Keep your event fresh, interesting, and interactive with social media hashtags. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all popular social media platforms that offer hashtag capability. Your guests will probably already be using these mobile apps during your event, so make it work in your favor!
What is a #hashtag?
If you have been on Twitter (or other forms of social media), you may have seen a “hashtag.” To put it simply, a hashtag is a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #LOST (or #Lost or #lost, because it’s not case-sensitive), you’ll get a list of tweets related to the TV show. What you won’t get are tweets that say “I lost my wallet yesterday” because “lost” isn’t preceded by the hash tag.
Tips for creating a hashtag for your conference
1) Don’t limit it to a short shelf life
The hashtag you decide on for your company’s event will most likely be useful at future events. Tacking on an event-specific date or location will limit the tag’s use, and attendees might not continue to use the hashtag on relevant posts after the event. Keep it simple and timeless to reduce future work and increase the impact of the hashtag!
2) Keep it brief
A tweet is limited to 140 characters, so try to keep your hashtag short, sweet, and to the point. A short hashtag leaves more room for your attendees to add their unique input.
3) Decide if your event needs its own tag
Does your company already have its own hashtag that is well-utilized by customers or clients? Consider sticking to your original tag to keep things simple and streamlined.
4) Do your research
Make sure you come up with a hashtag that another company or corporation isn’t already using. This way you can avoid confusion and irrelevant tweets popping up in your company’s feed.
(these tips were adopted from BizBash)
What to do with those #hashtags?
1. Put Them Where Guests Snap Pics
If your event has an oversize prop, eye-catching decor piece, or some other feature guests are likely to want to photograph, that element is a smart place for a hashtag – and it’s bound to make its way online throughout the night. For instance, a Los Angeles event for British Airways and Variety saw hashtags splashed in the front windshields of traditional British black cars.
2. Place Them Where Guests Can’t Miss Them
Hashtags printed on items that guests hold in their hands throughout the course of an event – say, a fan giveaway at a promotion, or a table card for a seated meal – cannot be easily ignored or forgotten. At Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Oscar luncheon in Beverly Hills, hashtags and handles decked seating cards for easy reference.
3. Add Them to Activities
When events offer beauty and grooming treatments, guests are likely to feels compelled to share their post-experience transformation, whether it’s a new hair look or a french manicure. At HBO’s Luxury Lounge during the Emmys in Los Angeles, mats under mani stations encouraged social snaps for guests receiving Marc Jacobs Beauty manicures.
4. Use Them to Encourage Interaction
Hashtags that encourage interaction on site through gamification or another kind of activity are sure to facilitate broad interaction online. At Target’s Feed U.S.A. event, menus encouraged guests to interact and mingle with tablemates through social media prompts on menus.
5. Create Subliminal Reminders
Sometimes, it’s not the biggest message that makes an impact, but the subtle and cleverly rendered one that gets guests’ attention. For a look that was well integrated with the venue’s existing decor, Pandora launched a new jewelry collection in Los Angeles and emblazoned the Mondrian hotel’s bold oversize planters with hashtags.
6. Put Them Where Guests Are Likely to Linger
Hashtags get noticed in places where guests spend much of their time on event day – and where they have physical space and incentive to hang out. Certainly, a photo activation is a compelling incentive: Evian’s photo activation at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami put a hashtag right above the action, where it was sure to make its way online.
7. Offer Rewards for Using Them
Turning tweeting into a competition drives major social media engagement – not to mention huge buzz at the event. During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, prompts directed guests to use a tweet-operated Polaroid vending machine at the Ocean Drive Sun Covered Pool Party.
8. Pick a Medium That Gets Them Noticed
Hashtags printed on ordinary signage might get overlooked as guests’ eyes glaze over to unremarkable displays. But employ a surprising medium to communicate the message and it’s sure to get noticed – and photographed for social media. For example, Sonos used lipstick to playfully jot its event hashtag on bathroom mirrors.
9. Make Them Public – In a Big Way
Sure, promoting hashtags within the boundaries of an event can get guests interacting. But put them outside the event’s official walls and you’re more likely to capture a bigger crowd. At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a 3-D projection of tweets using the official event hashtag appeared on a 35- by 64-foot billboard. The digital activation, created by Incredible Machines, ran at night, while during the day the billboard showed a static image of the hashtag printed on canvas. Similarly, AOL placed its hashtag on a giant billboard outside the venue of its upfront event during Advertising Week in New York.
10. Supply the Technology
Every guest is likely carrying a smartphone in his or her pocket. But making social sharing as easy for guests as possible can only further encourage the behavior – so try printing hashtags right alongside displays of smartphones or other devices. At Samsung’s tent at the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, attendees ordered free frozen yogurt and designed T-shirts from devices at stations emblazoned with the activation’s hashtag.
11. Make It Edible
Putting hashtags on food isn’t just a tasty idea – it’s Instagram bait to boot. An event invitation to the Time Warner Cable Studios pop-up in New York before the Super Bowl came with a hashtag printed right on top of a cake.
12. Make Them Selfie-Friendly
It’s no secret that guests want to photograph themselves – and their friends – for their social media profiles. So if you put your message right in their field of view, you’ll capture their attention – and social media impressions. At Prive Salon in Los Angeles for the Colgate Optic White beauty bar ahead of the Golden Globes, handles and hashtags decked mirrors.