Trending, engaging, Re-tweetable; buzzwords that every non-profit or association exec wants to describe their event and its presence on social media.
Getting your event, conference, initiative or awareness campaign to sizzle on Twitter takes time, work and persistence, but a great hashtag can go a long way to achieving this goal.
So, without further ado, here are five tips for creating an event hashtag for your organization
1. Shorter is sweeter
When you are creating your hashtag, make sure it is relatively short. Remember, you only get 140 characters on Twitter and a longer hashtag means less space for updates from your organization and less space for others to tweet questions and comments. Shorter hashtags will also be easier to remember. Tip: use the initials of your event or campaign’s name to shorten the hashtag.
2. Make it clear
Make sure your hashtag clearly tells what the event or campaign is about. Allusions and puns can be clever to those in the know, but they can be hard to remember and harder to search for those who are new to the scene and want to get involved.
3. Search it up
Great, you’ve thought of a clear and concise hashtag. The next step is to make sure it isn’t already being used. A simple twitter search will let you know if your desired hashtag is already in use. If it is, you might want to reconsider your hashtag as your tweets may get lost in the clamor and your followers may get confused. Using an already existing hashtag may not matter, or can even work to your advantage, but make sure there is nothing controversial or hugely popular about the existing hashtag.
4. Promote the heck out of it
Unless you are an A-list celebrity or an organization with a couple hundred thousand followers, your event or campaign hashtag will probably not explode overnight. This is where persistence and some advertising come in handy. Once you have a hashtag, promote it using every channel you have. Tweet about it frequently, put it on your website, link to it from other social media platforms, publish it prominently in newsletters and publications, put it up on a PowerPoint slide before presentations, put it on posters and use good old word of mouth to spread it around. And do all these well in advance, at least a month, before your event or campaign starts. This will get the hashtag into peoples’ minds, will get people talking and using it and make it easier to remember by the time the big day(s) roll around.
5. Maintain it
Once the event or campaign begins, don’t stop using the hashtag. It will be seen by followers and will be more likely to be used by them and re-tweeted out to their followers. Frequently check what people are saying using the hashtag and respond to tweets that use it. This will let people know that by using the hashtag, their voice is being heard and will encourage them to continue being involved. It also encourages more and more people to talk, contribute and use the hashtag because, let’s face it, people like being a part of things. Check the hashtag frequently after the event or campaign to respond to any late-comers and to make sure no one has hijacked the hashtag to badmouth your organization, its cause or its members.
A good hashtag alone won’t make your event or campaign a smashing success on social media or elsewhere, but it will go a long, long way to making that the case. Engaging and informative updates, persistence and frequent interaction with citizens of the Twittershpere are all ingredients as well. But never underestimate the power of the # symbol and how a great impact can come from a great hashtag.