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with love by Bizzabo
Hashtags are a phenomenon that have developed through social media, in particular Twitter. What once
was simply “the pound sign” has become a way of life in the digital world - a way to break through the
noise and connect with others in an exchange of ideas, opinions, and commentary.
Hashtags have managed to pervade almost every aspect of modern society - from pop culture to corpo-
rate meetings. So, what exactly is a hashtag? Twitter has a straightforward definition of their own:
“The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics
in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to
Though this definition serves to describe hashtags in their simplest form, the approaches and situations
in which they can be used are seemingly endless. For event organizers, the hashtag has become an
extremely useful resource for easy sharing and event tracking. The “#” symbol allows you to create a
conversation around a theme, event, or topic.
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WHAT IS A HASHTAG?
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HOW TO CHOOSE
“THE ONE”THERE ARE THREE KEY ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER WHEN
CHOOSING YOUR EVENT HASHTAG:
keep it short and clear. If you want users to adopt and include your hashtag in their tweets, make it
easy and convenient for them to do so. Also, for matters of convenience, your hashtag should be easy
to spell and remember. Easily misspelled hashtags will result in tweets spread over several different
hashtags, which will only increase your workload and decrease your influence.
your hashtag should be relevant and unique. The hashtag should be as similar as possible to the
event’s name or topic. However, you don’t want to choose a hashtag that’s already heavily used - the
tweets around your event will be lost in the clutter. For example, for an event called New York Start-
ups Marathon 2014, it would be unwise to select #startup as your hashtag. As we wrote these words,
a search for #startup resulted in 1,314 tweets from the last 24 hours alone. A more useful hashtag
would be #SM2014 or #StartupsMarathon14, which will ensure your event’s tweets won’t get lost in
be thoughtful when selecting your event’s hashtag. It may seem obvious, but not every event name
or topic will sound good or make sense as a hashtag. For example, the Susan Boyle album party-
#susanalbumparty may be misinterpreted. It’s also a good practice to make sure that the hashtag
doesn’t coincidentally form a word in another language, which could result in two very different
streams colliding. For more best practices on choosing a hashtag see our blog.
TIP - When making your hashtag, just remember - R.U.S.S …Relevant, Unique, Short & Sweet!
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PUT YOUR HASHTAG IN ACTION
Your hashtag means nothing if people are not aware of it. Promoting your event hashtag is a key
success factor. Here is a suggested list of where successful organizers have promoted their hashtag:
• Make it visible on your event website
• Have it present on marketing materials and event invitations
• Display it in the event’s mobile app
• Publicize it on all your social networks
• Project it during speaker presentations
• Print it on place cards, dessert decorations, and anything eye-catching - let creativity flow!
The hashtag will not only be a way to get attendees to engage with the event, but to get attendees to
engage with each other. Publicizing should be done as early as possible. Hashtags are a user-generated
feature of Twitter, so without taking a proactive approach you might find yourself on the reacting side. In
addition, using the hashtag frequently can incite pre-event conversations, which creates buzz, excitement
and spreads the word about your event. Fun hashtags like #tbt (throw back Thursday) can be great ways
to get your guests engaging with the event and have become a staple in the social media realm. Take a
great pic of the keynote speaker having fun, add a #tbt, and your event hashtag on the end and entice your
guests to engage post-event.
Facebook Hashtags Aren’t Very Effective, Study Says, Social Times
The Simple Science of Engagement for Twitter, Revenue Caffeine
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FINDING THE REAL #VALUE
Event organizers and participants use Hashtags in order to filter event-related tweets.
It creates a virtual space where everyone is only talking about topics related to your event.
In fact, a study from SocialTimes1
states, “70 percent of brands saw retweets increase with
the use of hashtags.” (tweet this)
Hashtags are searchable and clickable, which allows users to track upcoming trends, discover and
spread discussions about the event, and share content with attendees.
This is a great way to organize buzz around an event and track topics that are trending.
