There are three reasons to use a hashtag: to group things together with a unique identifier (so that clicking on a hashtag will bring up all the other tweets about that topic, examples: #loveoneanother, #changedlives), to insert a tweet into a conversation (examples: #sermon, #proverbs, #love), or to hop onto a trending topic. You can now use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. [Read #Hashtags vs @Mentions: A Case Study]
While hashtags have a lot of potential, people are still trying to figure out how useful they are. Don’t overload your posts with a lot of hashtags, or use them just for the sake of using them. You can probably save the characters to provide a better post, and only use a hashtag when you think it will add value or context.
If you’re posting a quote from a sermon, it makes sense to create a hashtag that relates to that specific sermon series. Users can click on the hashtag and instantly see other quotes and links related to that sermon (if the hashtag is unique enough.)
Here are a couple examples of a Twitter giveaway that uses a hashtag:
We have 5 copies of @pastoremase’ new book #manhoodrestored to give away. RT to enter to win a copy. [link to the book]
We have 5 copies of our new worship album to give away. Tweet your favorite song with #ChurchSongs to enter to win.
To pick a winner, you would do a search for the hashtag to see everyone who tweeted for the contest or search for a specific phrase they are retweeting. We usually count up the number of tweets and enter it into random.org to randomly choose a winner.
You can then @reply that person or DM them to notify them that they won. From there you can ask for their address to ship the item, or if they are local arrange for them to pick it up at church.
Read more in my free book Social Media Guide for Churches