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Hashtags: Use them to Help your Nonprofit

Social media can be an incredible tool to help grow your audience and increase awareness for your cause. A great way to do that? Hashtags! Often times, folks have great content to share, but if you don’t use any hashtags, only your followers will see it. Hashtags are a great way to meet new audience members. 

If you’re new to the world of social media, don’t worry. We will give you a step by step guide for how to effectively use hashtags to grow your nonprofit organization’s social following.

First, what is a hashtag? 

A hashtag is a short metadata tag used on social media or on blog posts that enables cross referencing content about a topic or theme.  

For instance, your nonprofit agency could use the tag #nonprofit or #fundraising. People who are interested in learning more about Nonprofits or Fundraising can search those tags and come across your post. And voila! A new person has discovered your organization.

Here are a few tips for using hashtags:

1. You can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, use as many relevant tags as you can! 

Think of a hashtag as a net. The more you use, the more eyes you’ll have on your post.  


2. Use a mixture of Large to Niche tags. 


Using a large hashtag that is followed by millions of people is great to get the ball rolling, but without a substantial group of followers, your post could be lost among the competition. For example, the hashtag #nonprofit is considered a large tag, as it has over 6 million posts on Instagram. This is why we recommend using a variation of large, medium, and small hashtags to help reach different audiences, from broad to specific topics. 


3. Use tags that already exist. 

A search bar on Instagram with the word Nonprofit and a list of hashtags with their following size below

It can be fun to tag a particular phrase that is unique to your org. For example, here at Digital Mountaineers we often use the phrase “Social Media for Social Good.” We sometimes use this as a tag, but using one or 2 unique tags are appropriate, you want to use tags that are commonly used. To search and make sure hashtags are popular, go to your search bar on Instagram and type in the tag. Click the Tags section and there you will be able to find popular hashtags. In the photo, we searched for nonprofit & the search results show us popular tags with similar topics, such as #NonprofitsOfInstagram.


4. Keep a list of the hashtags you use. 


It’s a great idea to categorize all of the hashtags you use in a document to keep track of which ones you’ve used and which are successful. If you have a team that handles social media, it can be helpful to list the hashtags in terms of Niche (under 1000), Small (1k-10k), Medium (10k-500k), Large (500k-1 mil) & Extra Large (over 1 million).


5. Make sure you vary the hashtags used. 


You don’t want to use the exact same tags for every post. It’s important to make sure the tags are relevant to the content you are sharing. Pro tip: Organize 8-10 groupings of hashtags and alternate between them when relevant to cut down time when searching for tags to use. This way, you and your team can spend time creating great content rather than worrying about which tags to use!


If you’d like further guidance on creating content that feels authentic and relevant for your organization, check out our previous post about Enhancing Business Storytelling.

Social media can feel overwhelming, but making small adjustments like utilizing hashtags, you can reach a bigger audience and make sure your content is seen.   

As specialists in Social Media Management, we are always here to help. Have a question about social media? Feel free to send us a message. 



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