As the influence and importance of social media continues to expand, so too does the use of the #hashtag. Facilitating social media users’ ability to identify posts on a specific theme or topic, the hashtag offers businesses and event planners a unique tool for promotion and interaction. Encouraging engagement on social media, the hashtag offers a specific channel through which events are able to engage guests and a wider audience. By recognizing the importance of hashtags to stimulate the spread of a message, there is no shortage of strategies a savvy planner can employ to engage event guests.
Location, Location, Location
The old adage rings true once again, and it is important to recognize that where hashtags are used in an event is critical. The goal here is exposure that results in social media use, which then results in more exposure – being sure that event hashtags are in the right places is key.
- First, put hashtags where guests will be taking photos. It has never been easier to capture and share high quality images, so making sure that your message is properly placed is important. Hashtags in heavily photographed areas will encourage their use and insure exposure.
- Alongside photo opportunities, use hashtags where guests will spend a lot of time (photo booths, bars, food stations, activities). Wherever guests are lingering, they’re also taking pictures and using mobile devices – placing hashtags in these areas will guarantee that the guests (and the tags) make their way online.
- Put tags where your guests can’t miss them. You can go big or go small here (or better yet, both) – whether it’s billboards or seating cards, be sure your tags will be seen – the larger the audience, the greater the exposure.
- Be sure your hashtags aren’t missed by anyone. Some event-goers won’t be lured by activities, place cards, or billboards. That’s why it’s important to consider more subliminal messaging. Sometimes the flashy or big reminder won’t communicate your message as effectively as the one that a guest just stumbles upon.
Make Guests active participants:
Guests participating in engaging activities are much more likely to want to share their experience on social media (and in so doing use an event-focused hashtag). Keeping guests activity-oriented will make sure they are engaged – both at the event and online.
- Including a hashtag on a handout (maybe as part of a giveaway or raffle) will not only guarantee that your guests see it all night, but that they’ll be sure to have it in-hand for a chance to win.
- Incorporate hashtags into event activities. Whether it’s a photo opportunity or something event-specific (anything from tastings to product trials), be sure hashtags are present. Tags can be used to encourage photos and social media posts, and will further participation and spur engagement with your event’s message.
- Make interaction/competition a part of your event. Use hashtags to foster interaction (“post a photo of your neighbor using our hashtag!”) and/or to spur competition (“we’ll select the best photo posted using our hashtag at the end of the night!”). When your guests are active participants, your event and your message will thrive.
- Make hashtags photo friendly (especially for selfies!). Creating and sharing memorable images has never been easier, and doing so is a way that all event guests can participate. Make it easy for guests to photograph themselves and their friends/colleagues with your hashtag.
The idea here is to create something so memorable guests will feel compelled to share it socially using your hashtag. Expressing your message in a novel way will help encourage that desire to share.
- Don’t feel limited by print media. While printed signage might go overlooked, a hashtag written in chocolate sauce (or lipstick, or ice, or anything else you could imagine) will be seen by everyone. And if anyone does happen to miss a mixed media message, you can be sure plenty of event guests will post the unique presentation of your message.
- Speaking of chocolate, why not incorporate your hashtag into something edible? Hashtags on food aren’t just tasty, they’re eye-catching and noticeable, not to mention perfect bait for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Provide technology for guests to share your tags. Virtually everyone at your event will be toting a smart device of some kind or another, by why leave anything to chance? Supplying tech for guests’ use simplifies and expedites the spread of your hashtag.
Hashtags allow social media users the ability to use a phrase or word to engage with a particular topic or theme. When it comes to event planning, hashtags offer a means by which to engage guests in a fun and creative way while remaining focused on a specific message. Hashtags are an inexpensive, easy, and especially effective way to engage social media users and build awareness about your organization, brand, or product – don’t forget to #hashtag your next event!
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