#AdvocatingForChange: The Strategic Use of Hashtags in Social Media Advocacy

Gregory D. Saxton, Jerome N. Niyirora, Chao Guo, Richard D. Waters


Social media continues to change how advocacy organizations mobilize, educate, and connect with their constituents. One of the most unique yet understudied tools available on social media platforms is the hashtag. Little research exists on how social work and advocacy organizations use hashtags, much less on how such use can be effective. This study examines the hashtag use by 105 constituent members of the National Health Council, a national US-based patient/health advocacy coalition. The study presents an inductive coding scheme of the types of hashtags employed, analyzes inter-sectoral differences in hashtag usage, and examines the relationship between hashtag use and measures of the effectiveness of social media messages.


e-advocacy; hashtags; health; nonprofits; social media

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