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Event marketing | 7 February 2014

Do Conferences Really Need Hashtags?

Stephanie Brenner
Well, the answer is heck YES! Creating a conference hashtag is one of the best ways to promote your event. In a world that is now dictated by tweets and Instagram posts, promoting your conference with traditional marketing initiatives just won’t make the cut. If you’re not sure where to start, here is a short guide to how and why to create a conference hashtag.

What is a hashtag?

“The pound sign” has become a way of life in the digital world. The#” symbol allows you to create a conversation around a theme, event, or topic.

Often event organizers will use a conference hashtag as a part of their overall event branding. For example, the conference hashtag will be included on the event website, and on printed marketing materials to remind attendees to use the official conference hashtag when tweeting about the event.

How do I choose a conference hashtag?

There are three key elements to consider when choosing your conference hashtag. The idea is to create a relevant, memorable, and concise representation of your event.

Remember that Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters or less. That means that lengthy conference hashtags will decrease the amount of characters attendees can use when tweeting. If your hashtag is too long, your event attendees may choose not to include your conference hashtag because they find it restricts what they can say about your event.

Put your conference hashtag in action

Your hashtag means nothing if it is not actively used. Promoting your event hashtag is a key success factor; have it everywhere and publicize as early as possible. Get attendees engaging with the event and each other.

It’s a good idea to send email blasts reminding attendees to use your conference hashtag, and as we said, include it on marketing materials and on your event website. During the event, encourage high-profile keynote speakers to tweet using your hashtag and ask them to mention it at the beginning of their speech as a reminder to the audience.

Finding the real value of conference hashtags

Hashtags are searchable and clickable, which allows users to track upcoming trends, discover and spread discussions about your event, and share content with attendees. If used properly, there is a plethora of information to be gained.

Using event hashtags means that event organizers will be able to see every tweet in one place, it also means that event attendees will be able to follow the discussion by searching for the event hashtag on twitter.

Creating and using a conference hashtag also means that your event has the opportunity to reach new audiences. If you can create an event hashtags that trends on Twitter, you’ll be able to reach audiences far larger than your event attendees. That means that in future years of your event, you’ll be able to increase ticket sales thanks to improved brand awareness.

In the image below, we see that the Cannes Lions Festival (an event honoring the most creative ads of the year) is trending on Twitter.

conference hashtag example

Hashtags across networks

The power and ubiquity of the hashtag has grown and is now used across multiple platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The platform you choose dictates its power. For some social media channels, the effectiveness is questionable, for others the more the merrier. It is up to you as an organizer to harness its full potential!

Read about all 30 major social media networks and choose the best on for your event.

That’s a wrap!

To learn event more about event hashtags, download our free white paper that will teach you how to effectively use conference or event hashtags to better market and manage your next event. Click the button below to download the white paper now.

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