Free Webinar: The Art & Science of Hashtags

Upcoming_webinar_-_tintup___hashtagify 

We are partnering with the social specialists at TINT to host a live webinar and teach you some tricks to improve your hashtag marketing!

Hashtags can be conquered and this webinar is all about showing you how.

Hosted by Hashtagify.me founder, Dan Mazzini and Jose Gallegos, Community Marketing Lead at TINT, you will get the inside scoop on the strategy behind hashtags. Not only that but this webinar will be full to the brim with useful hints and tips to help you become a hashtag pro.

Interested? Sign up here!

While we’re on the topic of webinars, did you catch the last one we did?

We partnered with BuzzSumo and discussed how to use hashtags for content marketing! You can watch it here.

 

Hashtags Stories Of 2013: The #SFBatKid Rises

This post by Katie Williams is an entry to our $4,000 Blogging Contest. Katie serves as the International Marketing Manager of eFaqt, an education-tech startup in Amsterdam. She uses Hashtagify to analyze trending hashtags, and evaluate the success of various marketing campaigns.

This November the Make-A-Wish Foundation, along with Clever Girls Collective, and the city of San Francisco teamed up to grant the wish of 5-year-old leukemia survivor Miles Scott. His wish: to become Batkid for a day. Thanks to Hashtagify, we can take a deeper look into the rise of the #SFBatKid hashtag, and remember some of the highlights of Miles’s special day in San Francisco.

Leading up to the event: PR Best Practices from Clever Girls Collective

About two weeks before #SFBatKid became a worldwide sensation, Clever Girls Collective Founder Stefania Pomponi contacted the Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation. She’d read in a blog about Miles’s wish, and decided to reach out and offer PR support. She knew that Miles’s story had the potential to go viral because it was inspiring and could really involve the entire city of San Francisco.

Clever Girls Collective then immediately began creating a social media plan, which including securing the Twitter handles of @SFWish and @PenguinSF, and monitoring all of their social media activity.

As the team wrote in a CNBC blog post

People respond to significant stories via social media, whether you want them to or not, and whether you participate or not. Goal one is a story worth telling. The second goal is to do everything possible to steer the conversation and make it easy for people to contribute to your narrative.

The Clever Girls Team knew the importance of making information online accessible, and easy to understand. They immediately secured a Facebook page, and a blog.

They also stress the importance of scripting the social media component of an event. They used Batkid’s itinerary to plan a Twitter script using key points, photos, hashtags, and relevant details. By planning the social media script in advance, your team can save valueable energy on the day-of.

Clever Girls also fully staffed Batkid’s special day. They had two teams of about a dozen people each. The first team actually traveled with Miles, and reported on the on-the-moment happenings. The second team pushed scripted Tweets to the #SFBatKid hashtag, tweeted from personal accounts, and responded to high profile tweets regarding the event. According to the Clever Girls Collective, coordination and thorough planning are really the keys to starting a viral trend.1

The Day Of: Miles Gets His Wish and the World Cheers On

 

#SFBatKid became so popular that Miles even received a shout out from President Obama, which received over 7,000 retweets, and over 4,000 favorites.

obama-sfkid

#SFBatKid Hashtagify Analysis

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into #SFBatKid from a marketing perspective using Hashtagify’s various features.

Related Hashtags

Using Hashtagify’s “Related Hashtags” feature, one can see that due to the hyper-local nature of this story, many related hashtags were also San Francisco specific, such as #SF, #SFGiant, and #BayArea. It’s always important to check related hashtags so that you can increase the influence of your tweet. By adding on some additional related hashtags, your reach will be greater.

sfbatkid-hashtagify

Usage Patterns

Usage patterns is a great feature on Hashtagify that allows you to take a deeper look into how a particular hashtag is trending over time. For #SFBatKid, you’ll see that this hashtag really grew in popularity around the timing of the event, and then tapered off. You’ll find similar usage patterns for news topics that peak during the week of the event, and then dip down again.

sfbatkit-trend

In-Depth Intelligence

Using Hashtagify’s Premium version CyBranding Hashtag Intelligence you can dig even deeper into the analysis of the hashtag, for example getting a detailed analysis of the top 50 influencers

sfbatkid-top-influencers

Totally trending!

