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2nd November 2016

A Quick Guide to Using Hashtags at Your Event

Event hashtags are a fantastic tool for centralising discussions and encouraging interaction between delegates as well as consistent feedback throughout the day. For the uninitiated, it can be difficult to navigate hashtags, how to use them, and how to encourage others to add it to their online status updates. This guide will give you a quick overview to help you create effective hashtags and find out what to do next.

Effective Event Hashtags

Event hashtags need to have a number of features for people to use them. They have to be:

  • Short – remember that Twitter only allows 140 characters, so your hashtag should not eat into that too much, otherwise your delegates won’t be able to make their views known
  • Unique – you don’t want a lot of irrelevant noise in your hashtag because it’s too similar or identical to another commonly used tag
  • Clear – people need to be able to remember it easily and know what it’s about straight away; turning Digital Summit 2016 into #dgsm16 may make it short and unique, but it makes it harder to remember and use
  • Positive – look at your hashtag critically and see whether it can be misread or misinterpreted in any way, the biggest hashtag gaffes clearly missed this step

Choosing your event hashtag is relatively simple when you remember these requirements.

Encouraging People to Use It

Once you’ve created your hashtag, it’s time to let people know what it is and encourage them to use it – you should do that through both digital channels and physical signposting throughout the event.

Before the event, start using the hashtag and encourage others to do so. You can start using it when referring to the event on social channels and include it in all promotional materials, including emails, banner ads, invitations, flyers, and business cards.

Once the event has begun, use the hashtag to create conversations. Your venue should tweet about events and use the hashtag to let people know what’s going on in real time, while signs and banners around the event should remind delegates about the hashtag – by the time they arrive at the event, they should have already been exposed to the hashtag at least 2-3 times in various communications.

Stimulating conversion is relatively straight forward – you can retweet items that use the hashtag and respond to them. Asking speakers to use the hashtag will give it a larger platform and promote yet more discussion. It’s important for somebody to monitor the hashtag to ensure that you’re seen as responsive and proactive online during the event.

After the event, you can gain feedback and stay connected by looking through posts using the hashtag and like posts that are positive, and respond to posts that require some input. You can even use these tweets to show that the event was successful and display the high points without having to ask for further testimonials and reviews.

Implementing an event hashtag does add another level of work to your promotional activities, but can significantly cut down the amount of time spent on collating event data and sentiments afterwards. 

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Karen Davies
United Nations
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