Hashtags at Events: What You Need to Know

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Hashtags, those funny words and phrases without spaces that begin with the “#” symbol, aren’t just for millennials. Despite Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s hilarious spoof, businesses use hashtags very successfully in all kinds of social media posts. They’ve become so ubiquitous, that it’s odd when an attendees don't see an event hashtag.


Here’s everything you need to know to use hashtags at events. #nofilter


A Brief Hashtag History


Flashback to 2007: Chris Messina proposed that Twitter users use a hashtag (specifically #barcamp) to organize groups on Twitter. Though Twitter originally rejected the idea, the concept quickly caught on. As the New York Times said, “Soon, people began using hashtags to add humor, context and interior monologues to their messages – and everyday conversation.”


Beyond Twitter, hashtags are now found on every major social network – including Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. More than likely, your customers or clients already use them in some way or another as well.


Choose Your Event Hashtag


Although it seems obvious, for the best event results, use one single, unified event hashtag. Attendees and organizers can easily see all the conversations about the event. It also makes it easy for guests to find photos and interact with fellow attendees.


To choose your event hashtag, follow these tips from TweetBeam:


  1. Make it Unique. Search Twitter first to see if your hashtag is already used widely or by another event. If so, come up with an alternate so people don’t get confused. You don’t want your hashtag to be too generic that conversation gets lost in a broader dialogue about a related topic.

  2. Keep it Clear. Strong hashtags are easy to understand.

  3. Make it Memorable. You want attendees to add your hashtag to every conversation they have about your event. Make the hashtag easy to remember.

  4. Keep it Short and Sweet. Most real-time conversation happens on Twitter, which is optimized for 140 characters. Keep your hashtag short so there is plenty of room for additional comments.

  5. Avoid Bad Implications or Associations. Make sure the words or any abbreviations can’t be interpreted in another way to avoid an #epicfail.


Promote Your Hashtag


Once you’ve decided on your event hashtag, it’s time to promote and encourage attendees to use it. Just like the rest of your event, the hashtag needs pre-, at- and post-promotion.


Here are a few ideas to get you started:


Pre-Event


  • Introduce the hashtag in pre-event communications including email and direct mail.

  • Include the hashtag in any event-related blog posts or press releases.

  • Feature the hashtag on your event website and registration pages.

  • Share it socially in your own posts.

  • Like, favorite and retweet when others post with the event hashtag.


At-Event


  • Reinforce the hashtag in event signage.

  • Find creative ways to promote your hashtag throughout the event.

  • Display real-time conversations using the hashtag on large screens.

  • Remind speakers to promote the event hashtag and use it in their own event-related communications.

  • Continue to retweet, like, favorite and respond to posts with the hashtag.


Post-Event


  • Follow and thank attendees who actively used your hashtag.

  • Search and save any images with the hashtag to promote next year’s event.

  • Track and measure hashtag mentions.


Event hashtags can be just one social media strategy to get people sharing your event.


Check out our social media resource center to learn more.


Posted by Chloe Raison | Request as a Speaker

Believer in the power of social media. Awed by digital. Maker of humans. Baker of cakes. Lover of travel.