Ever wonder what event attendees are thinking? Wish you could get instant feedback? Want to start a real time conversation with attendees during your event? Well you can if you master the hashtag, aka # (formerly known as the pound sign to anyone born before the 90s). Don’t know what a hashtag is? Click here. For many years large events have used hashtags (#) for their events and now smaller event producers are also using this technology for event marketing. Some of the larger events using hashtags well are the Oscars, Super Bowl, and Olympics.
Hashtags can now be found on almost every type of social media. They don’t work on LinkedIn (yet) but I’ve seen people try to use them there as well. Odds are your event attendees are using hashtags so it is time to jump on the bandwagon and add this tool to your event marketing arsenal.
It is best to include your hashtag in all your promotions, press releases, website, and advertising. Your goal is to make it easy for your event attendees to find your hashtag and interact. A good hashtag will be short, unique, easy to remember, and of course connect people to your event. You need to promote your hashtag well before your event so everyone knows it exists. You also need to promote the hashtag at your event. A tattoo on your forehead will work, but maybe you could try something a little more subtle like plastering it everywhere you can at your venue and on your marketing materials.
I must confess I had a hashtag failure last week. I’m a volunteer on a marketing committee for my Rotary Club’s annual Mardi Gras fundraiser. About a week before the event we started using the hashtag. I added it to the press release and labeled it on the back of the press passes. If anyone gets a hashtag it is going to be the savvy media folks that received our press packets…wrong! It didn’t work at all! Rotary Club members failed to catch the concept. Our vendors and the press that showed up also didn’t realize there was an official event hashtag. We blew it by getting in the game too late and not playing through. The good news is we will do better next time.
We learned that it is important to use the hashtag well before the event and it needs to build engagement. Next year we will also be proactive and thank people for using the hashtag. We will invite them to join and continue the conversation about the event. During the event we will join in and create conversations using the hashtag. This should be a lot of fun because it is a wine and food tasting event.
Down the road I’ll post about how to manage your hashtag during the event and what to do once the event is over. In the meantime please comment on event hashtags you’ve seen used and if they were successful. I want to explore this concept more so I’d appreciate any feedback from #EventProfs #DoingItRight out there.