“Can you do social media?”

“Can you do social media?”

We get this question a lot. It’s a simple one — and easy enough to answer. Yes, we can post content on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

But, of course, so can anyone with a computer.

The better question is: “can you make my message heard on social media?” Because the truth is social media is the Wild West of communication. It’s a chaotic sphere of ideas, stories, opinions, and links to adorable cat videos.

Consider Twitter. There are 236 million monthly active users who post 500 million tweets per day. That’s 500 million tweets about the latest healthcare news, the latest from Taylor Swift, someone’s grocery list. You name it. It’s like having 236 million people in a stadium talking at the same time.

With so many people saying so many things, how can you make yourself heard?

That’s the fun part. And where it gets creative.

Let’s take Twitter again, which is most people’s first thought when they consider “social media.” One valuable trick is to use hashtags.

While hashtags have become ironic nowadays (The weather is beautiful today! #blessed), they still serve an important purpose. They help focus a Tweet to a targeted audience outside of a person’s followers.

Let’s say you want to talk about Taylor Swift’s recent concert in Washington, D.C. You might use the hashtag #TaylorSwift, or more specifically, #1989TourDC. Those hashtags help you join a particular conversation. People who follow or check those hashtags will then see your message. And from there, you can talk with like-minded people about her awesome encore performance of Shake It Off.

If that doesn’t make sense, consider this analogy.

A tweet is like an old fashioned letter. You write down your message – “Taylor Swift’s concert in DC was awesome!” – and then you mail it. But you don’t just want one person to read it. You want as many people as possible to read it.

A hashtag is like a specific mailing address. #1989TourDC sends that letter to a specific home filled with people who love Taylor Swift. They (hopefully) all read it and send you messages back.

But sending a tweet without a hashtag is like mailing a letter to “Chicago, Illinois.” Sure it’ll get there. But no one’s going to read it.

Hashtags are only one trick among many to communicate a message effectively on social media. And different platforms — like Facebook or Instagram or Reddit — demand different tricks.

As social media continues to evolve, it’s our job to keep finding new ways to communicate. That’s the fun part for us.

So do we do social media? To answer your question, send us a Tweet with the hashtag #KeybridgeCommunications.

Doug Stuart