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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 use Twitter to promote your event

Social networks are a big part of today’s life. We’ve all heard that “if you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist”. We have discovered the power of Snapchat and Instagram and how to use them to rock our events. We talked about email marketing. Today it’s time for Twitter.

According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2017, there were over 325 MM active users on Twitter.  So I think it’s safe to say that Twitter can be remarkably useful when planning to market your events.

Twitter Blog

But keep in mind that you must be short (there are the 140 280 characters and 140 seconds limits) and fast on Twitter, so adapt your message accordingly.

Here are some ideas that can be used on Twitter to increase visibility for your event :

 

Don’t forget to be human

Social media platforms were created for the human to human interaction, so try using a less formal tone of voice. Be proactive and engage with your followers in dialogues.  If someone asks you something simply answer the question. If you see something that you like let the world know (by pressing the little red ♡ or retweeting the post).

 

Use a proper  #hashtag

A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content (Wikipedia). It brings together all the posts that have a certain #, making the search easier. We all know how important hashtags are, especially on Twitter. So it’s important to select a relevant # before you start to communicate your event. But be careful because one # can be used for many purposes (you can’t claim one just for yourself) so before launching it online verify it isn’t already in use.

 

Pictures speak

It seems that, like all social platforms, Twitter too favors visual posts. So, whenever possible, include photos in your posts. Reports from Buffer claim that posts that include pictures receive 150% more retweets and are more likely to generate engagement. Of course, “just death and taxes” are certain in life, so you should test to see what works best for your particular case. But if you don’t have the time to test…go visual.

source: Buffer.com

source: Buffer.com





















Timing is important

Although, as mentioned before, is very important to be present, there will be moments where it will be impossible for you to be online. We all know it’s better to post when your followers are more likely to be active. Apps like HootSuite and Buffer work wonders in these situations. And they also save you precious time.

 

Everyone should be engaged

Maybe you are the mastermind behind the event, but there are many people involved in it. Colleagues, caterers, sponsors, performers etc…ensure that everyone is involved in your Twitter talks and that they all are using your hashtag. It helps you to create buzz and also and shows that you all are just one big team.

 

Use opinion polls

A great way to create engagement and show your followers that you care more than just their money is to create polls. See what they want and implement it into your event. Maybe you can’t use a poll to select the location or the main artists, but there are aspects that can be decided with the help of your followers. And this is a great way to show them that their voice counts.

 

Don’t stop

Just because your event started it doesn’t mean that you should stop interacting with your twitter fans. Use live tweets from the event and live video to keep your followers up to date. Not all of your followers were able to make it to the event, but they all want to hear from you; otherwise, they could just stop following you.

No matter what your event is, one day conference or a 5 days festival, its superpower is bringing people together; and for this to happen people should first hear about it. Luckily we live in a time when it takes just a few seconds for your message to travel from U.K to Australia (200 years ago it would have taken 100 days for it to get there). Social media networks are the most powerful marketing tools of modern days, it would be a mistake to ignore them.

Top 3 most retweeted Twitter posts

update: January 2018

To better understand the power of Twitter we should take a quick look at the numbers of the most retweeted posts.

#1. On the 5th of January Yusaku Maezawa, the CEO of Zozotown posted a tweet announcing that is willing to donate almost 1M $ to the first 100 users that follow him and share that tweet. 5 days later and he has over 5.4 M retweets.

print screen of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa tweet that gathered over 4.5M

source: Twitter

#2. In 2017 a Nevada teenager challenged Wendy’s to a bet: 18M retweets for 1 year of free nuggets. So far he got “just” 3.6M retweets

#3. THAT picture from 2014’s Oscars!

print screen of Ellen DeGeneres's tweet from the Oscars

source: Twitter

 

Yes, these are definitely exceptions, but a great way of showing the true power of Twitter (and social media as a whole). You will probably never make it to this Top3, but a powerful message will make it to your current and future attendees.