In the past, we have written about Twitter and its power to help promote your event; today we want to expand on this topic and discuss hashtags.
Selecting and utilizing a killer hashtag is essential for promoting your event. With a catchy, relevant hashtag you can make sharing your event easy and memorable and jumpstart engagement.
Hashtag’s denote classifications, categories, and topics on Twitter. They are identified by the underlying technology to aggregate content threads and, upon reaching critical mass, lead to the ubiquitous “trending” label. To a large degree, anything can be transformed into a hashtag, including your event. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to maximize their usefulness:
- Twitter caps posts at 140 characters. Thus, brevity is key! Keep your hashtags short, sweet, memorable, and relevant (it needs to make sense!). Abbreviations work well and attaching dates can aid distinction from year to year. A hashtag should also be aligned with your company vision and should be considered an extension of your branding and PR.For example, Le Web, one of the largest Internet conferences in the world, took place recently in Paris and took Twitter by force by creating a #leweb11 hashtag to publicize news and information. Thousands of posts took advantage #leweb11, which, in turn generated thousands more communications throughout individual social networks.
- Once you’ve decided on your hashtag, it must be used by everyone associated with your event’s communication. This “official” hashtag then underpins all communication across social media moving forward.
- Having one official hashtag ensures all messages related to your event are aggregated under one heading. Proactively creating your event hashtag simplifies communication; ensures brand consistency; and facilitates sharing, research, and archiving.
- Hashtags must be promoted and should become part of your general communications. They need to be given clear visibility on all social media pages, event web pages, and traditional advertising. Share with attendees how to engage and diffuse discoveries.
- Ten days to weeks before the event start start using the hashtag and become engaged! Direct mentions (e.g. “@sharypic, so glad you’re attending #myevent2012”) to individual’s already attending and/or general messages to followers and related topics are great ways to expand visibility. Respond to interesting chatter and always use the hashtag! The key is to use your tweets as soon, and as much, as possible.
- During the event, monitoring the hashtag is a great way to get a feel for the event’s success and allows you to respond to interactions in real time: Is the food ok? Are the lines too long? How did people react to that presentation? What do people really find interesting? This is your opportunity to engage directly with your audience, react to situations that need attention, and push the conversation forward. Studies have shown that companies that respond quickly to correct mistakes generate a larger, more positive impression on customers than those who are perfect from the beginning. Thank attendees, respond to criticism, be reactive to comments and leverage the real-time power of Twitter!
sharypic provides a unique opportunity to leverage hashtags along with the power and immediacy of Twitter via our PhotoWall. It engages your audience, increases your visibility, provides a one of a kind experience, and adds authenticity.
- After the event: measure your success! Employ the various tools for analyzing Twitter activity, measuring reach, and getting a sense for the overall success of your event. Smashing magazine has put together an amazing compendium of 3rd party Twitter tools. This is also another opportunity to reach your event’s evangelizers and sow further seeds to strengthen your community.
The ideas are simple. Keep your hashtag short, use it across social networks, reach out to your attendees, and be reactive. Twitter is a great tool, but a tool that must be used wisely.