Social media hashtags – your audience knows and loves them, and you should be using them for your events, if you’re not already. They’re a great branding tool for your events, and a great discovery tool for your audience. Originating on Twitter, hashtags have become nearly ubiquitous across social media platforms (the stand-out exception is LinkedIn). They’re a great way to gain new social media followers and to boost the presence of your brand. If you’re not already using them for your events, we’re going to bring you up to speed on the hows and whys of developing your own hashtag.
Who should use hashtags?
Hashtags aren’t reserved for one or two specific industries or even for just large B2C businesses. If you’re a representative of a college, a recruiter for a corporation or even a small business owner, hashtags are definitely for you.
Because of their popularity, it stands to reason that your target audience, regardless of your industry, uses hashtags on social media in some way. They could use them in their own posts, or they could use them as a search function to learn why the hashtag exists – and that’s important for the discovery and success of your event.
Hashtag development 101
First, don’t panic. We’re going to teach you the best practices for hashtag development. Creating the right hashtag for your event is crucial. Follow these 5 best practices to get on the road to hashtag genius.
Know your audience (and where they gather online)
Consider the basic demographics for your target audience. What generation are they a part of and which social media outlets do they use? According to a chart shared by Digital Branding Institute, the most common age range that recognize and use hashtags is between 18 and 44 years of age. The chart is also broken down by social media site. For instance, 45% of people between 18 and 24 years old who are on Snapchat use hashtags; and 26% of people between 25 and 34 years old who are on Pinterest and Instagram use hashtags.
Tie the hashtag into your event
You need to invest some time creating potential hashtags. All of your ideas should have a direct tie-in to your event. Creative block? No problem. Tools like hashtagify.me can help you get started. Just remember to create several versions of your hashtag so that you can refine your ideas and ultimately settle on the right hashtag.
Keep it short & sweet
Certain social media sites only allow a certain number of characters. That’s one of the reasons why it is important to keep your hashtag short and sweet. Another important point to support keeping it short and sweet is in its power to be memorable. If you want your audience to use your hashtag, they have to be able to remember it.
Your hashtag should be unique
Before you settle on a hashtag, you should search social media sites for it. Is there anyone else using it? If it is something that’s been recently used, you should use another hashtag. The last thing you want is to create social buzz for someone else’s event. Your hashtag should describe your event and be unique – a tall order, but one that many event marketers have pulled off.
Speaking of searching social media for your hashtag, you should also take a good, long look at it to make sure that it can’t be misread in an inappropriate way. Hubspot created a post that highlights how hashtags can go wrong; make sure yours doesn’t!
Get the online party started by using your hashtag
Once you’ve settled on the perfect hashtag, it’s time to start using it. There are opportunities for promotion before, during and after your event:
Before your event, start the social buzz…the earlier, the better. Use it on all of your social media accounts, on event invitations, and anything else digital or in print that you will use to promote your event. This, of course, starts the social buzz, and it also introduces your audience to the hashtag so that they can begin searching for it (and using it).
During your event, get on social media and use the hashtag, creating a live digital feed for your audience and others to follow. You can ask your guests to talk about their experience on social media while it is happening by using the hashtag.
After the event, you can use the hashtag to review everything that was posted with it. You can use it to get or stay connected with your audience. You’ll be able to find pictures and videos of your event, and might choose to curate them using a tool like Storify. You can also use it to send out digital thank you posts.
Hashtags don’t have to be scary! In fact, they can (and should!) be your best friend when it comes to promoting your events. Remember, keep it short, make it unique to your event, and use it in your event content and other materials.