Tips for starting a movement on Twitter.

I blog on this topic today because of my recent success at getting a hashtag called #SDSUlovesBoston trending on twitter. My fellow JMS (Journalism Media Studies) major Lauren Yap created the hashtag the evening of the Boston terrorism attacks. I was brought into the plan shortly after she created the hashtag, “Hey David, Trying to get “#SDSUlovesBoston” to trend to show our community’s support.” Once I read that message I was involved for the long run. This blog post is going to detail how I got the hashtag “#SDSUlovesBoston” trending and how you can have the same success. All of the examples I am using in this blog post are from the success of the hashtag. The local newspaper U-T San Diego picked up on our success and wrote an article about the movement. Click on the red link to be redirected to that article (LINK).

When major disasters occur many people including journalists take to social media (mainly Twitter) and begin to tweet news. The tweeting of news during major disasters or events can often be manipulated. The creation of fake twitter accounts, people changing tag lines in their bio’s to show up in the search results and the spread of inaccurate reports. These are some of the biggest issues journalists face when attempting to follow and report news to their followers.

Journalists can be fired because of sending out false news reports and information through the use of Twitter. A great example of fake twitter reporting was the death of Joe Paterno. The story blew up on Twitter from a tweet by the student newspaper at Penn State quoting anonymous sources and was picked up by a local radio station (Link). This is an example of current misleading reports by news agencies.

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The social media outlet Twitter has become the journalist’s best and worst friend. Twitter has now become an essential tool for journalists. The power of Twitter is endless for journalists when used in the correct manner. These are some tips that I hope you find helpful for starting a movement on Twitter.

Tips For Starting A Movement on Twitter

#1) The key to creating a movement on Twitter is to get the word out to as many people as humanly possible. Create an amazing hashtag that describes the event you are trying to promote.

#2) Reach out to friends, classmates, followers, anyone that you know will help you support the cause. The more people who can tweet the hashtag the bigger the audience will become.

#3) Create a photo of the specific cause that you are attempting to promote and photoshop the hashtag onto the photo. This will provide people with an image of the cause and make the cause look more official.


#4) Get people who support the cause to start tweeting about it using the hashtag that was created.

#5) Now that people are tweeting the hashtag the most important step to get the hashtag trending on twitter is to reach out to connections. These connections would be celebrities or professional athletes who you have had contact with in the past. The number of followers these people have will be key in getting the hashtag trending.

Example: I am a San Diego State student so I would reach out to famous SDSU alumni. This is what you should ask your connections, “hey _____ can we please get a retweet?” Majority of the time your connection will respond with a retweet if they find the cause worthy. *The retweet from Marshall Faulk came one day after it was requested.*

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#6 You now have people with major Twitter followers who are supporting your cause. The reason that getting these retweets is important stems once again from the amount of people who follow their accounts.

#7 Using Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite create a column to track your hashtag. Every time you see someone tweet using the hashtag you should retweet them. Also so that you are grateful for the retweet by saying thank you.

This was key for the hashtag #SDSUlovesBoston to become trending throughout San Diego county…

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Congrats, you have officially gotten your hashtag to trend on Twitter! This is a great stopping point if all you care about is getting the hashtag trending. If you care deeply about the cause in which you have started or are helping with you can continue to attempt to get media coverage of your great feat.

How To Get Media Coverage:

These are the following steps that I used to get media coverage of the #SDSUlovesBoston movement. The hashtag trend became bigger than we had every thought it would get. The attempt to track the following of the hashtag became more intense by the minute as I tried to find ways to track the statistics. I went from the Twitter search, to tweet deck and then decided on using a somewhat new social media application called Storify.

#1 Being an avid Twitter user has its perks. Read and retweet articles written by your favorite journalists on Twitter. These connections that you build will come in handy to get your cause media coverage.

Example: I follow U-T San Diego writer Mathew Hall on twitter. He specializes in online articles for the print based U-T San Diego. The majority of articles he has written include tweets pulled from twitter using the social media application Storify. Based off of my knowledge of his style of writing I sent him this tweet.

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Mr. Hall responded by saying he had just retweeted the hashtag. I thanked him for helping us get the hashtag trending and asked him if he would like to see my Storify article on how the hashtag became trending. He responded and asked me some questions on how the hashtag came to be. If you would like to read more please click on the red link to be redirected to that article (LINK).

#2 Now that your story has been seen by a big audience of people the next step is to get more publicity (radio/television) for the cause. Once again we go back to my advice from number one “Connect with News Media.” If you watch any type of news make sure you follow your favorite news anchors. Start tweeting and developing a relationship with the news anchors. This might seem easier for me because I am a PR intern but it’s very simple. Just send them a few tweets because news personal like when “people” take interest in their stories. Again just like the print and online journalists you need to know exactly what type of stories each reporter focuses on.

Example: I watch Fox 5 news at 5 p.m. every night. The last segment on the newscast is called “Trending.” Since I know they have a segment on trending I sent the reporter a link to the U-T San Diego article:

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The reporter responded by saying, “You got it!! I will do it here in 10 minutes.” The main keys to this pitch were to send a link that had a story published from San Diego media and know what the reporters job is.

Example: I watch CBS 8 news at 11 p.m. every night. I have been tweeting one of the main news anchors Carlo Cecchetto and asked if he could give us a shout out on the news. Again I included the link from the U-T San Diego article on the hashtag.

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We got more than we expected when CBS 8 put together a short news package on the hashtag story. The main keys to this pitch was to send a link that had a story published from San Diego media and know what the reporters job is.

Thank You For Reading My Article

Thank you to everyone who helped get the hashtag trending! Please feel free to follow me on twitter @DFrerker_SDSU and if you have any questions please let me know!

Final result from the past two hashtags that we got trending!


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