A year and half ago, John Crist made a hilarious YouTube video talking about how ridiculous wedding hashtags are. If you haven’t seen it, I put it on the post at the bottom of this page. But it got me thinking, should churches actually take time to have a church hashtag?
This is not the first time we have written about the topic. Go search for hashtags on ChurchMag and you will find 180 blog articles with the word hashtag in the title. We even have a podcast episode about it, back when Phil was on it. #RIPPhil
Yeah, we might have overdone it.
But many of these posts were trying to be predictive of what could come of hashtags and how they can be powerful. And I stand by everything that was set on what could have been, would have been, should have been…
… but wasn’t.
Turns out, we are not great at coming up with creative hashtags. They are ugly to look at and complicated to read. No more #FirstBaptistChurchBaptisms or #EasterAtCrossroadsChurch. It’s too many letters and not enough time to try to sort out what is being said. And if you use something generic like #HolyChristmas or #ComeToChurch, you will get your hashtag hijacked so fast by other churches and even other companies.
I also read this comment on a Facebook Church Communicator’s group about hashtags:
Further, the purpose of a hashtag is to create a community. It makes it easier to connect and find your post. If you’re the only one using that hashtag, it defeats the point.”
We may be the only ones that are drinking the Koolaid on this one, guys.
Do We Keep Trying?
Do we keep pushing announcement slides promoting hashtags, putting thirty hashtags on every Instagram post, and hoping against hope that someone will use it?
The cliche definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
My suggestion? No… probably not.
Most of the time, I have worked with churches who are sub 500 people, most of them around 150ish. If you only get 5-10% buy-in from the church, most likely your staff and your family, then it is not creating community and it’s actually just adding noise. More likely, you have some serious social media marketing difficulties ahead of you and a custom hashtag is not going to fix it.
If you are still determined or you actually see community and growth coming from hashtags, let me share a couple of tips for you that I’ve stolen from other ChurchMag articles:
- “Different platforms also favor different numbers of hashtags.” – Chris Wilson
- “Facebook is the opposite, posts without hashtags actually are better.” – Jeremy Smith
- “Every account (and or hashtag) associated with your church is now linkable in your Instagram bio.” – Blessing Mpofu
- “When considering using a hashtag, check the quality of the feed.” – Chris Wilson
Now go work on these improvements or figure out how to quit hashtagging all together. But before you do that, enjoy John Crist.
And let us know your worst church hashtag you’ve made or seen in the comments below.