When Should An Event Get/Announce Its Hashtag?
As someone who has been to a number of events (as I’ve oft chronicled here with my “Event” tag) especially ones that are promoted on, geared towards, and inclusive of Social Media and the people on Social Media sites – specifically Twitter – I have noticed that leading up to or even at many events no one seems to know what the hashtag for the event is!
My thoughts about this really coalesced into me writing what you’re reading now when I read this blog post by my friends over at Notable.ca: called Tweeting Your Way Through Events. Notable.ca and the article is targeted towards Young Professionals but, in my opinion, what’s mentioned in the article holds true for almost any demographic. They say that we find Twitter so useful because although “we make our own notes as writers at events and leave armed with media kits…being able to go back and have a digital diary of things we may have missed – plus the access to comments of others at the event – is always appreciated.”
NOTE: This post assumes you know what a “hashtag” on Twitter is and their purpose. If you don’t know, I suggest reading this article in the Twitter Help Center: “What Are Hashtags (“#” Symbols)?” before continuing.
I couldn’t agree more with the above assertion, it is EXTREMELY useful to be able to look up the hashtag before, during, and after an event to see what the buzz is about it, what’s going on at the event (if it’s big enough of an event there’s no way to be everywhere at once), and what happened at the event after the fact. The article goes on to say:
In this day and age, most organizers will create a designated Twitter hashtag and announce the hashtag ample times to promote the event and connect with their key audiences. It is important to let people know well in advance so they can follow along if they’re interested and engage using the same hashtag.
Unfortunately, in the article the Notable team never makes mention of what they define the terms “ample time” and “well in advance” to be in this situation so I thought I would offer my take on it.
CREATE YOUR EVENT HASHTAG RIGHT AWAY
To be clear, I am not going to pretend that figuring out a hashtag is more important than picking a date or getting a venue for the event because that would just be silly – it isn’t. However, I still say you should be deciding on your event’s hashtag as soon as possible. The hashtag, like the name, is part of the branding of the event.
This is especially true if you’re an agency who does PR/Marketing/Communications/Promotions for a brand or event. You take the time to make a cool poster/graphic for the event, you write a press release about whatever it is the event’s launching and about the event itself, you take the time to make a list of mainstream media, bloggers, ‘influencers’, movers, and shakers who you’re going to invite to your event, and you compose an email for that list. While all that is happening how much time would it actually take you to figure out what the hashtag is going to be!?
Picking a hashtag isn’t something that should take a huge amount of time and it shouldn’t require an entire team meeting. It’s something that can be done by one person in maybe 10 minutes, 20 at the outside and then get approved by the person in charge if they aren’t the one doing it. Once this is decided it isn’t something that has to be thought about anymore and it can be used immediately to help gain buzz about your event all across the interwebs. Having a hashtag is, in my mind, just like having a name/title for an event. The hashtag is a touchstone for people to refer to the event as well as making the event easily searchable on Twitter and the whole world wide interwebs.
Indeed, the hashtag is part of the branding of your event – especially if you’re including the online media – and should be something that is decided upon quickly and promulgated along with all other materials about the event.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know below.
Hashtag graphics above via Microsoft Office Clipart
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The Cloud Of Tags