Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza
Solar and other renewable energy social media hashtags are important for many reasons, but they’re far less effective when people either don’t use them, misuse them, or use the unofficial ones that confuse the social community. To get more people on the same page, we’ve compiled a list of many of the most relevant social hashtags for solar, storage and related PR, marketing and advocacy campaigns.
However, before we get to the list, here’s a social hashtag 101 for those sales and non-marketing folks who don’t realize how powerful and useful hashtags can be for getting the word out and sharing important information.
- Getting info about a specific topic. There are billions of social media conversations happening on social networks every minute. If you’re a solar or storage customer or advocate looking for information and photos about what went on at Solar Power International (SPI), you’ll want a way to filter all these posts and photos so that you’re only reading about SPI. Because “SPI” is a common abbreviation in the non-solar world, the good people at Solar Energy Trade Shows selected the unique “#SPIcon.” Searching for the correct #SPIcon hashtag instantly filters posts to SPI convention conversations, yet people often use #SPI or #SPI2017 or #SPI17, diluting info away from the single #SPIcon filter. Try and avoid using these “nonofficial” hashtags.
- Spreading info about a specific topic. Similar to the first point, if you want to add your solar or storage company’s posts or photos to a particular topic like SPI, then you’ll want to include the official #SPIcon hashtag to your posts and photos to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Doing so will allow your organization’s posts to be in the official SPI convention news, photo and conversation streams.
- Creating a specific solar marketing or advocacy campaign. Anyone or any company can create a hashtag, but it should be short, as original as possible, and shared widely. For example, SEIA is using #SaveSolarJobs as a social hashtag for the Section 201 case, allowing people to find news and add commentary about the case. If you’re creating an event or a marketing campaign, you can utilize that same tactic by creating your own hashtag, but remember that you’ll have to spread the word beforehand via your social networks, email and other channels to let people know about the existence of the new hashtag.
- Hijacking a trending non-solar hashtag. Twitter and other social networks list general trending hashtag topics, like #TBT for #ThrowBackThursday, where people upload old photos, but there are new trending hashtags that appear every day as well. If you want your company to get broader attention outside the solar or storage industry, contribute a relevant post or photo with the trending hashtag. The key, however, is to be on topic and creative. If you just hijack a trending hashtag like “#BestSongEver and Tweet about a solar sale, the tactic could backfire.
With all of the above in mind, here’s a short list of many of the most relevant social media hashtags for solar, storage and other renewables public relations, marketing and advocacy. Some are general terms that you can either seed into posts or include as stand-alone terms at the end of your posts. In some cases, I’ve made some suggestions for how to use them in context. One final note: when a hashtag is more than one word, we recommend capitalizing each word from clarity.
#100IsNow was started by the Solutions Project, promoting 100% renewable energy. Use it when you want to do shout-outs to states and cities committing to renewable portfolio standards.
#ActOnClimate is a climate change hashtag that can be used for renewable energy solutions, climate change advocacy and legislation.
#blockchain is popular among curious people searching for info about blockchain, especially for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. However, blockchain is also becoming a hot renewable energy topic, especially when you’re sharing info about the grid and the evolving smart grid.
#carbon is a general hashtag to call attention to pollution, carbon emissions and climate change.
#cleantech is great for startups looking for funding from investors or publicity from editors monitoring that hashtag.
#ClimateHawks is a climate change political advocacy organization. Use for calling out pro- or anti-climate legislation and politicians.
#CO2 is short and sweet, if you need to mention carbon or climate change briefly.
#CommunitySolar seems to be the most common hashtag for promoting community solar, shared solar, and all things related to certain sorts of solar garden policies and projects.
#COP23 includes the informal name for the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Every time they meet, the number goes up. If you want to get the attention of anyone looking for climate news out of these COP conferences, include this hashtag. If you have a product that will help offset climate change, you might want to include this hashtag during the conference as well, but it’s best to be relevant and non-promotional.
#DOE works for those watching/discussing policies and issues coming out of the U.S. Department of Energy.
#eco is a catch-all hashtag for things ecological and provides a good abbreviation for those wanting to participate in environmental conversations.
#energy is a popular hashtag for energy-related issues, not just clean energy, so that’s an advantage if you want to use it and get views from reporters, advocates and lobbyists who might click on that hashtag, especially when there’s energy legislation being debated.
#EnergyStorage is an upward-trending hashtag for all things battery and storage related. #storage also gets some play, but it gets mixed together with Tweets about storage cabinets and the like.
#EPA is short for the Environmental Protection Agency and is another good clean energy advocacy hashtag for energy, politics and energy business reporters.
#EV is a good one to use if you’re a manufacturer or installer of anything electric vehicle related.
#geothermal is very specific to geothermal, but if you’re wanting to read or catch the attention of those looking for that technology, put a hashtag on it.
#GHG is the hashtag for greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a great catch-all to include for climate change topics.
#GlobalWarming is an alternative hashtag for #ClimateChange topics, one that is favored by some conservatives and skeptics. If you want to get the attention of denialist politicians and anti-climate change organizations and their followers, be sure to use this one.
#Go100Percent was started by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute, the group that created the Go 100% Renewable Energy project as part of its mission to study and accelerate the global transition to 100% renewable energy.
#Go100RE belongs to Global 100%RE, a platform advocating 100% renewable energy. Another good one to use when discussing and promoting solutions for 100% renewable energy.
#GoSolar may be an oldie but it’s still a goodie, and many residential solar installers and lead generators use this hashtag as a call to action, although it’s unclear whether customers would be searching for installers with this hashtag.
#GotSolar? is another call-to-action hashtag for residential solar lead generation. If you use this one, I’d be curious to know who’s actually using and reading this hashtag besides installers. (Note that Twitter does not include the question mark in the hashtag link, but you can put it in anyway.)
#green is one of those broader sustainability hashtags that may be too broad, but then again that may be a good thing if you’re trying to reach consumers who may be environmentally friendly.
#IoE stands for Internet of Energy, and is useful for posts about smart homes, grid infrastructure and related topics.
#Intersolar is the unique name for these global series of conferences. Although the events take place at different places and times every year, #Intersolar can be used for all of them, so long as you use it around the specific conference dates.
#LEED is the acronym for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design organization that certifies green building pros and buildings that comply with the standards. If you’ve got a product that green architects and builders will love and that would aid LEED certification, use #LEED.
#NoKXL is the anti-Keystone XL hashtag that’s also useful for other oil, natgas and tar sands news and posting.
#renewables is a good catch-all hashtag for those looking for news about renewable energy and policy issues.
#RenewableEnergy is another good one to include for renewable policy and advocacy posts, but I wouldn’t use it if you’re marketing solar or other related products to consumers; it’s too general and it’s also long.
#SaveSolarJobs is a campaign hashtag started by SEIA to bring awareness to the Section 201/Suniva/SolarWorld tariff case. When the case is settled, it may become irrelevant, except for historians.
#SmartHome is a great one to use if you want to grab the attention of cleantech and tech reporters looking for the latest smart home trends during the Consumer Electronics Show, Apple launches and the like.
#SPIcon is the official Solar Power International conference hashtag. It’s not #SPI or #SPIconvention, and it’s not going to be #SPI18 or #SPI2018 next year. It’s just #SPIcon. You’d think people would learn that by now.
#Tesla may promote a company name, but it’s also the most recognizable clean energy brand in the world. If you want to hijack any current news about Tesla, include the #Tesla hashtag in your posts to get the attention of all those #Tesla reporters, bloggers and customers—and maybe even #ElonMusk.
#Wind may be a general hashtag, but it can be part of a broad search of any energy or energy policy reporter searching for wind or renewable energy news.
This is a pretty long list, and I’m sure I’ve missed some. Please feel free to add your suggestions and who might use them in the comments section below or Tweet them to me at @SolarFred.
Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza is senior strategy adviser for Kiterocket’s renewable energy practice and a communications consultant for other solar and renewables brands.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.