4 rules to an effective event hashtag

TheVenueShop Blog - 2 February 2016 - four rules to effective event hasgtagsMost of the conferences and networking events you go to will have their own hashtag. You'll see event planners and marketers alike splashing the hashtag on all event communications leading up the event and on the event day itself. The hashtag has become so ubiquitous that it has now become odd not to have one.

The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organise content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. 

In the events world, hashtags help event attendees organise their online conversations – about panels, speakers, ideas and opinions – and stay connected virtually long after the event itself has ended. These online conversations have become an important part of the life cycle of an event.

As corporate event organisers look for new ways to engage their audiences and provide rich brand experiences, incorporating a hashtag is one of the simplest and most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. However, if done wrong and without proper consideration you could be heading towards a huge #fail with no one using it or worse, facing public humiliation. That's why it is so important to choose the right hashtag so that people actually use it. 

The four golden rules of an effective event hashtag

  • It's unique
  • Make it memorable
  • It makes sense
  • Keep it short

1. It’s unique

The purpose of the hashtag that’s associated with the event is to enable those at the event (and sometimes those who couldn’t make it in person) to connect with one another, share their thoughts, experiences and content, and continue to network after the event.

So if your hashtag is being used by another event or group, or is too broad, it muddies the conversation and can make it hard for your group to find each other.

The best event hashtags are those that are unique to the event at hand. If, say, your event is a travel event, you probably don’t want to choose a hashtag like #travel or #lovetotravel (too broad and not specific enough). You can easily cull unsuitable hashtags by conducting a quick and easy search on Twitter and Instagram to see what results are already there. Create a list of 3 - 5 possible hashtags that you'd like to use, run a search on them and decide from there which one to go with. If all fail, then start again! 

One thing to consider is dating your hashtag. You would need to decide whether you want it to be specific to that year's event, or whether you have an ongoing event and want to build traction behind the hashtag - #SCtech15 vs #SCTech.

2. Make it memorable

It would seem only reasonable that if you're displaying your hashtag on every piece of communication to promote the event, and throughout the venue on the event day, that audiences would remember your hashtag? Well, unfortunately this isn't the case. 

If you're organising a travel expo event in June of 2015 and the hashtag is #TravlXpoJn15, it is highly likely people won't remember it, misspell it or can't be bothered to go back and search for it. Was it #travelexpojune2015 #travelex15?

The best hashtags are the most memorable. They relate well to the event at hand (a travel event should probably have the word “travel” in it, for instance), and they stick in the brain either because they’re short and sweet, they make obvious sense, or they’re fun and cool.

A good example for this could be #TravelExpo15 (or whatever the name of the event is).

3. It’s intelligible

Looking back at the previous Travel Expo example, the hashtag - #TravlXpoJn15 - isn’t easy to read. When you see the letters you can partially understand what it is meant to say, but not being true words we wouldn't easily remember it. You'll also have to consider when in practice, upper case titles often get removed or people forget to add making your hashtag even harder to decipher - #travlxpojn15 (???). 

It's safer to use actual words than abbreviations unless they're common ones such an inc. for incorporated. In this instance, a better and more sensible hashtag would be #travelexpo2015. It might be a little long, but at least anyone who sees it – whether they’re at the event or they just stumble across it while browsing social media – will understand what the hashtag is all about at first glance. Additionally, if your event attendees are not sure what the official event hashtag is, using something like the above example means it could be easily guessed.

Other things to consider:

  • Spaces are not supported. Even if your hashtag contains multiple words, remember to group them all together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead (#TravelExpo). Uppercase letters will not alter your search results, so searching for #TravelExpo will yield the same results as #travelexpo.
  • Numbers are supported, so you can include dates to help identify your events. 
  • Only words and numbers are allowed so don't try to include punctuation marks, ampersands or any other special characters
  • Do keep in mind that the @ symbol does something completely different. Using @ before a person’s Twitter or Instagram handle will post to them directly. 

4. Keep it short and simple

Last but not least, you want your event hashtag to be short and sweet.

In this example, #travelexpojune2015 might be too long. It’s 19 characters long. If someone wanted to share a link, let’s say, while using your hashtag, they’d only have about 100 characters to write their message. And if they want to leave room for a retweet, they’re down to just about 80 characters. For a little context, the previous sentence was 87 characters long.

The shorter the hashtag, the more room your attendees will have to share their thoughts. So instead of #travelexpojune2015, you might want to shorten it to just #travelexpo – much shorter, and it has the added bonus of being useable after the month of the conference, in case you want to make it an annual event.

