It’s safe to say that conferences and other live events are where it’s at if you want to make connections in your industry and establish your brand’s presence. They’re a great way to get to know new people that can later become friends or even clients. Plus, conferences are a fantastic way to learn and experience tremendous personal growth.
But there’s one key element of live events that completely change the experience: hashtags. Yes, hashtags! They have made it easy for event goers (and those who wish they were attending) to stay connected via social media. If you’re there, you can use the hashtag to share your experience. And if you’re not, it’s an easy way to stay updated so you don’t start feeling FOMO.
By using an event hashtag, you’re able to start making connections before an event even begins, while it’s going on, and long after it has ended. But what exactly makes them so powerful? Well, I’ve got the data to show you just how effective they can be!
Whether you’re gearing up to host a live event of your own or you’re planning to attend one, you definitely want to use a hashtag when sharing about it on social media. One of the top reasons for doing this is because it helps to foster conversations between those who are interested in the event. They’re able to find other people who are going or merely discover like-minded individuals they can strike up a conversation with.
But how much conversation is actually taking place around an event’s hashtag? Well, I asked Brand24 to share some data with me regarding Social Media Marketing World’s conference hashtag, #SMMW19. In the above image, you can see mentions using the hashtag spike tremendously once the event’s date gets closer and closer.
In the above data, you see just how much traction the hashtag is getting across social media. Its estimated reach is an impressive 32,045,619. And there are 17,661 social media comments that are talking about the event and using the hashtag. This is an amazing amount of exposure for just one event. All the more reason to use an event hashtag yourself!
Another handy thing about using an event hashtag is that it brings all of the posts from the event together in one place. You can easily scroll through during the event or afterwards to see what people were sharing, discover attendee interactions, and find photos and videos. It helps to keep the fun going long after the party is over.
Now that you have your event hashtag all picked out, you need it to gain traction. You have to encourage people to use it before, during, and after the event. Here are some tips to help you do that!
When you have a big event coming up, you’ll obviously be doing a lot of promotion for it on social media. When you’re sharing all of your promo, include your event hashtag so people become aware of it. They’ll quickly learn there’s an official hashtag they should use on all of their posts. And then, it encourages those interested in attending to use the hashtag when posting about it online.
You’ll also want to encourage speakers to use your event hashtag when doing promotion. Just like this data from Brand24 shows, it pays off when you have other big names using your hashtag. It expands its reach and prompts others to take notice. Above, you’ll see the top influencers who have been posting about #SMMW19.
As the hashtag begins to gain traction, you’ll want to make sure you’re monitoring it. When people are using it, there’s a good chance they’re asking questions you can chime in and answer. They may be sharing experiences or excitement, which you’ll want to be part of!
Make a commitment to checking the hashtag on a daily basis. Engage with those using it and start fostering relationships now. Social media is meant to be social, after all! And you don’t want to ignore all of the amazing conversations taking place around your event.
Once attendees have registered, direct them to a thank you page with all the important information they need to know before the event. Share your social media profiles so they can follow along if they aren’t already. And make sure you tell them what your event hashtag is and encourage them to start using it now.
At your event, one great way to encourage people to share social media content with the hashtag is to display posts in real-time. It prompts them to share, which we can sometimes forget to do when we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of a live event. Plus, people love seeing their name and their thoughts popping up on one of those displays. It’s fun! And it’s a great way for them to increase their following as well.
Just because your event comes to an end, it doesn’t mean the conversation has to die off. Continue to check in on the event hashtag afterwards to see what people are saying about their experience. Thank them for coming, ask about their favorite part of the event, etc. It shows you genuinely care about your community, plus it’ll leave them wanting to come back again next year!