Monday, December 30, 2013

A Hashtag You Should Use (Even If You Don’t Understand Them)

In tomorrow night’s Chick-Fil-A bowl, when the Duke University Blue Devils take on Texas A&M, 8.65 million viewers will see #GoDurham on the coaches’ headsets. The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Durham, Inc. have teamed up to pay for this placement as a beginning step in a larger initiative to market Durham as a sports visitation destination.

Hashtags, a phrase used in a social media posts preceded by a number, or pound, sign (#) are essentially a filing system for social content. They allow social media users (mostly in Twitter) to follow or participate in conversations or topics, and they are used in marketing a promotion or a product.

“Sports visitation in Durham is an increasingly high priority for us, and Duke playing in this bowl game is a great visibility opportunity. We want Durham hotels full on football weekends, so we decided to take it to the next level by giving away a weekend in Durham, too,” said Shelly Green, President and CEO of DCVB.

Everyone in Durham, residents and businesses alike, are encouraged to use the #GoDurham hashtag on all their messaging! That tag is being used to push a campaign, "The Great Durham Touchdown Getaway Giveaway," to get people to enter a giveaway contest to win a weekend in Durham to see the Blue Devils play a home football game. Hashtags themselves can be clicked on in social media platforms so that users can see everything related to that topic that has been posted. DCVB hopes fans will do that during the game, as well as afterward, to see what’s happening in the conversation, participate in the conversation, and ultimately to see who won the giveaway when the winner is announced

The Bureau has built a webpage for people to enter the contest,, and DCVB encourages everyone in Durham to show their support for Duke and for Durham by using the hashtag today, tomorrow especially, and through the week up until Sunday night as they drive attention to that website. “Durham’s strong sense of community is something in which everyone here feels pride.  We’re tapping into that and getting folks to use the hashtag, tweet their support for Duke in the game, and for Durham as a community, and to mention the contest and website to their friends and followers while they are at it,” Green added.

Social media is an important tool in sports marketing. “Hashtags are so commonly used in social media-based sports marketing that soccer matches in the UK have them for each game. In the US, auto racing has seen a dramatic rise in their use, and other sports are seeing a significant uptick in use, too, so we know that the propensity to tweet and tag during a game is there,” said Sam Poley, DCVB’s Public Relations Director. “We see this hashtag, and others we will be promoting that are more definitively oriented to sports, as ways to keep fans engaged in the conversation about Durham and sports.  The weekend giveaway is to give one lucky winner a taste of how awesome Durham is in every other aspect, too,” Poley added.

The contest winner will be announced on Monday, February 3rd. The prize includes two round trip tickets to RDU International Airport from anywhere in the continental US that Delta Airlines flies, two nights at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, dinners at some of Durham’s Celebrated Cuisine restaurants, two premium seats to a Duke Home Football game, and package of premium Duke Sports memorabilia. All of these components were donated by the named entities.

“Driving this conversation in social media is a community-wide effort.  We’re hoping Duke and Durham fans everywhere will jump in and participate,” Poley said.  DCVB and Duke will have social media teams online during the game.

Some tools for those who want to support this effort:
  • The hashtag is #GoDurham
  • The website for the contest is
  • The shortened version of that is
  • Suggested Tweets: 
  • Cheer for Duke in the Chick-fil-A bowl, and enter at to win a weekend in Durham, too! #GoDurham 
  • Durham is a great place for sports! Enter at for a weekend trip to see a Duke Football home game. #GoDurham
  • Come enjoy sports in Durham! Enter at for a weekend trip to see a Duke Football home game. #GoDurham 
  • The hashtag will work on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, too.
Learn more about visiting Durham online.


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