Using Hashtagify’s Top Influencers feature, we can see that the top influencers for #SFBatKid are news networks, and major blogs such as Time, and The Huffington Post. This is when you know that your hashtag has really sky-rocketed to virality. So, what have we learned from #SFBatKid?

Social Media Tips From Clever Girls Collective

In the end, these are the tips we can learn from the #SFBatKid campaign:

  1. Scour blogs and RSS feeds daily for new happenings. Remember, the Clever Girls Collective found Miles’ story on a random blog, and turned it into something big!
  2. Social good and other inspiring topics have a great potential to go viral.
  3. Planning, executing, and tracking your campaign is essential for success.
  4. Hashtagify’s multitudinous resources can give you invaluable insights on your hashtag, monitoring your campaigns, and your campaigns’ success.

1 http://www.cnbc.com/id/101207123

Big Ten football network: Who is the winner on Twitter?

This post by Randy Olson is an entry to our $4,000 Blogging Contest. Randy is a third-year Computer Science & Engineering Ph.D. student at Michigan State University working in Dr. Chris Adami’s research lab.

Big Ten football is also Big on Twitter. The season is closing today, so this is a good time to draw some conclusions.

Let’s start from the big picture of all the hashtags related to the Big Ten. Here’s a handy visualization I created from the hashtags data from Hashtagify.me.

Big Ten Twitter Hashtag Network Big Ten Twitter Hashtag Network
Click on the image to go to an interactive version of the network

Hashtagify.me tells us which hashtags are related – it does so by checking when the same two hashtags are mentioned together several times. It’s no surprise why #Spartans and #Buckeyes are so closely linked this year: The Michigan State vs. Ohio State Big Ten championship game rocked the football nation when the Spartans knocked the Buckeyes out of contention for the national championship game.

But what I found especially interesting (and puzzling!) here is that despite the fact that Northwestern University, Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Iowa have been a part of the Big Ten for over 100 years, their sports teams aren’t very connected with the other Big Ten sports teams on Twitter. This is in direct contrast with the relatively newer Big Ten teams such as Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and Pennsylvania State University, whose sports teams are all mentioned frequently with other Big Ten sports teams.

What’s going on there? Could it be because the other Big Ten teams didn’t didn’t perform very well in their games this year – so their fans weren’t raving enough on Twitter?

So, in the end, who won the match on Twitter?

Hashtagify.me also measures the relative popularity of all hashtags on Twitter, and here’s the final standings for our lot:

Popularity of Big Ten sports Twitter hashtags
Popularity of Big Ten sports Twitter hashtags

#Michigan is in the lead here, but… was that fair play? This hashtag is not only related to college sports, it’s used for everything Michigan, as we can see from its own related hashtags:

Screenshot from 2014-01-03 14:38:13

The strongest connection (thicker line) is with #Detroit, and then there are also #jobs, #news, #US… even if it is my sister University, in an unexpected turn of events, I have to disqualify #Michigan for not having a clearly defined sports hashtag.

#Huskers, #Buckeyes and #Badgers, on the other hand, are clearly referred to sports, so we can declare our winner: #Huskers, with a mere .3 points over #Buckeyes. It was a close one, and I’ll have to suggest Wolverines fans to use the #Wolverines hashtag instead of #Michigan if they want to be able to compete next year – competition on Social Media has its own rules, and you better stick to them if you want to win!

The Event Hashtag : A Very Rough Guide

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.

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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

img-d-2

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.

img-d-3

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!

img-d-4

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.

How To Amplify Your Event With The Right Hashtag

Choosing a suitable hashtag is essential for any large event, whether you’re active on social media or not (although you should be!). It takes thought, careful consideration and a dedicated effort to promote the hashtag before, during and after the event.

hashtag_world

A good hashtag will group everything together, helping your event to cross-over from the material world into cyberspace, creating a lasting legacy that you can curate in the years to come to show the world just how fantastic it was. And your events *are* fantastic, right?

 

Here are eight tips on best practice for hashtag usage at events.

