Creating a unique #hashtag for your event

In a previous article, when speaking about how you can use Twitter to promote your event, we recommended you to use the almighty event #hashtag in order to gain more visibility. Today I want to talk more about the #hashtag in particular, to see how and why you should create a unique one for your event.

But first, let’s remember what a hashtag is. Google dictionary informs us that it’s “a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic”. In other words, it’s a searchable link used on social media platforms to categorize content, tying public conversation in one single stream.

hash sign followed by EventHashtag

Twitter was the first social media platform to use # as a searchable link. In 2007 user Chris Messina first brought it up on Twitter, but it took 2 more years before the feature went live. Twitter is not the only social platform to use the hashtag for grouping content anymore but it’s the platform where users use it the most, over 125 Million # being used every single day.

#hashtags are also used on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (tested it, stopped using it, started using it again) Google+ or Pinterest. Even Snapchat users are using it, although on this platform it can’t be used as a searchable link.

What can I include in a hashtag? 

Although I’m sure almost everyone knows how they look there is some specific information we need to know. Hashtags don’t support spaces, so if you want to to use multiple words you can use capitals to differentiate them (example: #ExperienceTech). Punctuation marks and special characters are not supported either but numbers are, so #WAM18 can be (and is) used as an event hashtag.

Why should I create an event hashtag?

Twitter capture of GuinessWorldRecord account

source: Twitter.com

 

 

 

 

What would you say if I told you that one hashtag, #AIDubEBTamangPanahon, connected over 40 million tweets and comments in just 24 hours? Yes, this is a world record, but it’s a good example of how the snowball hashtag can roll, getting bigger and bigger.

Using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) will help you keep your followers close, and also reach new ones. Someone interested in your event will simply click on the hashtag and will “gain access” to all content where your # was used.

Your unique #hashtag can be used in combination with other ones in order to increase your reach but used wrong hashtags can also decrease it. These charts will show you the number of hashtags you should use on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for a better reach.

Twitter: it’s not recommended to use more than two hashtags per post.

Facebook: don’t use more than 3 hashtags in one post.

Instagram: Instagrammers love hashtags, so it seems that posts with 9 hashtags have the best engagement. But as you can see, the more the merrier.

You can check out Socialmediatoday to find out more about the recommended length of a hashtag for this 3 social media platforms.

How should my event hashtag be?

Simple and easy to spell. Try keeping it as simple as possible, so people don’t find it hard to remember (or spell).The goal is to have it used as often as possible and a very complicated one won’t help you (yes,  #AIDubEBTamangPanahon seems anything but simple, but why take the risk?)

Unique. Make sure that your branded hashtag wasn’t used by another company before (#eventplanning or not). You want your hashtag to be associated with your event, not with dog food (although let’s face it, dogs are damn cool).

Relevant. Don’t use a hashtag that might mislead users, it will backfire for sure. Use something that represents your event, like #ETA2017 for Event TEchnology Awards 2017 or #burningman for…well, guess this one.

P.s. you should also check your hashtags for double-meaning and also you should say it out loud before using it, it may save you a lot of trouble afterward.

How should I use my event hashtag?

Your mission is to create meaningful events and the event hashtag is closely connected to it, so I want to show you how to best use your hashtag before, during, and after your event(s).

Before the event: Before the event, you should use it to create a buzz around it. This way more and more potential attendees find out about it.  For this, it’s best to ask all your partners to use the event hashtag. You can also create contests where the followers using your hashtag can win tickets to the event, backstage passes or any other event related prize. This way you will encourage people to use and share information about your event, meaning you will reach more and more potential attendees.

During the event: Experience taught us that attendees will post/tweet during events, letting their friends/followers know what a great time they are having. Or who they have just met.

picture of Gary Vaynerchuk and a fan from brandmind_asia's Instagram account

source: Instagram, brandminds_asia account

You can expand your reach by reposting (or retweeting) their content with your event’s “official” hashtag.  You will also show your attendees that you appreciate their social media posting.

After the event: Being used as searchable links, hashtags are great when looking for user-generated content. And considering the fact that over 85% of the millennials say User Generated Content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand you should really use testimonials in your favor. Curated UGC can boost registration for your future events and your event hashtag is a great way to identify it.

How to make your event visible using Search Engine Marketing

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” – Wendy Piersall

do you

We hear on a daily basis about Search Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization(SEO). But what does it really mean? Is Search Marketing the same with Search Engine Marketing? – the answer is no.

