Top Hashtags to Use for CSR & Sustainability Communication Pros

Originally published on 3BL Media

Not entirely sure what a hashtag is or how and why you should be using them in your tweets? Check out this blog post: The How’s and Why’s of Using Hashtags on Twitter. Once you have the basic understanding of hashtags down, it’s time to gwork towards selecting and using the best hashtags for your tweets.

Hashtag Success

Recommending hashtags is a task that ranges from simple to nearly impossible, but here are a few things to consider first:

  • What’s the main topic or idea of the tweet’s content?
  • What hashtags are being used in other tweets about similar content?
  • Is this tweet supporting an event or concurrent conversation already using a hashtag?

Let’s start with the popular categories we segment content into at 3BL Media. (Some topics are more popular than others but this is just a list to inspire and get the hashtag ideas flowing.)

  • Awards & Recognition
    • #recognition
    • #CSRaward
    • Many awards will also have their own specific hashtag
      • #DITop50 – 2015 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity
      • #DJSI – Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
  • Business & Trade

For more info here, check out How to Identify Relevant Hashtags for Your Business

Further reading: The Complete Guide To Twitter Hashtags For Education

Want more #energy ideas? Review The Ultimate Green Twitter Hashtag List: Build Your Online Green Twitter Following

It’s always best to check and see if the event has a designated hashtag. If the event is organized by you, create your own hashtag and be sure to promote and include in all materials so all attendees are aware of it

  • Sustainable Brands 2015 San Diego –  #SB15SD
  • Cause Marketing Forum 2015 – #CMF15

4 Tips for Picking the Best Hashtag for an Event on BIZBASH

More ideas: 45 hashtags for sustainability reports

  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Top 13 Twitter Hashtags for Social Entrepreneurs, Enterprises, and Investors

While it might seem like there are a lot of hashtags included in this post, it is just a sampling. Always make sure that the hashtag you are using is relevant to your content. The best way to find that out is to go to Twitter and search for the hashtag. Also, keep track of the hashtags used. Did the hashtag(s) improve the performance of the tweet? Those are the gems to keep track of and continue to use ones that bring your increased exposure.

Do you have a favorite hashtag or one that’s brought an increase in engagement that I missed? Let me know!

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The Evolution of Google+ Continues

Original posted on 3BL

Over four years ago, I anxiously awaited my invite to Google+. As the invites spread across my office like wildfire, I stared at my computer screen, disappointed. That disappointment remained with underlying hints of hope, a flurry of activity here and there but NOTHING to inspire me to become a G+ power user. The transition of Google+ was filled with strong-armed tactics, forcing users to create a G+ account in order to access other Google features. Note: Social media is my profession and I ended up with four personal accounts. FOUR.


Like many others, I did my best to oblige — as reluctant as I was. After all, this is Google; master of search and analytics. Having an awesome Google+ page for an organization was supposed to improve search results. Awesome. Keeping up with algorithm changes with Google has become nearly impossible but integrations with G+ felt totally doable. Too bad Google+ failed at valuable analytics and the content of the G+ Pages appears to do little or nothing for improving search results (Note: Many localized businesses/organizations saw improvement but not much impact for national or global names).

Now, after cornering nearly every user and forcing them to create a G+ account, the “+” is now gone. While I can’t say that I will miss it I am curious as to the impact that this will have. Is this just another defunct Google pet project that we will all soon forget about? I say no.

While Google may have dropped the “+” the platform seems to still be very much alive. Google Hangouts is now a stand-alone app and is a GREAT tool for hosting a LIVE conversation with stakeholders about new CSR and sustainability initiatives or that hot new citizenship or diversity report. Photos have migrated away from the Google+ platform into its own app as well. This is another great tool to create a photostream to showcase the most recent company-wide volunteering effort.

Losing the “+” did not slow down Google’s efforts to evolve search into a more social engine. Earlier this year, it was announced that Google now has a partnership with Twitter. Welcome to real-time search. Currently, this has only rolled out on mobile. Check out my recent post to find out what that means.

These changes to Google+ might come with mixed reaction, but I think Google should receive some applause here. (Yes, I just typed that.) Google has shown users that it listens to our complaints and praise and adjusts, all in a world where social media has warped the sense of time and everything is on instant demand; even social networks themselves can’t keep up.

Did anyone notice that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn updated their platforms in recent weeks? Love or hate these changes, these networks are just trying to keep up with user trends, shortened attentions spans and the demand of businesses to mature. For social media professionals like me, no two days are ever the same.

