The #hashtag is an ambitious typographical sign. Relegated until now to a little-known function on our telephones, it’s time to shine has arrived. When Twitter appeared on scene, hashtags were primarily functional — a way of categorizing tweets by topic so that members of the Twittersphere could follow conversations of interest. But now, they are way more than that. Hashtags are now one of the most important tools when it comes to promoting, measuring, and taking part in events, and organizers know it very well. Here are the steps to using a hashtag for your event, and benefitting from the huge media exposure this can give you on social networks.
1. Choose your hashtag
There are four traits a successful event hashtag should have:
- Easy to remember and write: keep it as simple and short as possible.
- Relevant: for engaging other users that have no idea of what your event is about.
- Short: try to take up as little of the 140 twitter characters as possible
- Unique: it should be something that will only be used by the people at your event
2. Promote your hashtag before the event
According to an Amiando survey, 60% of the tweets at an event are sent during the event, and the other 40% is sent before or after, so make sure that your hashtag is included in all social promotions of your event to build awareness. Show the hashtag on your event registration page, and ask attendees to “Join in the conversation”. Then, read carefully to get a general idea of what the people are expecting from your event.
3. Encourage conversations during the event
Using a service like Eventstagram, you can have the conversation and/or images on a live slideshow on the projector or screen. This will entice others to join the conversation during the event, as well as allowing people who weren’t able to attend to find out what’s going on. Engage with the attendees by retweeting, and asking or answering questions, and have the speakers at the events remind people about the hashtag. If you don’t think you will have time, schedule a few inspiring tweets to send during the event.
4. Harvesting information and keeping track after the event
Keep a list of the attendees for other occasions, and thank them all individually for coming. You can then download a report on how many people shared something with your hashtag, what was the most engaging content, and access all the pictures, questions and remarks that people shared on social media. This provides valuable information about the behavior of the attendees, and how many people were aware of your event on Social Media, even if they weren’t attending. Keep the conversation going until it fades. Ask questions and share the most valuable pieces of information again, and you will be surprised how much more exposure you can get after the event is over.
Long live the #hashtag! Sonia Rosua-Clyne is the Community Manager for Eventstagram. What Eventstagram does is collate all of the photos taken at an event under a specific hashtag. They are then displayed in real-time on a big screen, keeping your crowd entertained as they watch their photos and videos appear, maximizing your exposure on social media. To get in touch, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org