What's next? Encouraging interaction at your corporate event

Now that you have applied the four golden rules to an effective event hashtag, how will you promote your hashtag to get audiences using it? As mentioned previously, event organisers include the hashtag on their promotional materials and often the first speaker of the day will mention it during the opening speech/house rules. However, these are still quite passive approaches. How do you start the conversation and actually encourage people to post?

What if we said you could display a live social feed of all the posts tagged with your event hashtag onto a large screen for all your audience to see? Event Feed is Staging Connections social media wall which pulls in all posts from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that include the event hashtag. Event organisers have found it to significantly increase their audience engagement and social spread of the event.

 

ENQUIRE with us today and let's make your next corporate event or conference happen! You can also book this supplier via TheVenueShop today 

Like this article? Please share with your contacts.  

Follow us on social media:
Facebook | LinkedIn | Google+ | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

Let nothing stand in your way this IWD2016!
Research Conference 2016 Accommodation

Related Posts

 

Clarion Hotel on Canterbury

A huge success... and lunch was amazing!!

Clarion Hotel on Canterbury Thankyou for making our Planning Day a huge success. The team loved the venue and the lunch was amazing!! A very enjoyable day. I will definitely be recommending your venue to all my colleagues - the experience was fantastic!

Novotel Melbourne Glen Waverley

We all really enjoyed the conference, everything was perfect!

Novotel Melbourne Glen Waverley "Wanted to say thank you so much for the great service and your patience with all our changes throughout. We all really enjoyed the conference, everything was perfect! (Well maybe the coffee machine struggled to keep up with us, but overall, everything was great). The venue set up and lunch was great - the buffet really enjoyable, especially the variety of catering offered.

Fudge by Rich

Absolutely delicious, beautifully packaged...

Fudge by Rich As always, absolutely delicious with amazing feedback from all who tried the product! Beautifully packaged up for us, delivery process fast and reliable, and Nicole couldn't have been more helpful in turning around such a large order on such short notice ensuring we had everything needed for the trade show... Think I have a new favourite flavour too, the Rocky Road is to die for!!

Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach

What a professional events team...

Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach "The events team at Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach are truly professionals at what they do. The organisation in particular of the banquets team - always so helpful and ensure that our seminars run smoothly. The only minor suggestion that I would make is more labels to indicate the types salads and sandwiches that are on offer on lunch buffets."

Rydges Bankstown

Suited our brief perfectly... staff could not do enough for us!

Rydges Bankstown "Rydges Bankstown suited our brief perfectly: close to our sites, an abundance of parking and a great function room with natural lighting. The staff were very friendly and could not do enough for us, I am sure we will use this venue again."

VictorsFood

An absolute blast - can't wait to try another amazing VictorsFood experience!

VictorsFood “VictorsFood made our event a truly memorable one. Every one of our team members had an absolute blast making pizzas together with the fun and enthusiastic chefs… We can’t wait to try another one of VictorsFoods' amazing experiences!”

Mantra Bell City

I really appreciated the attention to detail & communication...

Mantra Bell City "Whilst I do not attend these meetings to see the room in person, I certainly had no complaints from any of my management team (no news good news!) The communication from the event co-ordinator in particular was excellent prior to our meeting. It was organised at short notice and she showed such high attention to detail which I really appreciated."

Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne

Really good quality & great value... best external meeting venue in a while!

Rendezvous Grand Hotel Melbourne "The room was appropriately presented, with everything we had requested already in place. Morning tea and lunch were more than ample, and was 'yummy'! Really good quality and great value for money. One of the managers even said it’s been the best external meeting venue he’s been to in a while."

Dockside

The venue, as well as the staff, location & atmosphere was second to none!

Dockside "We held our Staff Christmas party at Dockside this year - the venue, as well as the staff, location & atmosphere was second to none. From the moment I booked the venue, the service was fantastic. The event organiser kept in contact throughout the year, reminding when things needed to be done. Everything went smoothly on the night of the party, the food was amazing, the staff were excellent & the event manager on the night bent over backwards to help with...

Yarra Valley Estate

Excellent food, fantastic spaces to relax & network, country hospitality - we'll definitely be back again!

Yarra Valley Estate Our team really enjoyed the time spent at Yarra Valley Conference Centre. The staff were friendly and accommodating, the food was excellent and the spaces for the group to relax and network after a hard day's conferencing were fantastic and very well utilised!