I spent the past few days attending a weekend-long event that had a very successful social media presence. The brand utilized Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and their own blog (among others sites, possibly) to market the event, which was actually a series of learning experiences such as seminars, demonstrations and excursions. They drew an impressive crowd and received fabulous reviews.
Of course, as I attended each class, I made sure to connect with other people who were participating via Twitter. I did this by using a hashtag (“#” sign) with the keyword that the brand designated as the event’s title. When you use a hashtag before a phrase on Twitter, you make it easy for Twitter to organize the tweets and they come up more easily in Twitter searches.
If I wanted to find out what other people were saying about the event, I just had to search for the particular hashtag. I could read through relevant tweets and then reply or retweet, if I so desired. It is a great way to keep the momentum of an on-site event going in the social space.
As I tweeted all weekend long, I found myself thinking about hashtags an awful lot and came up with the following suggestions for people who are creating Twitter hashtags for events:
- Keep your hashtag short and sweet. Typing extra letters takes time (and characters) so the shorter, the better. Since Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet, you do not want your hashtag to be too long.
- You do not need to use the year at the end of the hashtag. I have seen events that add the year at the end of their event’s hashtag, however, this is not necessarily. Twitter only indexes tweets for a few days so, if your event is annual, you can use the same hashtag next year.
- Make sure that the hashtag is not being used for something else. Using a hashtag that already has a different meaning is very confusing for tweeters.
- Market your hashtag. Make sure that it is on all promotional materials, both online and offline.
- Make it easy for people to find the event’s hashtag. You might consider putting it on your profile’s bio during the event. If there are any event hand-outs, print the hashtag on them for easy reference.
- Identify and promote your most active tweeters. If there are participants who are providing running commentary on your event with your hashtag, mention them in a tweet from your brand so that your followers know to pay attention to them for live information about your event.
- Interact with your attendees during the event. Reply to them and retweet them.
Have you ever used a hashtag for an event? Did you find it useful as a tool for brand/attendee interaction?