Before The Event

1 – Do Your Research

Before choosing a hashtag, be sure to do your research. A good hashtag should be short, to preserve valuable characters, and memorable. You should also check to make sure that your hashtag isn’t already being used – generic terms will be cluttered and difficult to break through, and you want all (or at least 95%) of the tweets that use the hashtag to relate to your event.

Bad: #MicrosoftNewProductLaunch / #Launch

Good: #MSLaunch

2 – Promote On All Collateral

Once you’ve decided upon your hashtag, start using it in your tweets so that early adopters will see your existing tweets before they use the hashtag. Otherwise, you run the risk of people incorrectly assuming that no-one is using the hashtag and not bothering to include it in their future tweets. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s included on all of the collateral for the event, from e-shots and press releases to direct mail, posters and even the tickets.

If you avoid this crucial step, or carry it out half-heartedly, it will be difficult to gain traction and you might find that your perfect hashtag is left unused while people invent their own tags, scattering the information and making it harder for you to track your hashtag’s success.

During The Event

conference_hashtags

3 – Monitor the Hashtag

Have a social media team in place on the day to monitor the hashtag, retweeting the best messages and offering support to those with questions. Depending upon how big the event is, and how much is going on, you may need multiple people to take control of the Twitter feed. In these circumstances, agree in advance who will be responding to queries, and separate the live-tweeting duties between the other team members. You should aim to have at least one team member monitoring the hashtag at all times to offer support and encouragement and to foster interactivity.

4 – Use it Everywhere

Make sure you plaster the hashtag everywhere, from speakers’ slides to goodie bags, event programmes and any mobile app that you might be using. Think outside the box and include your hashtag anywhere you can, and ensure that it’s included in any speaker sessions or announcements that are made.

5 – Consider Using a Tweetstream

At some events, you’ll see screens scattered around that display a live-stream of the most recent tweets to include the hashtag. While this can be a risk, as you never know when a negative or offensive tweet might appear, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Including these visual representations of what’s happening online can encourage people to participate in the conversation and engender a sense of community.

Just make sure that somebody, somewhere, is monitoring the hashtag – you might find that people start posting defamatory or unrelated tweets purely to see whether they appear in the Tweetstream. In these circumstances, most tweetstream providers will allow you to blacklist individual users so that their tweets no longer appear. Good providers will also automatically censor profanity.

6 – Offer Unique Rewards to People Who Use The Official Hashtag

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To encourage usage of your hashtag, promise additional rewards to people who use it in their social media posts. At regular intervals, choose a random user of the hashtag to win a prize, whether it’s extra swag, a meet and greet opportunity or a free drink. These random acts of kindness will quickly result in a positive buzz around the hashtag, and ultimately they’ll make the event more memorable for the lucky few who are chosen.

After The Event

7 – Use an Aggregator

You can use an aggregation tool like Storify to collect different types of media across the web and to embed it on to your website. Storify can also notify the sources, and best of all, it’s completely free! Using an aggregation tool helps you to expose all of the content that was shared during your event and to present it after the fact in an intriguing mix between a case study and a blog post.

8 – Analyse the Sentiment

Finally, after the dust has died down and the event is over, consider analysing the sentiment of the tweets that accompanied the hashtag to see what people really thought. Although there are expensive tools out there that can assist you to carry out sentiment analysis, from Radian 6 to Sysomos, you can do it on the cheap using tools like SocialMention and advanced Twitter search to get a good idea of whether the tweets surrounding the event were predominantly negative, neutral or positive.

Cybranding’s hashtag intelligence software will also allow you to pinpoint key influencers and contributors, and you can easily compare your own hashtag to that of a competitor. Better yet, you can isolate the negative tweets, find out what the problem was and aim to improve it for next time!

spotify

Conclusion

Choosing and deploying a hashtag for an event isn’t as simple as plucking something out of the air, tweeting about it a couple of times, and leaving it to make its mark. Like all social endeavours, it takes careful planning and nurturing to develop, but the results are infinitely more rewarding.

Have you used hashtags for your events? How successful were they? Let us know with a comment!

Author Bio

Dane Cobain is a social media specialist for UK-based creative agency fst the Group. He’s also a gadget-lover and tech fanatic, as well as an internet addict.