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Hashtags & Heroes: Batkid to the Rescue

batkidWishes really do come true, especially if an entire community rallies together to make it happen. His leukemia in remission, five-year-old Miles Scott wanted to be a superhero for a day, and the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation made it happen. And the organization made it easy for thousands of San Franciscans to get into the act as well. It all started with a hashtag. If the hashtag #SFBatkid doesn’t mean anything to you, you missed out on arguably one of the most significant social media events of this year.  Several sources reported that 78,000 tweets were generated about Batkid, and at least 10,000 photos were posted on Instagram. The hashtag created to publicize Batkid’s adventures was essential in turning an already extraordinary day into a social phenomenon.  “How can we have a Batkid moment at our events? First, we need to use social tools as they’re meant to be used: to share fun thoughts, moments and images with friends, followers, fans, family members and random strangers,” writes Amy Braiterman in a post on the NPEngage blog.  “All you need to get started is a hashtag, yes a hashtag.  Hashtags have taken over.” Indeed they have. According to Popoffer’s infographic “History of #Hashtags,” hashtags were first proposed for use on Twitter in August 2007, and in just six years, getting people to talk about brands is one of their primary uses. With appropriate planning, nonprofit organizations can harness the power of hashtags and other social media tools to manage successful marketing and PR campaigns. After all, people can’t stop talking and tweeting about Batkid. As reported in USA Today, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee declared "November 15, 2013, [as] Batkid day forever." You might give some thought to how your organization can create its own forever moment.
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