Are your event hashtags working for you?
Whether you’re running an awards night, national campaign or a multi day conference event hashtags are a crucial component of your social media strategy. Here are some things to consider for your event.
What is a hashtag anyway?
This is not a silly question. Many people refer to hashtags and use them prolifically, yet aren’t quite sure why. A hashtag is simply a unique and therefore searchable marker for like content. If you post an instagram image with the hashtag “#funnycats”, you will find that on searching instagram (or the web) for #funnycats, your image will be there. There’s a lot of funny cats out there. You may have to scroll a while for that one!
Why are hashtags important?
Using hashtags not only connects your guests but helps them interact with one another. By letting your target audience engage with your event and other event attendees they will build a community with a common interest. Your guests can search theirpreferred network for #yourevent in order to find other attendees, read what they’re saying, share, like, favourite and repost to their friends. If the hashtag does not exist, your guests have little chance of discussing your event online. They will merely post their thought or image, and the information is soon lost in the noise of the web. Without interaction, guests are unlikely to continue posting – a massive opportunity missed.
As your event attendees engage and interact more with your hashtag, their activity builds your event’s online presence exponentially. The potential for global exposure is there for the taking.
Getting the most from your hashtag
When first creating your hashtag, keep it short and easy to remember, spell and type. It’s a good idea to make it unique so it doesn’t clash with any other events or other social media comments using the same hashtag. Hint: Search it first!!
Once you have chosen your hashtag, get it out there to your audience. Don’t wait until your event is about to start, generate buzz around your event nice and early and get the conversation going.
To give your hashtag a head start, ask your more influential users such as keynote speakers or special guests to start using your chosen hashtag and engage in conversation.
Get your hashtag out there
When putting your event collateral together, whether in print or digital, make sure you incorporate your hashtag. Don’t forget to remind people to get in on the social chatter. Fun competitions and polls are a great way to get hashtags ‘trending’. For example, ask a question and offer a prize to whoever is first to tweet the correct answer using the hashtag #yourevent. Got an important issue to discuss? Ask your guests to contribute their thoughts using your hashtag, or ask questions of keynote speakers. Remember to stay on top of the discussion at all times. Monitor it and reward the activity with mentions, retweets, and or course, thanks. There is nothing more off-putting for the social media savvy than finding your conversation is being ignored. Simply referring to someone’s point or question posed online reassures your entire audience that their contribution is valuable.
Before your event
Include the hashtag on your website, newsletters, press releases, blog posts and social media platforms that allow hashtags (most of them these days!). No matter where your audience interacts with you, they should be able to see easily what your event hashtag will be.
During your event
Your event program or app should display your hashtag prominently and encourage attendees to join the conversation. You may also get a staff member, volunteer or even your event photographer to capture event images and post them.
If you are getting event t-shirts made up, consider having your hashtag on the shirts so it is always in sight. There will be no excuses that attendees didn’t know what it was.
When hosting an exhibition as part of your event, why not have your photographer capture images on their phone as well as professional images which not only captures your event but also engages your exhibitors and sponsor messages.
Let your speakers and special guests have some fun and include the hashtags in their slides. The speaker with the most mentions in the tweets wins a prize. You’ll be amazed at what some of them get up to!
If you are encouraging users to take their own photos during your event, you can have a prize for the best photo/s of the event. A small prize pack is all you need to get to get people sharing.
During social events, exhibitions or between breaks you can really get people excited about their social media interaction by displaying their tweets and pictures on TV screens or projectors in and around the event by using a social media streaming solution.
After your event
Don’t let your hashtag drop off the face of social media once your event is over. When sending your post-event thank you’s, let your community know they can still connect with attendees using the event hashtag.
You could also collate your event tweets and photos onto a post-event website to show potential attendees how successful your event was.
If you simply don’t have the time to run and co-ordinate your event’s social media stream then drop us a message, our team would be happy to put together your event’s social media strategy alongside our event photography services.