The Simple Science of Hashtags and Event Marketing

event hashtagNo matter what kind of event you’re planning or how many people are already looking forward to it, social media can help you make it even better. In particular, there’s one indispensable asset all events should have: Their own event hashtag.

Now, we’ve all run into situations where brands try desperately to make a hashtag happen – yielding no ROI or, worse, a few quiet snickers from onlookers. Done right, however, a hashtag is a unique mark of visibility that helps others feel they’re truly a part of your event.

So: What is it that really separates the best event hashtag marketing from all the rest?

Remember these factors:

Make Sure Your Event Hashtag is Unique, Short, and Memorable

Twitter only offers 140 characters, so try not to take up more than 14 with your hashtag. Before you get started, search the network to make sure your idea – or something very similar – hasn’t been used recently. Finally, participants and supporters need to be able to use the hashtag easily. Most annual events combine their acronym with some variation on the year or location.

event hashtagPromote Your Event Hashtag at Every Step of the Journey

When hashtags fail, the usual problem is simple: Event organizers thought their hashtag would simply “catch on” if they started using it. As with any marketing plan, you need a structured approach to make sure your attendees are exposed to your hashtag again and again.

That means taking the right steps at the right moment.

Before Your Event

  • Build awareness of your hashtag by including it in all of your social promotion;
  • Track your hashtag across multiple social platforms and thank those who use it;
  • Include your event hashtag on your registration page, business cards, and fliers.

During Your Event

  • Project your ongoing hashtag conversation on screens throughout your venue;
  • Ensure that all invited speakers use the hashtag and announce it in their talk;
  • Retweet attendees who are using the hashtag and respond to their points.

After Your Event

  • Follow up with all the engaged attendees who used your hashtag and thank them again;
  • Continue to follow the hashtag until post-event conversations wind down completely.

Manage Your Hashtag to Bring Visibility and Credibility to Your Event

Once you start promoting your hashtag, it’s impossible to know how soon people will start using it. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you have a volunteer or staff member who will be watching it when event principals can’t. Be responsive and answer questions promptly.

A good hashtag can unite people from all over the world within a single conversation. Start using them and it’ll be that much easier to make one take off next time your event rolls around.