As a company that hosts an annual conference for meeting and hospitality professionals, we're familiar with the power of the #hashtag when it comes to live events. This year, we'll be hosting Cvent CONNECT at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, June 12-16. Our event is just days away, but our hashtag (#cventCONNECT) has been active for quite a while. In fact, it has been for years. I 'll explain below. While our offices are buzzing in anticipation, we also want to make sure our attendees are just as excited, engaged, and active, on their social platforms. Are you using a social hashtag (or two?!) at your next event. If you’re wondering – How do I choose a hashtag? Or, how do I get buy-in from my attendees? – we’ve got your answers here. About choosing that hashtag:
Keep it simple
Keep your hashtag short, sweet, and to-the-point. This will allow users to relate to it, and type it themselves. For instance, our annual conference is called Cvent CONNECT, so, our social hashtag is: #CventCONNECT – and it stays the same from year to year.
Keep it relevant
Keeping with the example above, we wouldn’t want our conference’s hashtag to be #CventCONNECTeventmanagement or #CventCONNECTysonsCorner. Even though both of those are very relevant to our company (one of our products & our home city), they’re not apropos to our conference, so CONNECT attendees wouldn’t use them.
Do your research!
Type the hashtags you’re thinking about into the search bars for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – whichever social channels you use. This is especially important if you’re going to use your event’s hashtag to track metrics. Make sure your hashtag isn’t being used by competing groups, and isn’t anything you wouldn’t want associated with your event (i.e. something embarrassing). How to leverage your hashtag for attendee engagement:
Before the event
When you’re still pre-event, create some buzz around your hashtag. Use it to push messages about your event (keynote announcements, special sessions, entertainment!) on your social channels, and invite users to get in on the conversation.
At the event
Make sure your event’s hashtag is visible EVERYWHERE – on speaker slide decks, at networking events and in your mobile app. One thing attendees of Cvent CONNECT in 2016 really responded to was our social wall – which is a huge screen that projected their social posts that included our hashtags. The sociawall live feed is embedded within the app, making posting to the wall a snap for your attendees. You can also increase hashtag adoption and engagement with fun contests or incentives for those who use the hashtag to get branded swag.
After the event
Post-event, attendees still have the positive feels from your event, and want to share their experience. Encourage this! Invite your social channels to “tweet us your favorite memory from #yourevent.” Utilize all that priceless user-generated content! Hashtags make it easy to search content across platforms and re-use the content (with the proper permissions / credits) throughout the year to generate excitement for the next year’s event. That’s all there is to it! Have any tips you want to share?