Social Media has been around for a bit now and one of its more notable players, Twitter has brought a slew of new words into business language like Tweeting, Retweeting, and Hashtags. Hashtags are used in tweets by typing the “#” aka the pound sign followed by a keyword. What makes this little symbol so powerful in the Twitterverse, is that you can search in Twitter using the unique hashtag. By typing # plus any keyword, you get a stream of tweets all mentioning that single hashtag. Think about it. Millions of mentions categorized instantly connected by a single word.
Hashtags are popular for online Twitter chats to help people follow a conversation for a set amount of time and it’s a great help to generate a transcript of the discussion long after it’s over. One obvious use from the beginning is to use hashtags for promoting events. Before an event, people can connect with each other and during an event live tweets use a hashtag to string all the single threads into one colorful experience. Even if you can’t make the conference, you can follow the hashtag as it winds its way through Twitter telling the story of what’s happening in real time.
Establishing a hashtag is easy. Come up with a short keyword or acronym to describe your event and connect your attendees. Keeping it short helps reserve space for telling stories. After all, it is only 140 characters to a tweet. Next, encourage everyone from sponsors to attendees to use the hashtag when talking about your event. Print it on programs, tent cards and event tickets. Put it on Facebook and LinkedIn updates and don’t forget to tweet it out! If you have anyone live tweeting a session, be sure they use the hashtag as much as possible. (Another reason to keep it short. TIP: If you’re the one doing the live tweeting, copy it onto your clipboard so you can just paste it into each tweet. It’ll save time and mistakes.)
Even though hashtags have been around for a while, they’re sometimes a mystery as to the “Why?” So now you know why you might want to use it at least for promoting your next event. And by the way, today is the Own It Ventures Conference & Expo in New Jersey. Entrepreneurs are gathering for some unique opportunities to pitch their products and hopefully get discovered. If you want to follow the experience, search for the hashtag: #OIV and retweet generously!