Have you wondered what the big deal is about using and promoting hashtags for events?
Well, you've landed on the right article, because this one is written just for you!
What is a hashtag?
When you've worked in the social media or marketing side of the events industry for a number of years, as we have, we tend to forget that there are people in the world who either don't know what a hashtag is, or may have heard of it but have no clue as to what one does. (Feel free to skip this bit if you already know.)
Explained simply, a hashtag is a word or phrase, typed without spaces, preceded by a hash symbol (#). They are commonly used on social media channels and apps to group together, or link, public messages from any number of users so they can be easily viewed in a single stream of messages. Hashtags can also be useful to add context to messages and is especially useful on Twitter where there's a 140 character limit.
You can search for messages that contain specific hashtags by either using the search feature on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or by clicking on a hashtag within a message.
Hashtags aren't case sensitive but adding capital letters to each word can make them easier to read #LikeThisForExample.
Why use a hashtag for your events?
Used correctly, a hashtag can be a hugely effective marketing tool for your brand or event as it:
- groups together all the online conversation and media
- lets your audience easily connect to each other
- excites other Instagram and/or Twitter users and encourages them to join in your event conversation, or find out more about it
- increases the online exposure of your brand or event
Where should you place your hashtag?
If your audience doesn't know about it, they won't use it, or even worse, they will invent their own!
Our advice is to promote it anywhere and everywhere, but we have some suggestions on where to put them, to get you started:
- in all your social media Bio's
- in your email signature
- on registration materials and website pages
- make sure all your speakers announce it in their keynotes
- encourage speakers, exhibitors, and VIPs to use it before, during and after your event
- on all your branded stationery, banners, posters, flyers etc.
- use it on all relevant social posts
- on your social wall
- on event screens
- in rest or networking areas
Need some more inspiration? Take a look at Great Ways to Display Hashtags at Events, and if you find that people do invent their own hashtags this article will help you Managing Multiple Hashtags For Your Event.
How do you decide on a hashtag?
Choosing the right hashtag is an important process that should not be taken lightly.
Here are our top tips on creating the perfect hashtag for your event:
- Keep it short - two reasons for this 1) Tweets have a 140 character limit, so give your audience more space to be creative, and 2) typing on a smartphone can be a challenge, the longer the hashtag, the more chance of typos.
- Make it unique - is another event using the same hashtag? Do some research to make sure conversation about another event doesn't confuse your audience or flood your social wall.
- Use the same hashtag on each social network - for consistency at the same time as making it easier for your audience to remember.
- Keep it relevant - your audience should be able to identify how it connects with your event.
- Make it memorable.
- Check that it doesn't have any bad connotations or can be misinterpreted. Here's one that was used for an album launch party back in 2012 and people are still talking about it today (for all the wrong reasons!).
Just got reminded about #Susanalbumparty and now I can't stop giggling on the train— Benji (79% Cheerio) (@nicetobatyou) 12 April 2017
When is it NOT a good idea to use a hashtag?
If your event is open to the public and your aim is to get more exposure on social media, we can't think of a single reason why you wouldn't want to promote a hashtag.
However, there are times when events, conferences or company meetings need to be kept private and away from the public social networks. Using a social wall with SMS or Web Messaging can be a really effective alternative and a fun way to create a buzz, benefiting from audience engagement and participation while keeping sensitive information secure. You can read in Transforming Engagement in Company Meetings.
So, have we managed to persuade you to use and promote a hashtag for your next event?
We hope we've helped you understand what a difference a great hashtag can make to your events, conferences and brand activations.
Don't forget hashtags and social walls are also a magical combination to give an added boost and a further incentive for people to talk about your event on social.
If you've not used a social wall before, take a look at Why Use a Social Wall and Planning for Your Social Wall, or if you want some more tips on using social media and social walls, you'll find our blog bursting with helpful articles.
See ya next time!
The SocialWall Pro Team