I was speaking to Bill Boorman at #trulondon this year and just a few days later my friend Ane Howard asked me about social media best practice for event planners. Bill had said that social media is a great place to get events off the ground (and he should know) and as I was talking Ane through my thoughts, I realised that the most important thing an event planner needs where social media is concerned is a good hashtag for their event.
What is a hashtag?
A practice that is common on twitter but that has spread to other social media sites is the hashtag. Yo may have seen people include them in their posts. They are used to categorise status updates and follow this format #<topic>.
Here’s an example from Wikipedia:
#RealAle is my favourite type of #beer.
I use them to add sentiment to my tweets (#fail, #facepalm, #happydance), to discuss certain topics (#csr, #green, #socent), to participate in tweetchats (#blogchat, #IMCchat, #tweetdiner) to comment on TV shows I’m watching, and last but not least to discuss or share content related to events I’m attending or wish I was attending!
On twitter, you can actually click on a hashtag and see the latest tweets containing that hashtag.
So why is this the most important thing event planners need? Well for one thing, once you’ve chosen a hashtag you can start sharing content and tracking conversations around your event on twitter and it can also be used to tag videos, photos and blog posts on other sites.
But there’s more to it than that: You can find out where and with whom your event is resonating, you can display tweets using the hashtag during the event, monitor feedback on speakers and venue issues in real-time and see which relationships have been formed through your event be it online or in-person.
All in all, hashtags are a great way to maximise the returns of your event through social media. The earlier you assign one the better, because if you don’t someone else will. In fact, don’t just choose one and broadcast it - register it at whatthetrend.com and let me know how your hashtag is working for you!