Search Marketing is the umbrella under which fells Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

Search Marketing is the process of gaining website traffic both organic (SEO) and paid(SEM) advertising.

SEO is the process of improving your website and content so that it’s visible to search engines. The process is organic and requires a lot of patience.

SEM is paid advertising with the help of search engines. Advertisers pay and bid on specific keywords to be shown when searched for.

Search Marketing = SEO + SEM

Since both SEM and SEO are two broad and confusing topics, in this article I am going to speak about SEM, what is it, how to use it and what practices are best in order to maximize your event’s exposure.

When somebody is searching for an event the results displayed at the top of the search engine’s page represent the search ads. And obviously that’s the place you want your ad to be displayed in order to make your future attendees find you fast and easy.

Google has 78% Market Share in the Search Network Market

The Search Network Market is shared within a limited number of players and by far the leader is Google with a 78% Market Share followed by Bing and Baidu with 8% each. NetMarketShare, May 2017

The most popular among search ads are Google Search Network which handles more than 40,000 search queries every second and a total of more than 1.2 trillion web searches every single year.

Google Search Network as explained above, are the ads which help you find new customers and if used right your ads will be displayed within the top searches.

One of the major misconceptions is that whomever has the largest advertising budget wins – False!

On top of the money, what Google stands for is delivering the most appropriate content to it’s users. For this to be possible all ads have to pass through a process which is know as ad auction and only the ads with the highest Ad Rank will be placed in the top searches. Yes, a larger advertising budget can help you, especially when bidding for competitive keywords, but another important factor which can help you spend less money is the Quality Score.

AdRank = Maximum Bid * Quality Score

Maximum Bid is the maximum amount of money you you are willing to pay for a click.

Quality Score is calculated considering the overall quality of the advertisement. The factors constituting the quality score, are:

  • Relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • The click-through rate
  • Relevance of your ad-text
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • Your historical AdWords account performance

The one characteristic which “weights” the most from the above mentioned is the click-through rate (CTR). It tells Google how many people saw your ad and actually clicked on it. This allows Google to understand that your ad is relevant and helpful and will increase your quality rank through a high CTR.

Keyword selection is one of the most important aspect of SEM’s success

Keyword selection is one of the most important aspect of SEM’s success and beside them there are a few more practices which should be considered:

Relevant keywords it is important to identify from the beginning the keywords which are relevant to your event and customers;

-use WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool, which provides a range of valuable information, such as search volume for each individual keyword in Google and its general competitiveness.

-to find out how well your account is doing, try WordStream’s free AdWords Performance Grader.

Group of keywords – create group of keywords and market them separately and on different occasions. It is easier to monitor which ones are successful or not. It is easier to remove the ones which don’t generate any ROI and be cost effective.

Niche keywords and long tail keywords rather than general ones since the consumers who are searching an event with the intention of attending will be more specific in their searches and keyword selection rather than searching for general keywords.

Keep pace with the competition – It is important to be updated with what your competitors are doing too, what keywords or promotions are using. Try being creative and keep up the pace with them.

Bidding strategy – you should not be focused on the general keywords and how much your maximum bid can be. You should permanently monitor the campaigns, check which keywords are converting or not and practice the AB testing within keywords and campaigns.

The advantage of Search Engine Marketing is that you can monitor and track your consumer’s journey and behavior

Once a new user lands on a page, a profile is going to be created and with which it’s whole journey is going to be monitored. From that moment every marketing link clicked on, every page viewed, and every ticket bought, is captured in the profile where it can be analyzed and understood.

SEM can be a significant tool for your event. It is the tool that helps your attendees find you and in order to do that successfully you need to make sure it is used adequately. Not only Search Engine Marketing but the whole process has to be used in the right way. SEO, SEM and of course the paid ads.

SEM Terminology

  • PPC (pay-per-click)
  • CPC (cost-per-click)
  • CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)
  • Creative/ Adtext – Heading and description of search ad
  • SERP – Search Engine Result Page
  • CTR% – Click through Rate (as a percentage) – a metric that measures the number of clicks advertisers receive on their ads per number of impressions.
  • Impressions – The no of times your ad is shown
  • Google Content Network – Display banner ads outside of Google
  • Rank/ Position – The position your ad is shown when a keyword is searched (a through 8 page 1)
  • DKI – Dynamic Keyword Insertion
  • ROAS – return on advertising spend
  • PLA – product listing ads (shopping ads)
  • Quality Score – A ranking Google gives your ad based on its CTR