According to a study on Twitter engagement2
, tweets that contain hashtags gain 2x more engage-
ment. (tweet this)
The power and ubiquity of the hashtag has grown and is now used across multiple platforms includ-
ing Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
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TOOLS FOR OPTIMIZING HASHTAGS
This is a simple, user-friendly way to customize your feeds,
but keep in mind these timelines have a few setbacks - they’re not
in chronological order (when created with Tweetdeck) and all time-
lines are completely accessible to the public.
This means they are available for embedding
Unfortunately, at times your Twitter hashtag may be problematic. For example, the LAUNCH Festi-
val’s hashtag (#LAUNCH) can be taken over with tweets from teens hyped up about their “bottle
rocket #launch”. Not to worry- Twitter’s custom timeline feature allows anyone to customize a Twitter
feed. Specific, timely, and relevant tweets can now be curated to stay on track with your event. Each
custom Twitter Timeline gets its own URL, and is also easily embeddable on any webpage.
Wondering how to use this great tool? There are two main options:
1. Create Custom Timelines with Tweetdeck - Using Tweetdeck, a free tool for managing lists, time-
lines and events all in one place, you can create a timeline by manually dragging and dropping tweets
into your new custom timeline.
2. Automated process with Twitter APIs - This is a new development, still in its beta stage, but can
be used to create your timeline with an automated process.
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HashtagtopiaHASHTAGS ACROSS NETWORKS
Though there’s obviously much to be gained through the use of
Twitter hashtags, hashtags on Facebook have gotten mixed
reviews. According to SocialTimes3
35,000 posts from 500 business pages over a month. The find-
ings were surprising. Not only did these hashtags make no pos-
itive impact, they actually reduced the reach of the post. Using
your hashtag via Facebook can still be questionable and not
nearly as effective as other networks.
On the flip side, others believe there can be real value to be
gained using Facebook hashtags4
. Some aversion to the use of
hashtags on this platform is a lack of understanding or knowl-
edge. Facebook was one of the last to adopt the hashtag, and
it looks misplaced to see hashtags trending on posts and status
updates for this platform. Unlike Facebook, a more intimate
platform, Twitter operates as a thought stream, leaving users
uninhibited to discuss topics with strangers, but Facebook con-
nections are with friends, co-workers, and family members,
making the need for a trending topic to spark conversation
unnecessary. Using this ability to network within your tight-knit
community by complementing your posts with a hashtag, can
reach a more human element of hashtagging.
Hashtags on Instagram are an excellent way to increase your
visibility and be discovered by likeminded parties. In contrast to
Facebook and Twitter, the results of using hashtags on Insta-
gram not only generate increased interaction, but also break the
“hashtag rules” of other social media channels. Data collected
opposes the notion that the maximum number of
hashtags used should be 2, instead it was proven that the more
hashtags on a post, the more interactions produced. Having
more hashtags not only creates more interactions, but allows
your post to be discoverable in multiple places in the search
window. However, don’t get too carried away!
The use of hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, and potentially
Facebook, are great ways to get your attendees engaged with
the event. It is up to you as the event organizer to harness its full
potential. Use it across all platforms to optimize engagement
and bring together an active event community.
Facebook Hashtags Aren’t Very Effective, Study Says, Social Times
Using Hashtags on Facebook, r3socialmedia
8 Surprising New Instagram Statistics to Get the Most out of the Picture Social Network, Buffer
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As other social media platforms continue to adopt hashtags, the value of implementing them into your
social media campaign will be essential to attracting people to the conference and measuring the suc-
cess of an event.
Harnessing the power of social throughout your event and smartly implementing a hashtag can add a
whole new layer of social engagement to your event's experience, as well as create thriving channels of
open communication and discussion.
Here at Bizzabo, we strive to be the leading
social and digital networking platform for
conferences. Contact us now for a walk-through
of the app & online platform, and for more
information on why we've been the app at
3,000+ events and counting.
Brought to you with love by Bizzabo.
Let's get in touch!
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