How to Use Hashtags for Community and Growth


#blessed #gainz #CrossFit #cute. The Internet is tainted with this little symbol that is used for searching, tagging and sorting through the Internet.

Shimi Litkowski, the co-owner of CrossFit Outbreak in Brooklyn, New York, uses hashtags on his Box’s social media channels to increase his membership.

But it takes Litkowski more than two seconds to type in a hashtag and post a status. In reality, he admitted it takes an average of 15 minutes to post a status on any of CrossFit Outbreak’s social media channels.

The purpose of a hashtag is to make it easier for people to find more information about a topic via social media. A consumer can search a category on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by clicking on a hashtag that someone has posted.

Essentially, if a new CrossFitter wants to learn more about front squats, they can click on #frontsquat on a post from CrossFit Outbreak, then find millions of other consumers who have used the same tag.

Before posting a picture, Litkowski does research of what’s trending on social media so that his post has a higher chance of being seen by a greater market.

He will see what is trending on social media. In his search bar, Litkowski said he will write in the name of the social media site, then type the hashtag to see how popular the tag is at the time. “Sometimes, Google will send you to another website that shows all the hashtags … and then I sort of analyze and see what’s good that I can use, what seems popular.”

Litkowski explained much of CrossFit Outbreak’s current demographic didn’t use social media to find his Box, but he continues to be active on social media, because he understands the impact it could have.

“I still have a passion for it and I have a vision in my head of where I want to be and whether it’s 6 months, a year, 5 years down the road, I know it will pay off later on,” said Litkowski. “So sometimes I’ll even throw in there #yoga, #zumba, just to try to attract some other potential members to see it, and see what CrossFit does. So, that’s at most what I do when I’m researching for a hashtag.”

He will occasionally put up funny hashtags, just for humor, such as #thewodingdead, a play off of the TV series ‘The Walking Dead” and the name of his CrossFit Team Game Series.

But there is a fine line between expanding your Box and creating community. Between hashtags that describe what is going on in the picture or post and hashtags trying to get the attention of a demographic he wants to reach, Litkowski always includes #BKStrong, as well as the location the WOD is taking place.

Eric Karls, the co-owner of CrossFit 859 in Nicholasville, Kentucky, said community and consistency are the keys to social media and hashtags.

“Being consistent and making sure you’re always having a constant presence, we always try to keep it member-based. Because if you’re trying to push community, that’s really what it has to always be centered around,” said Karls.

Ultimately, Karls believes a hashtags or post is not quantifiable, it does not exist. CrossFit 859’s challenge is turning a “like” into a new member. Karls said it’s possible when a tag or a post includes an action item or an incentive to make his community broaden the Box’s demographic.

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.