Hashtags for Events: Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em?

Written by Lance Padgett on May 13, 2014

Posted in Event Planning, Lead Generation

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake proved that hashtag mania can go too far. While you know not to go overboard hashtagging everything in sight, you may want to start using hashtags before and during your event. According to our shamelessly awesome “Anatomy of a Perfect Event” infographic, tweets with a hashtag receive twice the digital engagement as those without hashtags. Even if you’re not a fan of hashtags, digital marketers need to take them seriously, especially when promoting an event.

Start the Conversation
Your guests are going to be talking about your event on social media, regardless of your participation. If you designate the hashtag, you can have greater control of the conversation. Include your event hashtag on all of your promotional materials and start using it in your social media accounts. If your event includes speakers or VIP guests, ask them to use your hashtag when they discuss the event. When you build your event registration form in Formstack, be sure to integrate with Twitter. Formstack will compose a tweet when anyone registers for the event, which means you can start building buzz around your event hashtag.

Engage and Share
Engaging on social media is a great opportunity to increase brand awareness and digital engagement. Hashtags are usable on all major social platforms but have the most impact on Twitter and Instagram. A study by Dan Zarrella states that tweets that contain one or more hashtags were 55% more likely to be retweeted than tweets that did not. Retweets and shares can help get the word out about your organization to an entirely new audience. Include a call to action in your posts to increase your online visibility. On Facebook, if you ask users to share posts, they are seven times more likely to share than if you don’t ask.

Be Where Your Customers Are
More and more social media users are mobile users. According to a recent Twitter study, mobile users are 53% more likely to recall seeing an ad on Twitter than the average user. These users are also 44% more likely to click on links than the average user. This means that you need to be mobile-optimized and ready to engage with mobile users. Social media has opened the door for businesses like never before: customers wantto engage with brands and are opting in to these interactions.

Preventing Hashtag Fails
Even though hashtags increase audience engagement and get people talking about your brand, the internet is awash in examples of companies screwing up hashtags. Research your hashtag to make sure it hasn’t been used before. Make sure it won’t be read as offensive or inappropriate, and be sure it fits with the tone of the event. Somber or very formal events don’t lend themselves to social media hashtags, and be careful with associating hashtags to politically-charged events.

Hashtags FTW!
By promoting your event’s hashtag, you are giving your participants permission to engage with you—and others—about the event. You can share guests’ photos from the event, gather comments and feedback, and address issues immediately. Hashtags last longer than the event itself, which means the conversation around your brand can last.

#OnlineForms For Your Next Event
Although you can hashtag to your heart’s content to drum up buzz for your event, you’ll need a way to capture registrations and communicate with attendees before your big day. That’s where Formstack comes in. From the reg form to the follow-up survey, quickly create the online forms you need to make your event a success. Sign up for a 14-day free trial of Formstack today!