Though still considered the pound sign, and found in plenty on automatic voice mail systems everywhere, the #, or hashtag, has garnered a new reputation amongst planners as a cool way to enhance their meeting attendees’ experience. By incorporating the humble hashtag (#) into your next event, you can create a big impact; one that literally takes your event full force into the wild and exciting realm of right now!
First note that Twitter Hashtags were developed by Twitter users; they were neither started nor endorsed by Twitter. This is just another fascinating example of how people find their own creative uses for the various social media platforms. Users created the hashtag as a way to flag certain subjects and get more users involved in the conversation. If you want to know what is hot and happening on Twitter right now, visit What the Trend. If there is a particular hashtag you want to follow, you cannot do so via your Twitter account, but you can also do a search for the hashtag at Twitter Search and find the latest related tweets.
To create your own hashtag, all you need is a “#” and a “word.” Before you go off and announce your hashtag to the world, make sure to do a search first (on Twitter Search) to ensure that your hashtag is not already in use. Once you are cleared to go, provide the hashtag to your attendees so they may use it when tweeting about your particular conference. For example, I might create a hashtag for an upcoming soiree; let’s say #jillstonemeet. I would then do a search to make sure it is unique (it is), then share this with my attendees via my various marketing materials and posts.
Now my attendees can use this hashtag in their tweets to communicate about my event before, during and after. For example, before the event one may say, “@conferenceattendee are you going to buy some new shoes to attend #jillstonemeet?” During the event one might say, “#jillstonemeet is the best soiree ever!” (note to self, use this in future marketing materials). A post-conference tweet may be, “I am already looking forward to #jillstonemeet next year : )”.
A wonderful site and service for meeting planners is Twubs; be sure to check out their Conference Solution area. Currently they have a free beta version available, so why not give it a go for your next event? Their offerings include posting not only tweets, but photos, videos and more. Since the tweets are on a time delay, the moderator has control over which tweets get posted and which do not. As well the tweets can be projected onto a screen and/or streamed live over the web, making the tweet-a-palooza available to everyone, even the non-tweeters (or is it non-twitterers?). Conference goers can schedule Tweetups; this module includes Google Maps so attendees can easily find the location – very helpful for the out-of-towners.
Meetings are about connection and hashtags provide a new and fun way for your attendees to bond, boost their positive experience, create a more memorable atmosphere , and provide you with a first-hand account of how your meeting is being received in real time. To tweet or not to tweet? I say, Tweet!
Tweet me @jillstonehb!