By now you are probably very aware of the fact that there are hashtags virtually everywhere. In fact, every major social media channel accepts hashtags now excluding Linkedin. Not only are they popular on social media, but they have come into our modern language. But what is the importance of a hashtag for your event and how do you choose the right one?
Hashtags are one of the most sure ways to bring organic and real-time interaction to your events. It creates an umbrella of community for your attendees to share with hundreds if not thousands of people who are undergoing the same experience. Hashtags also increase the visibility and awareness to your events. From the first event announcement to the final thank-you, you can use your hashtag to engage and keep reengaging your community of followers while promoting your brand.
So first thing’s first- creating a hashtag. Here are some basic guidelines:
1. Keep it short. If your event has a huge, multi-word name then look into making an acronym for it or shortened words such as “fest” for festival. Also keep in mind that most people will be using your hashtag on twitter- which only allows 140 characters. Don’t let your hashtag take up too much of their talking space!
2. Research your hashtag- it must be unique! Make sure- especially if you use an acronym that you are not going to confuse your attendees by adding on to an already popular hashtag from a different event. This will make things extremely hard to interact and confuse attendees!
3. Put the year of the annual convention/meeting/festival at the end of the hashtag.
4. This is obvious but still must be said- keep it related to your event! This year’s Super Bowl simply had “#SuperBowlXLIX”
5. Make it memorable- if your event has a theme, or a focus word, consider that!
Next, you must promote your hashtag so that attendees will use it!
Before your event:
— Include your hashtag in all marketing campaigns such as email, social media, direct mail, and posters etc.
— Make sure you are engaging in conversation when someone uses your hashtag!
— Have the hashtag visible on your event page (make it LARGE), and even on your ticket (in the description).
— Have a call to action such as “Join the conversation” or “Share the experience” etc.
During your event:
— This is when it gets super fun for me, personally. There are SO many things you can do to promote your hashtag during event. In fact- just Google “How to promote hashtag at event” and you will see some great examples from super simple to super complex.
— My favorite examples of promoting a hashtag are: incorporating it in your food/dessert, using lights/screens/projections on a large focus-wall, using it as a backdrop for your photobooth setup, putting on t-shirts/stickers and having awesome dancing sign-holders with your hashtag.
— Make sure your speakers, DJ’s, and Emcees are promoting your hashtag throughout the event!
— Have a live feed. You can have a monitored (it’s always best to monitor them!) live feed of Twitter and Instagram through several different apps so do some research, get some large screens, and get people engaged!
— Schedule tweets to provoke a reaction from your audience or send them out in real-time with promotions and questions.
After the event:
— Promote your favorite tweets and pictures on your website, social media, and follow-up emails.
— Use the hashtag to send a few “Thank-You”s to the attendees, vendors, and entertainers. They were all most likely retweet it and keep the conversation going even further.
— Feedback! Go back and answer unanswered questions, thank individual, and comment on pictures. Make sure to report and track your findings so you can make improvements to your next event.
So, let me conclude this by saying I absolutely love a good hashtag success story and promotion. It’s the marketer in me. So get creative and bring a whole new element to your event in the most successful way possible. All you need is the right mixture of hashtag creation, promotion, and interaction.
We believe in you!