My advice? Keep making awesome content. Tell your CSR and sustainability story in interesting ways. Make the content bite-sized, entertaining and easy to digest. Don’t be afraid to share it on multiple networks but proceed with caution. ALWAYS consider the format of content and the audience of the network on which it is being posted.

As for Google+’s role in the social landscape? The plus sign might be gone, but Google executives insist the social network is still very much alive. I say it’s just another transition and we should all stay tuned.

Further reading:


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The How’s and Why’s of Using Hashtags on Twitter

Originally published on 3BL Media


Hopefully there is someone on your team in charge of writing tweets to talk about your organization’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Ideally, this person also is well aware of hashtags and this post will give them a few ideas to keep striving for the perfect tweet. I stress the word striving here because social media is like a living creature, just when you think you have it figured out, it changes on you and adjustments will need to be made. If hashtags are still a foreign concept, this post will help with the translation.

Many communication pros still struggle with the hashtag or, rather, that “#” sign followed by a word or combination of words. The original intent of the hashtag was a way for users to categorize tweets. At a high-level, this is still the case, but hashtags have become far more powerful that anyone, even Twitter, even imagined.

What can hashtags do for a tweet? Anyone who is a follower of your account will be able to see your tweet. If they retweet it, that increases the number of potential others who could see your post as well. But what about the Twitter user who doesn’t follow you but would find value in and engage with your content? Hashtags are how Twitter users search for content that they find valuable, jump in a conversation that is of interest and engage with posts on the platform.

According to a few studies, hashtags have a powerful impact as to how your content performs on Twitter. According to a study by Buddy Media in 2013:

  • Tweets with hashtags receive 2X more engagement than those without hashtags
  • Only 24% of the measured tweets contained hashtags
  • Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with more
  • Tweets that use more than two hashtags show a 17% drop in engagement

Twitter itself has also studied the hashtag. The success of the hashtag has been impressive as other social networks have adapted it over the years – including Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. According to Twitter’s study, “Tweets with hashtags can increase engagement almost 50% (1.5x) for brands.” When it comes to Twitter, we must always think long-term as well, not just about tweet performance, but also about an entire Twitter presence, “when you include hashtags in your Tweets, your Tweets become more visible, and over time you gather more Twitter followers.”

I find these stats powerful and encourage our clients to make sure they are using hashtags. I’ve been a big fan of the “no more than three” rule but more recently, I’ve pushing for no more than two. It is HARD sometimes to find that perfect hashtag so I hope this helps some of you find confidence in the world of hashtagging.

A few quick notes about hashtags:

  • Length. Keep them short and sweet but relevant. Hashtags #ShouldNotButSuperLongBecauseTheyTakeUpPartOfThe140Characters and lose their effectiveness – who else will actually search for that? Instead, spend a minute or two researching hashtags that fit your content and are appropriate in length.
  • No Special Characters. Remember, spaces and special characters break a hashtag. Think #Clean Energy vs. #CleanEnergy – that first hashtag links the tweet to #Clean, NOT “clean energy”. Short dashes (or hyphens) seem to be the exception to the rule such as #eco-friendly.
  • Make it easy to read. If a hashtag contains multiple words, capitalize the first letter of each word to help users understand #WhatYouAreTryingToSay.
  • Use dedicated hashtags for events. Most events, conference, etc., also have dedicated hashtags that have been created to link attendees and generate buzz.
    • Cause Marketing Forum used #CMF2015
    • Sustainable Brands event in San Diego had #SB15SD

Now that I’ve shared some not-to-be-ignored facts and tips about Twitter, make sure every tweet you create moving forward includes at lease one hashtag. If that tweet doesn’t get more attention, see if there is another hashtag that might suit your content better. Tweet again with this new hashtag (or two).

I’m hardly the first person to write about hashtags and I’d like to share some of my favorite articles to help continue to inspire your hashtag growth:

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Google and Twitter Team Up and Change Search

Originally published on 3BL Media

First there was Bennifer. Then Kimye. Now, there’s Gwitter. Or should we call it Twoogle?

It’s finally happening. Social media and search engines have finally joined forces. Internet marketers have been talking about this for years. Sure, Bing and Facebook have been in cahoots for a while now but Bing gets a bad wrap as a never-used search engine. (Surprisingly 20-percent of the search market share is now attributed to Bing – a slow but steady gain.) Whether this pressure from a decrease in market share inspired Google to explore social media inclusion to its results, or not, this new relationship between Google and Twitter has already changed how we search AND how we see tweets. And for similar reasons, Twitter has most likely felt a similar pressure from Facebook’s continues growth.


