Whether you're throwing a large seminar, a Webinar, or perhaps an intimate gathering, you should be thinking about your event hashtag. Here are some rules for choosing an event hashtag, just to get you going.
1. Make It Constant
Whether you're planning on hosting this event every month, every year, or as a one-time-only event, you'll want to brand your event with your hashtag. The easiest way to do this is by creating a hashtag that will stick through the years. #Event2013 isn't going to stick because next year will be 2014 and your event hashtag will no longer be time-relevant. So just the name of the event will be fine here.
2. Make It Unique
You want this to be unique to your event, so think of hashtags that haven't been used yet. Something like #socialmedia is a bad choice, because that hashtag is overly populated and used for any conversation that relates to social media.
Why Use A Hashtag?
1. Builds Community
Your hashtag builds your community and connects people to one another. Community building is relationship building, and both are big pluses in social media.
2. Builds Exposure
By encouraging people to talk about a certain topic via a specific hashtag, you're drawing more eyeballs to that event.
3. Catalogs The Event
A hashtag offers a nice way to go back and search a topic. In this case, you can search the event. I used a hashtag for my wedding and I love to go back and look at all the pictures my friends took and tagged.
4. Brands The Event
Branding is important, and the hashtag will have its own identity and serve to brand the event. The things people say around your event will build your brand as well.
11 Ways To Promote & Encourage Users To Use The Hashtag
I attended #SocialFresh, a social media conference. They did a great job promoting the hashtag and encouraging participants to use it. Like the event marketing, there needs to be pre-during-post promotions of the event hashtag, which, in turn, promotes the event.
When reaching out to your list, make sure you include your hashtag. This way, as people sign up, they can start using the hashtag immediately and start connecting with other people who are planning on attending.
If you're sending out a press release, make sure you have the hashtag included. It'll only encourage bloggers and websites to talk about the event and use the hashtag in their communication.
This is your property, you better be using it to your advantage. That means hashtagging in all blog posts.
Same thing here. You need to practice what you preach, so make sure you use it frequently.
Again, this is your billboard. You should include it on your event page and your homepage. No matter where people look, they should see the hashtag.
SocialFresh did a really fun speed networking event where we broke into groups and were offered prizes for Tweeting and participating in games. Because the games are fun and there are prizes involved, I imagine that was more of an incentive for people to participate.
Encourage the speakers to include the hashtag in their slides. You can make it fun for the speakers, too, and tell them that whoever gets the most hashtag mentions with their name will win a prize.
Include the hashtag on programs along with the speakers' Twitter handles so there's no confusion. As always, the easier you make things, the more likely people are to do it.
You can highlight different Tweets, or even stream any conversation happening with the hashtag included, on a wall somewhere at the event. People will want to see their name on the big screen. Give them a few minutes of fame.
When you send out the event thank you's, make sure you tell people to keep connecting with the community that was built through the event. Perhaps offer people a discount for continued use for next year's event. You want to keep the momentum going.
Recap With Event Hashtag Search
Twitter allows you to embed a hashtag search (see below) on your blog. This is a great way to show what an awesome event you had, and how active the attendees were.