By now we should all be familiar with hashtags and how they can be either annoying or helpful depending on how they’re used. At their core, hashtags are meant to categorize online content, emphasize keywords or phrases and aid in connecting with others through common interests. Once exclusive to Twitter, hashtags are now widely used across most online social networks. When used sparingly and appropriately, hashtags can enhance communication. But when used out of context or without creative thought, they become distracting. Using hashtags in verbal communication can make you the butt of a joke. And nobody wants to be the butt of a joke.
One effective use of hashtags is for events. If you’ve attended a networking event or large conference in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed or even used an event-specific hashtag. When used at events, hashtags can be a great way for attendees to actively participate, allow for social networking and make it easy for people to find event highlights with just a quick Twitter search. Event hashtags can even allow for people to follow the event virtually if they’re unable to attend in person.
Unfortunately, many events do a poor job of execution when it comes to maximizing event hashtag usage. The list below should give you some good ideas to effectively promote the event hashtag in the days and months leading up to the event, increase hashtag usage during the event and in using the hashtag to recap the event.
When looking through this list, keep in mind that these are merely ways to get the most out of an event hashtag. Remember that the event hashtag also needs to be unique, short, descriptive and memorable. Check out this article in AdWeek for more on how to choose and effective hashtag.
Hashtag promotion leading up to event:
- Include event hashtag on any main graphics produced for the event
- Make sure to include the hashtag on all communications leading up to event
- Save the date email/mailer
- Registration email
- Reminder emails
- PDF flyer
- Tweets leading up to and during event
- Include on website(s)
- Main event landing page
- Registration page
- Confirmation page/event ticket
- Website homepage banner
- News section
- Blog post promoting event and what to expect
- Include the hashtag on event printed materials
- All signage (posters, large print banners or tabletop items)
- Name tags and lanyards (also include company Twitter handle and attendee’s Twitter handle or leave space to fill in)
- Table cards
- Agenda print outs
- Presentation decks
- Event specific SWAG (lanyards, T-shirts, pens, note pads, etc.)
- Place on food items (on coffee cups, printed on napkins, written on desserts, stickers on chip bags, etc.)
Encourage using the hashtag during event:
- Have speakers mention the hashtag prior to their presentation or during their introduction by the emcee
- Encourage audience participation by giving out prizes (signed book from one of the speakers, free registration to next year’s event, gift cards, etc.)
- Project the branded hashtag at a main area where attendees will convene or just off stage from presenters
- Have someone live-tweet the event from event Twitter handle
- Monitor the hashtag and favorite/retweet the best ones
- Have pre-planned tweets ready to go out during the event
- Share photos/videos during the event
- Project event hashtag conversation on a wall or monitor using a tool like HootSuite’s HootFeed (more services here)
Post-event hashtag use:
- Thank attendees and everyone who participated
- Share notes or speaker presentation decks
- Post a recap video (embed on event page, post to YouTube, share on other sites)
- Share photos from the event (make a Flickr slideshow)
- Share a Storify event recap focusing on the best tweets and moments shared
Do you have ideas on how to get the most out of an event hashtag? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me: @eric_wheeler.
Schmidt gif via metro.co.uk.