Monday, 26 October 2009

Using Twitter Hashtags to Promote Your Event

For those of you that use Twitter you will probably have seen the use of hashtags in tweets which precede certain subjects such as #ballonboy or #googlewave. These hashtags allow one constant stream of conversation to be grouped together and easily followed by Twitter users. Hashtags don’t only have to be used for news topics; they can also be a fantastic tool to promote your events.

It’s very simple to do, even for complete social networking novices. The first thing that you need to do is create your hashtag. The main rules with hashtags are to keep them short and memorable. For example, if you have an event called ‘London Publishing Conference’ then an example of a hashtag would be #LdnPubCon. You can call your hashtag
whatever you like although you should always check that nobody else is using it, (this can be done by using Twitter Search), and should make sense in a sentence. You don’t need to register the hashtag and it can be used straight away in all of your event tweets. An example of using your event hashtag within a tweet would be;

Here are some of the great benefits to using hashtags when promoting your event through social networking.

Makes an event easy to follow

In the build up to your event, you will probably have many attendees who would like to be kept up to date with any announcements about the event. Using a hashtag in your event tweets means you will instantly alert anybody following the trend to your announcement, meaning they will always be up to date.

Build a community for your event

It is not only you that can use the hashtag when talking about your event. If you encourage your attendees to do the same thing, people can instantly see who else is talking about the event and can hopefully start a buzz. Before you know it you could have a whole community talking to each other in the build up to your event.

Starting conversations

Once your community starts to grow you can then start having conversations about the event using the event hashtag. You could post a tweet such as ‘For all attending #globalmediaday who would you like to see present the keynote? People can then respond to your question and by including the hashtag in their reply means that everybody else will be able to see their answers as well.

This doesn’t have to be limited to before the event, as many companies are also using the hashtags during an event. This allows attendees to give their opinions about your event in real time. Some events even use a screen on the stage so people can tweet their opinions during a conference for the whole audience to see, all being tracked through the hashtag!

Get a bigger audience for your event

It goes without saying that the more people that use your hashtag when talking about your event, the more people will see it and become interested in it. This is why it can be a great marketing tool. If enough people are talking about your event you can become one of Twitters ‘Top Trends’ meaning your event will show up on the Twitter homepage as one of the hottest topics.

Tracking your Hashtag

For the easiest way to track who is using your hashtag within their tweets, use a desktop application like TweetDeck or Seesmic (both are free to use).

So now go forward and use your event hashtag. Remember, you can use your hashtag across all social media channels including your blog and email, this will allow all of your attendees to recognise the hashtag as part of your event branding.

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