Value of Event Hashtags
During the last #eventhour chat, we raised the question of event specific hashtags.
The feedback was mixed between advocates of event hashtags and those who weren’t sure exactly what the value was….let’s dig into it then, shall we?
It is undeniably becoming more common to see events revolving around social activities.
What drives this networking, communication and engagement is the ability for these socialites to connect in one space online. Twitter in itself, is too large a space for these people to effectively connect and share their experience. However, event specific hashtags provide an embedded space within Twitter that makes it easy for those involved in the event to hang out in the same online space.
Event hashtag benefits
Event hashtags are beneficial to the different target groups at an event; organizers, sponsors attendees and speakers
The Event Organizers
- Easy Access to community
- Watch activity to gain insights on what works (and doesn’t)
- Extend event reach with non-digital attendees
- Easily harvest the key points and highlights for follow-up activities
- Discover people and build connections
- Find value in event components you may not be able to attend
- Allow for digital attendees
- Access key points during and after event
- Grow following
- Build expertise in specific verticals
- Connect with advocates
- Easy Access to Community
- Insight into demographic reached
- Connect with Advocates
Of course, these benefits are only applicable to events that have an attendee base that is socially active. So, before allotting your time to coordinating online activities such as event hashtags the first thing is to identify whether your attendees are social and if they tweet!
Find this out by asking for twitter handles at registration and allowing attendees to share the event and track those shares!
Tip: In the post text include the event hashtag and organizers handle to increase engagement!
If your attendees are Twitter users then continue reading. If not, change your tune and focus on components of the event that will resonate with your attendees!
Selecting an Event Hashtag
Keep it short!
Make it easy to type and with fewer characters so it’s not a bother in the tweet but make sure that its relevant and not a unique alphanumeric mix. Let’s look at some examples:
- 2014 Olympic Winter Games is currently using the event hashtag #Sochi2014
- Ultimate Fighting Championship #168 their event hashtag could be #UFC168
- Ted X 2014 Conference 30th anniversary their event hashtag might be something like #2014TED or #TED30
Avoid using common words for hashtags. Make it unique to the people at the event. E.g. #TEDx would capture anyone using it, in any context, rather than only those at the event or wanting in on the 30th anniversary conversation. Keeping it unique makes the stream extremely relevant for the attendees and hashtag listeners.
Using the Hashtag
Generate Awareness of the hashtag
Treat the hashtag like core content! Whatever tool or platform you use to promote and share the details of your events, be sure to highlight the event hashtag and present it like core information. We give our event organizers the choice of including theirs in their event set-up.
Just posting it with the details is not enough…you must use it leading up to the event from the very beginning. The day you launch the event details is the day you start using the hashtag. Share the info with your communities using the hashtag. E.g. “Excited to announce registration is now open for #TED30 Full details here: <URL>”
Leading up to the event, share time frames, meal plans, sponsorships, etc. on social media using the hashtag. Any time you talk about the event, the event hashtag should be included!
During the Event
Demonstrate the desire to have the attendees participate in online conversations by doing the following:
- Include the hashtag on any presentation slides.
- Project a hashtag feed for the audience to see during the event
Tip: Register the hashtag with http://twubs.com for a custom branded hashtag landing page with ‘tweet to screen’ functionality for easy live streaming.
- Have dedicated event tweeters to highlight key points and make connections, e.g. “I’d love to meet IRL, coffee station at break?”
- Highlight any media by mentioning them and using the hashtag – this will let them know to use it in mentions in case the attendee is not their social media executer.
Use the hashtag when doing any of the follow up or after event content creation examples:
- Share a follow-up blog(s) of your experience
- Mention key people when reflecting on happenings
- Highlight key influencers
- Thank each sponsor and speaker directly
- Share any earned media