #CustomHashtag’s usage.

Step 5) Put that #CustomHashtag to Use!

CC Image by Théo
CC Image by Théo

You did it! Now it’s time to put that hard work into action. Start using your #CustomHashtag in your social media posts on Twitter, as well as any other social media and printed promotional material.

Intrigued by #CustomHashtags and Twitter? Want to learn more? Be sure to check out some of our previous blog posts on the topic: