Skip to main content

Golden Hashtags 2019

The 7th Annual BYU Golden Hashtags took place this summer, an event where the best 2018-19 social media content posted from throughout the BYU campus is recognized and best practices are promoted.

Think Golden Globes meets a tutorial, but for BYU social media.

See a rundown of this year's winning entries below.

The Golden Hashtags are an outgrowth of the BYU Social Media Committee. Involvement in the committee is open to anyone who assists in the management and/or administration of a BYU social media account of any kind. Contact Jon McBride if you'd like to join or have any questions about the committee.

Excellence in Engagement - Seeing a Need, Filling a Need
BYU Admission Services

This series of admission myth videos filled an important need of quashing misinformation that often circulates regarding how to get into BYU. The series has more than 65,000 views on YouTube.


  • See the needs of your broader community and look for ways that your organization is uniquely suited to fill those needs.
  • Quick, snappy, animated video can be an effective solution to explaining complex information.
  • Utilize YouTube as the search engine that it is.

Excellence in Engagement - Account Growth
BYU Kennedy Center

Pinterest probably isn't a strategic solution for many groups on campus, but for the Kennedy Center, it's been extremely effective. They spent time sprucing up their account this past year and grew their following by 250 percent, racking up 17.1 thousand monthly views.

BYU Kennedy Center Pinterest Grid


  • Consider the platforms that make the most sense for you.
  • Make sure you have the content-creation abilities to produce the kinds of content that will perform best on each platform you're on.
  • Know your audience. Does your audience want to hear from you where you think they want to hear from you?

Excellence in Engagement - Leveraging Alumni Influence
BYU Marriott School

The Marriott School is seeing lots of success on LinkedIn. With such a large and successful alumni base on the platform, featuring them and their successes is a sure-fire recipe for engagement.

Marriott School Alum on LinkedIn


  • Your alumni have social influence ... utilize them.
  • LinkedIn's social feed component has become more robust, valuable and leverage-able.

Excellence in Engagement - Monitoring and Responding
BYU Harold B. Lee Library

The Library mobilized its followers to find a couple who got engaged in the HBLL. It was a fun, natural way to build engagement all around.


  • Mobilize your followers. Put them to work. They want to be helpful. Just don't make it a burdensome ask.
  • Make sure you're diligent n your social listening/monitoring. If you find out about this stuff too late, you miss your opportunity.
  • Don't be afraid to join the fun ... IF you can add value and are wanted there.

Excellence in Social Video - Campaign
BYU Magazine

The Magazine's Thing of Beauty campaign was, well, beautiful. It was excellently shot, told good stories, with good people to tell them and all complemented an interesting and unique theme. The series has 65,000+ views on YouTube.


  • High-quality video AND audio is essential in a produced series like this. Audio quality is easy to overlook but so important.
  • Find people with good stories to feature ... but also find people who can tell their stories in an engaging way.

Excellence in Social Video - User-Generated Process
BYU Graduate Studies

As students travel throughout the world to Go Forth and Serve, it's impossible for us to cover each trip with a camera crew and high-quality video. But, with students being better and better equipped to shoot video themselves, Grad Studies has done a nice job giving students some training before they leave and then taking the footage they have when they get back to use as B roll in interviews with them.

Excellence in Social Video - Lecture Recap
BYU Wheatley Institution

BYU brings in a ton of entertaining and engaging speakers, but video of them on a stage or behind the pulpit doesn't always translate into effective social video. The Wheatley Institution did a nice job using titles and some motion graphics here to spruce up lecture video and make it social-friendly.


  • A little video editing can go a long way.
  • Always use text overlays with social video (in addition to now-required captioning for accessibility purposes).
  • Industry-wide data has shown that using text in videos actually has an end result of more users turning the video's sound on.

Excellence in Social Video - Showcasing an Event
Y Digital

While Y Digital can (and does) have a whole social media awards show of their own for all of the work they do for their high-profile clients, they were awarded for this self promotion on their own social property. Throwing it back to the #MannequinChallenge was a fun way to feature an event in a unique way.


  • Find unique ways to feature the look, feel, emotion and people involved in your organization and events.

Excellence in Social Video - Informational Excellence
BYU Advisement

In another example of seeing a need and filling a need, Advisement has done a really nice job with short, well-shot, informative videos spanning 70+ majors from across campus, populating their YouTube channel with them. These are valuable for individual colleges and departments to utilize and also needed by the many students and prospective students trying to decide what to study.

BYU Advisement YouTube Channel


  • High quality video AND audio make a big difference.
  • Being strategic with who to feature as voices is important.
  • Produce content from your area that can be a resource for the whole university.

Excellence in Insta Stories - Spotlights
BYU Alumni

We saw more story content than ever before from BYU accounts this past year. Alumni has done a nice job using their stories for alumni spotlights.

BYU Alumni Spotlight Cover
Madison Heap BYU Alumni Instagram Story
Courtney Rich BYU Alumni Instagram Story


  • Design matters. Taking a little time in Photoshop or Canva, and sending those designs to your phone, can look a lot better than what you can create natively in the app.
  • Leverage the social influence of your alumni.

Excellence in Insta Stories - Interactivity
BYU Dance

It was a simple Valentine's Day request from BYU Dance, for their followers to let them know what they love about dance. It became one of their more engaging pieces of content all year.

BYU Dance Instagram Story
BYU Dance Instagram Story Response - Creating Beautiful Art
BYU Dance Instagram Story Response - The Infinite Possibility


  • Look for (natural) ways to start conversations.
  • Tap into your audience's expertise.
  • Let them lend their voice.
  • Utilize that Insta question box.

Excellence in Insta Stories - Education
BYU Copyright & Licensing

Using their story for a Fair Use Quiz was an effective engagement strategy for Copyright & Licensing.

BYU Copyright Fair Use Week Graphic
BYU Copyright Fair Use Quiz Graphic
BYU Copyright Fair Use Quiz Vote Graphic


  • Education + interaction is always good.
  • This was a unique way for them to educate their audience.
  • Utilize those native Insta tools, like the voting feature.
  • Look for (natural) ways to encourage interaction and engagement. This sort of thing can feel forced, but it didn't for this project.

Excellence in Insta Stories - Recurring Content
BYU Magazine

The Magazine has found success with weekly Friday content in their Five 4 Friday stories where they feature five items of BYU-related news/information from the past week.

BYU Magazine Five 4 Friday Graphic


  • Give your audience something to look forward to with recurring content.
  • Be consistent.
  • Keep it light and fun.

Excellence in Contests - Getting User-Generated Content
BYU Design

Contests can be a great way to build engagement, but BYU Design also leveraged a contest to garner user-generated content for them to share. They asked their followers to use the #BYUInktober hashtag as a way of sharing their October art.

BYU Inktober Instagram Story Screen Shot


  • Don't be afraid to make an ask of your audience, especially when there's some sort of giveaway or contest involved.
  • User-generated content continues to be vitally important to an organization's content strategy.

Excellence in Contests - Building a Platform
BYU Alumni

BYU Alumni ran a Christmas-time giveaway for cinnamon bears and Christmas ornament. They strategically ran the contest only on Instagram and pointed to in from their other platforms, helping build their Instagram following.


  • Make these contests count ... tie them to an organizational need.
  • Give people different ways to enter a contest that match their level of passion. Like the post = one entry. Tag us in a pic from your account = five entries.

Excellence in Amplifying

In another contest, BYU OIT used this campaign to amplify important messages about cyber security.


  • It's obvious, but important: The bigger the prize you can offer, the better the engagement you're going to have with your contest.
  • This was another nice job of tying a contest to a strategic objective.

Excellence in Aesthetics
BYU Speeches

We hear it over and over again, but aesthetics really are so important on Instagram. Curating your grid content can be especially important. BYU Speeches has done a nice job of bringing together high-quality, impactful images with designed quote images to really show their audience what they provide. Alternating between quotes and images is an important design choice.

Screen shot of BYU Speeches Instagram Grid


  • Be deliberate and creative in how you present your organization visually.
  • In a social media landscape that is SO cluttered, making something look especially good can make all the difference.
  • Remember, to a growing part of your audience, your Instagram grid could be the front page of your organization. They may see you there before they see your website.

Excellence in Humor - AKA The HBLL Legacy Award
Harold B. Lee Library

The HBLL gets this award each year for something creative and humorous they're doing. Humor on social media is hard to do right, but the HBLL does it so well, whether it be meme-adoption, book humor or something else.


