Hashtags for Events.
Highlighting with Hashtags. You have your ideas set down on paper, you have your event checklist spreadsheet ready and you have the idea that you want to make this event so accessible for your speakers, guests and employees that you want to take social media by storm. But where to start?
We have mentioned before the statistic of 74% of Americans are on at least one type of social media. And, your idea of having access to immediate information about your event for your guests is a good one. The tricky part is the “how”.
Setting aside one designated person on your marketing team, or hiring a marketing professional with knowledge of social media, is the first thing to do. Once the person is in place, the brainstorming can begin.
A “hashtag” is an identifying word, an acronym or phrase, starting with the pound symbol, which acts like a link to conversations about your event. For example, if your event is bringing together all the bakeries in the area specializing in cupcakes, your event could use the hashtag: #cupcakeryconvention. The best hashtags identify the event in such a clever and short way the hashtag is not only easy to remember, but easy to use.
Once your team thinks up several different ideas for the hashtag, it is time for research. This is important. By searching the directory on Twubs.com or even Twitter.com itself, you can get an idea if your hashtags has already been used before, and if so, by whom or by what type of internet user. Say #cupcakeryconvention has already been used by a pop star’s followers to reference the picture of the pop star eating more than her share of cupcakes while attending a music convention in Miami then you would need to pick your next hashtag idea to research because most likely, those followers would not be attending your event.
Hint: Try and keep hashtags to 15 characters.
Now that you have your hashtag set, and depending on the status of your event, you may like to register this hashtag. Note that registering this hashtag does not mean that you have complete control over it. It merely adds your event to a directory of hashtags that may be more easily be accessed via research by your guests. However, once registered and linked to the event, it will be easy to add this identifying mark to printed materials and of course used across multiple social media platforms.
Start using this hashtag on any and all event materials as soon as your event is announced. Before the event takes place, you will want speakers, guests and employees to use this hashtag in all online conversations as an extra marketing tool for the event.
Your designated person can now monitor all mentions of this event. He or she can engage directly with users to answer questions, distribute updates and information and especially to track the use of the unique hashtag. Tracking software is usually included as part of the social media platform. And, by tracking your hashtag, you can have up to the minute numbers on your return of investment (ROI) of time spent on social media.
Let us not forget that the continued use of the hashtag afterwards is a good idea too. Reference the hashtag while highlighting special connections made at the event or while asking for feedback from attendees.
Adding a social media strategy to your event planning may seem daunting at first, but with these few hints, you can certainly add another accessible layer to your guest’s experience.
Jacquelyn is the President of JM Marketing & Events, Inc. Helping clients plan events that exceed their goals and expand their brand is her specialty. Follow us on Twitter @JMMarketEvents & Instagram. For great event planning and marketing ideas follow our Boards on Pinterest and Facebook.