With Google and Twitter in cahoots, when users type in their questions or keywords into the Google search bar, once that search has begun, real-time tweets straight from Twitter will populate the results. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But what is the true impact that this combination of forces will have on those of us using Twitter to boost our communication efforts? What does this mean for your CSR and sustainability content? Twitter just became a far more important tool for communicators and Google just became real-time relevant.  Make sure there is someone on your team who is master of the 140-character limit, understands hashtags (#CSR and #sustainability are easy to incorporate) and knows how to make a shortened URL.

What are other potential impact areas of this powerful duo? Twitter has struggled with its advertising offering for the past few years. We all know that Google is a powerhouse in online advertising. Whether you’ve loved or hated Twitter ads in the past, this partnership will result in powerful promoted tweets visible outside of Twitter to the general online population.  Check out Twitter’s homepage when you are not logged in as an example.

If you haven’t mastered your 140 characters yet, now is the time to do so. Twitter should no longer be treated at a secondary form of communicating your message. These pithy messages are now competing with each and every landing page along with every other tweet similar in content to yours.

At 3BL Media we’re excited as this new development and are awaiting to see how all of this rolls out.  For now, this Google/Twitter integration is available for MOBILE ONLY with promises that the desktop version will be available soon. In the meantime, explore some of these articles speculating what this new relationship could bring to the online search experience:

Image Source: Good ‘Ole College Humor


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Social Tools Summit Recap: 4 Unfortunate Realities

Original post on 3BL Media

The battle of the best tool is a struggle regardless of what role you play in a company — sales, marketing, creative, project management, etc. There are always a few standouts, classics that have stood the test of time, and the new kid on the block trying to differentiate itself. Social media tools are really no different.

The only exception I might declare (I’m probably biased and exaggerating a bit here) is that there seems to be thousands of options already in the social media tools marketplace and thousands more coming to market every day. This led me to attend the inaugural Social Media Tools Summit in Boston, hosted by Brian Mahoney and Neal Schaffer.

Social Tools Summit

No matter what industry category us social media professionals find ourselves in, we share many of the same pain points regarding the tools that are meant to support us. Four of these pain points were recurring themes at the Social Tools Summit. While these gave me relief in the sense that I am not alone, it also exposed a deep frustration that the proverbial tires are spinning in the mud. Social media is no longer new to the business world, yet it cannot seem to scale the wall into full adulthood. There were absolutely MANY more pain points shared during this all-day summit, but these four stood out:

  • APIs – The leading social networks (not to name names) are constantly yo-yoing us (and the tool developers) with their APIs (how they integrate with 3rd party tools or custom development) – including what access is available and how metrics are calculated amongst others. What’s available today could be GONE without a trace tomorrow with no sign of returning (Hint: access to LinkedIn and Facebook Groups)
  • Lack of complete functionality. Not one of these tools seems to do it all, and one claims to do it all, be skeptical. The time old saying “It’s too good to be true,” seems to hold its ground. Run away.
  • LinkedIn. What else is there to say? This was a room FULL of B2B professionals and the pure mention of LinkedIn resulted in scowled faces.
  • Budgets. Where one tool’s functionality knocks your socks off, the price tag is sobering and can be hard to get the C-suite to sign off without a trial or pilot program. This results in the painstaking task of trying to find the right combination of tools, functionality and price point.

Sound familiar? I’m sure none of these items are news to anyone working in social media. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 or a small winery, these are things are part of our shared experience as social media professionals.

What can we do? Band together and pitch a fit. As social media professionals, we have to prove ourselves day in and day out more than most others on the team. And, budgets are small. We need these tools and networks to be held accountable to the same standards that we are and help make our jobs more efficient not more difficult. Get these networks and tools to give us what we need, want and deserve. Social media is never going to be taken seriously if this progress cannot be made.

While my brain is still digesting all of the information from the Summit, be sure to check back as I will have MANY more things to share from my day in Boston. As I mentioned earlier in this post; at 3BL Media, we know that CSR and sustainability stories are destined for social media greatness. In my posts that follow, I’ll share insights into some of the top tools to help with curating content, dashboards, reporting, influencer outreach and MORE!

Interested in this event? There will be a West Coast event in the fall of 2015. Details still to come but check their website for announcements of dates and locations: You can even check out tweets from this event by following #SocialTools15.


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