  • Humor is hard to do right. Be strategic with it, test some things out and pick your spots.
  • Be aware that your audience's humor could be very different than your humor.
  • Focus group humor ... run it by your students.

Excellence in Adjustments

The College of Fine Arts and Communications had been putting content in their Instagram story to preview their Faith and Works series for a while, but when they decided to have the actual speaker do a personalized video (instead of just using photos and graphics), they saw a huge uptick in engagement and overall event response. They reached 55 percent more individuals on Instagram after integrating the personal videos.

Screen Shot of Marin Roper Speaking in her Office


  • Feature faces. There is such value in having individuals in your organization speaking directly to your audience.
  • Be nimble. Look for ways to make good things better.

Excellence in Storytelling
BYU Graduate Studies

BYU Grad Studies shared this inspiring story of one of their students.


  • Every student has a story. Many of them go beyond their time on campus.
  • Every story requires consideration of how to tell it in the best way, with the best tone and with the best tools.

Excellence in Adding Value
BYU Kennedy Center

Following a major tragedy on campus last December, there was a theme of messaging on campus about the need to reach out to others, showing kindness and respect. This holiday post from the Kennedy Center added some special, timely value.


  • Holiday posts are so saturated and generic posts don't do well. Go beyond the "Happy [holiday]" post and look for ways to add value to your audience.
  • It's fine to not post on holidays. It's always better to not post anything at all rather than post something that's not going to engage well. You can do more harm than good, being punished in the algorithm, by posting content that doesn't perform well.

Excellence in Impact
BYU McKay School of Education

This video featuring a graduating educating student did well for the McKay School and showed an impact far beyond the student's time at BYU, but to the broader education community.


  • Showing the impact our students are making not just here at BYU, but to their respective areas of study and industries as a whole is definitely a sweet spot.
  • The McKay School partnered with University Communications to produce this video … We shared it from our social channels as well, but them uploading the file natively instead of a share probably gave this more reach overall.

Excellence in Access
BYU Museum of Art

The MOA uses Facebook live for these behind-the-scenes looks at exhibitions with museum curators.


  • Facebook Live remains a great tool.
  • Your followers want access! What can you show them on social that they couldn’t get, or would be hard to get, in-person?

Excellence in Trend Application

The College of Fine Arts and Communications did a nice job integrating content into this #BallanceForBetter hashtag during Women's History Month.


  • As we said with the Kennedy Center holiday content above, holiday-related content is so saturated.
  • Go beyond the "Happy [holiday]" post by making it your own, tying into a larger conversation.

Excellence in Optimization
BYU Speeches

BYU Speeches was strategic on YouTube by curating their content into some topic-focused playlists. They also leveraged some other native tools available on the platform, like adding a customized "subscribe" button to their videos, to boost engagement.

Screen Shot of BYU Speeches YouTube Channel


  • Spend time getting to know the ins and outs of your platforms.
  • Know all of the tools at your disposal.
  • Taking care of the details on the back end can be just as important as taking care of details on the front end

Excellence in Announcements
BYU Dining Services

Dining Services was strategic with the roll out of a few announcements re: The Cougareat and Wendy's, posting from different social properties and integrating a Facebook poll to get their followers involved.


  • Take time to be strategic in how you make announcements.
  • Depending on the impact and interest of the announcement you’re making, these can be engagement gold mines.
  • Leverage the interest and make it great.

Excellence in Behind-the-Scenes Content
BYU Dance

In preparation for an upcoming performance, BYU Dance did a nice job of showcasing their dancers behind the scenes, showing the process they take to prepare, including breaking in and adjusting ballet shoes.


  • Think of access you can provide that your followers might find interesting.
  • This was a great way to promote an event. Instead of just provide details and putting up a flyer to ask people to come, provide them with actual content that adds value.

Excellence in Explanation
BYU Copyright & Licensing

A sometimes-undervalued, but absolutely crucial skill in the world of social media is the ability to explain complex information in an effective way your audience will understand. This video from BYU Copyright & Licensing is a great example of how to do that well.


  • Explaining complex (legal, in this case) information can be difficult to do in an interesting and engaging way.
  • This project combined a number of best practices to do so.
  • This also filled an important information gap.
  • This was very applicable to BYU students without ever using ”BYU” in the video and is also applicable to a much larger audience as well.