The humble hashtag has become a very powerful event tool these days and any event without a hashtag is only delivering on half the event networking opportunities.
You see, event hashtags have truly revolutionised event networking. The days of attending an event hoping to exchange pleasantries with your peers during the morning tea, lunch break or, if you’re lucky the organised networking drinks at the end of the day are gone, all thanks to the event hashtag.
Business events, seminars, exhibitions, conferences and the like all represent the coming together of like-minded people who are ready to share an experience with a venue full of strangers. I like to call them ‘pop-up communities’ and in my opinion any event worth its salt will have an event hashtag attached to it to make sure everyone in attendance can network and communicate. Whilst some seasoned audience members have embraced this practice and are using them to their advantage, not everyone gets the point.
So, what is the point? Well by incorporating a hashtag, and more importantly encouraging people to use them, can dramatically enhance the networking potential for attendees before, during and after the event.
Here are 6 quick tips to help you use event hashtags effectively.
- Look for it early – When you register, a week or two ahead, the day before and of course on the day. Use it to get updates on the event and to tell people you are attending, you might just find out you have a colleague or friend going along as well. A well-managed event will have the hashtag plastered over everything leading up to and at the event.
- Use it throughout the day – Add it to any Tweet or post you compose relevant to the event. For example, comment on speakers, presenters, entertainment, the food or how comfy the seats are.
- Use it regularly – How often will depend on the event format and how amazing the schedule is, but with a speakers conference 1-2 posts per speaker is a good start. More if the speaker is being controversial or you disagree with their angle, that will really get the conversation started.
- Using it to network – If you are there to seriously network, use this to guide you in what you post – snide or smart alec comments may not go down well with who you are trying to impress, but then again they may – so think about who you are trying to appeal to before you hit send. A safe option is to retweet, like, favourite or follow key people at the event or within your industry who you want to impress by being there. If the event has a rolling feed showing other commentary use this as a tool to identify who you may want to connect with and pray the event has thought about WiFi speed.
- Use it to join in – At conferences there is usually a Q&A or panel session, using the hashtag gives you an opportunity to ask a great question. If it doesn’t get answered use it as an opener for approaching the target of your question at the networking drinks or after the event.
- Use it after the event – Follow up the speakers you enjoyed listening to or the other attendees you met using the direct messaging function on your platform. You never know where it may lead.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to use the hashtag to amplify your networking at events? We’d love to hear them.