This post by Duncan Rice is an entry to our $4,000 Blogging Contest. Duncan is a Digital Marketing Executive from Crawley in the UK. When not helping clients with their social media questions at work, he spends his free time doing social media for a local cat re-homing charity.
Connecting with influencers, peers (or even your competition) is an important part of any marketing plan. Social media allows us to do this like never before. Conferences and events give you the perfect platform to combine all your network efforts.
Organizers use the collaborative nature of the hashtag to help their attendees connect, find new people or companies, join a conversation or maybe just help to promote the event to their followers. Here is a rough guide to using hashtags at events, and a few good reasons to make use of those that are on offer.
What shall we call it?
The Content Marketing Show came to London for the second time on the 8th November and, like most events, came with a ‘ready to use’ hashtag to promote the event #contentmarketingshow. One of the first things the event organizers did was to tell us the hashtag that they had chosen, and how it was a little long!
Wouldn’t it have been easier to choose #cms maybe? It would have, but then what does that mean to those who aren’t actually there – content marketing show or content management system or can mike sing? The choice of a long-tail tag ensures that the message is clear and concise, we all know exactly what it means without having to look it up.
What was it all about?
If the choice of hashtag didn’t tell you what you needed to know, and in this example it pretty much does, how could you find out what was going on?
One of the easiest ways to do this is to find out what other topics people were tweeting about in relation to the main event.
The image below shows how one of the ‘in-event’ tags was used in relation to the main one. The tag #royalcontent was used in a presentation about that old adage “Content is King” and the presentation by the developers of the combined gov.uk website also clearly had attendees paying attention.
Using the related hashtag tool on Hashtagify shows that two of the other tags most related to the Content Marketing Show were content and seo. No big surprise to many when you realize that the future of SEO is mastering the content you produce!
Should I bother using event hashtags?
Take a look at the tweet below for that answer
A retweeted, retweet of a retweet about one of the presentations which was released in slide form after the event… complete with hashtag just so you know exactly what it’s all about.
If you happened to miss the line-up for the event or weren’t sure who might have something important to say, the influencer report on hashtagify.me will give you a good idea.
Now, I was at the show, and yet the top influencer report even surprised me.
Having the Press Association related to your hashtag is a very important thing to know. Even if you missed the fact at the time, the knowledge that someone like this is paying attention to your event could be an invaluable asset.
Do I just use it on the day?
I’d take a look at the examples above again. Tweeting links to presentation slides and finding the influential accounts who took notice of your event are a good reason to continue using the tag to summarize and inform those who weren’t there or those who are looking for a little bit more information because they were too busy eating the free pick-n-mix sweets!
The popularity tool gives you a good example of how the #contentmarketingshow hashtag was used in the run up to the event too. That little bump 4 weeks before the event ties in nicely with the release of tickets, while a nice steady build up in the run up to the day shows that some of the pre-event workshops and peoples excitement at their upcoming day in the big city, saw the tag used more and more as the day approached.
Is there anything in it for me?
I knew you’d ask that, and the answer is probably yes.
The fact that you’re sitting in the same room with a bunch of strangers you’ve never met can be unsettling for some. It’s a strange feeling having a conversation online with a stranger in the same room too! But the fact that you’re all there because you have something in common, means that finding new connections is a lot easier when you’re sharing a hashtag – handing out business cards in the hallway just doesn’t cut it anymore.
You’ll be able to find new people to follow, some might even follow you. You’ll be able to keep track of that cool tool that someone talked about, learn about the company that provided that really good service you needed, follow that person who had all those good ideas or maybe even get a new job – oh, there were some savvy HR people using that tag to put a few job adverts in front of the right audience too!
So you’re an event hashtag fan then?
I’d have to say that the evidence points to it being a positive use of your time.
As an event organizer the promotional benefits are obvious, get people talking about your show in a way that you can easily monitor and engage with. Give them the chance to access the information they missed… or the free sweets (I may have already mentioned them).
If you’re an attendee at an event you should certainly follow the related hashtag even if you don’t actively take part. There might be a lot more going on than just what you’re watching on the stage in front of you – even more so for multi venue / room conferences.