Archive for the ‘hashtags’ tag
We recently discussed 3 dos and don’ts for running a campaign across platforms, but what about marketing a conference or similar event across platforms? Successfully marketing an event requires tailoring your message for each platform, just as with any successful campaign. We’ll break down some of the specific uses for each platform here, playing to their individual strengths and making note of what to keep in mind based on how each works and interacts with the others.
We’ve covered 16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference and 7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter, so what’s different when you’re adding other platforms to the mix?
When building your communication plan for your conference you want to keep in mind the strengths of each platform to plan which content you’re going to disseminate where; Twitter’s strength lies in it being the ultimate real-time tool. Use Twitter to broadcast quick updates and reminders throughout your event, such as:
- Remind everyone of the official hashtag
- Make announcements and reminders of keynotes, session start times, and any other events like a cocktail hour or party
- Let everyone know if a session, talk, or cocktail hour has been delayed, canceled or moved to a different location
- Make suggestions about where attendees can head for meals or drinks offsite, tagging the handles of those businesses where applicable
- Introduce speakers by their handles
- Thank speakers, organizers, and any companies that have provided staff for catering or bars (and be sure to mention their handles too)
- Answer any questions from attendees, and resolve any problems they bring to light quickly
Also be sure to prominently and consistently use and track the official hashtag you’ve created for your conference, which will tell you everything that went well and everything you can improve for the next time.
Instagram is new territory for many marketers, which is why we’ve written a series for those new to the platform over on our Union Metrics Tumblr. Specifically for events you’ll want to check out how to effectively use hashtags, the nuances of sharing to other platforms via Instagram, and even the different moves personal brands should make there (in case you’re an event attendee in the future, wanting to promote yourself and connect with other attendees and organizers).
So whether you’re established on Instagram when you decide to market your event there, or you’ve decided to make the conference the official launch of your Instagram presence, there are a few things to keep in mind. Instagram’s purely visual nature is a strength for any brand looking to tell a succinct story in photographic terms. However, the single-track feed on mobile means that too many posts can easily overwhelm your followers, so established brands with a large following who know only a portion of that following will be present at an event will want to consider setting up a side account if you plan on frequent event updates.
With that in mind, some of the ways to use Instagram at a conference include:
- To show off the conference venue, including what the weather in the host city is like
- Share photos of sites to see around the host city
- Tap into other big communities on Instagram by showing off the #food available on and offsite of your conference (be sure to tag any offsite restaurants and bars that have an Instagram presence, and follow their accounts)
- Post reminders about meetups in other cities leading up to the conference, or after it, like this one from SXSW V2V
- Share engaging photo reminders of deadlines for submitting speaker applications, getting a discount on event passes, and more
- Post photos of keynote speakers, tagging their Instagram accounts with permission so that attendees can get a better idea of who they are
- Post photos to highlight your event organizers, staff, and even regular attendees to give a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into the work of organizing and executing a conference (and tag their accounts too, where appropriate, or at least follow them)
Bonus: If you’re short on resources, use the snappy photo reminders around deadlines as a starting point to share the same reminder across platforms, tweaking the message for each. For example, hashtags don’t seem to increase engagement on Facebook, so if you’re going to use the sharing buttons native to Instagram, wait to post all of your hashtags in the first comment. They’ll work the same way for categorization and discovery across Instagram as when you put them in your initial photo caption, but they won’t clutter your post across platforms.
More and more brands have been experimenting with marketing on Tumblr and seeing some fantastic results. The built-in social aspect allows for amplification of announcements and photo recaps of any event or conference in a way that’s not possible with traditional blogging platforms. A brand hosting an event on Tumblr might use the platform to:
- Go into more detail about deadlines and what’s required on applications for speakers, but be sure to put it all behind a cut and underneath a snappy visual (maybe a version of the same one you used on Instagram!)
- Use the photo post-type collage option to show off the mood of the event, the venue, official accommodations, shots of the host city, past event parties and attendees, speakers and more (Tumblr automatically builds a collage as you upload multiple photos in one post)
- Do a series using each of the ideas above, or pull a few of each type into one post for a photo overview. Pull these from Instagram or post a mix of Instagram photos and those from other sources
- Use embedded video posts to show clips from the speakers you’re featuring, or a video summary of a past event; even a video tour of the host city
- Video post types will also host SlideShares of presentations using their embed codes, perfect for recaps and previews of sessions and topics from speakers
- Link to articles or blog posts from event speakers, or quote things past speakers have said using the quote post-type
- If past event attendees have written up their experiences, link to those as well, or quote excerpts from what they had to say
Remember that Tumblr’s reblogging feature is what makes it so powerful; be sure to reblog anything appropriate or related to your conference from the Tumblrs of your upcoming or past speakers, regular attendees, organizers and more. Doing so will only encourage them to reblog you, amplifying your message to their audiences and possibly tapping new audience members.
Example of a post from a speaker that SXSW V2V could reblog– if they had a Tumblr.
After all, if they follow your speakers and attendees, it’s likely that they’re interested in the type of event you’re putting on.
The bottom line
Play to each platform’s strengths, and put in the work ahead of time to figure out where your attendees spend the most time. If you have limited resources, put your work into those places. Anything else after that will be a bonus.
Oh, and one more bonus tip: All of these platforms use hashtags, so search each one for any hashtags you can think of that are related to your conference or event to see how people are already talking about it in each place. Keep that tone and style in mind as you plan your approach, or use it to tailor and rethink your approach if you already have a presence there.
Got any questions, or have any ideas or examples of great conference execution across platforms that we’ve missed? Leave it in the comments!
Hashtags are a delightful, double-edged sword. On one hand, they enable you to organize your tweets so they can be found by others interested in the same type of content. On the other hand, they can be hijacked by those looking to capitalize on the popularity of particular hashtag. With that in mind, you’ll want to go through a checklist of several hashtag best practices to get the most out of using them without wasting a good tweet on a bad hashtag.
Create your hashtag
Keep it short, relevant, and simple. If you use a really long hashtag, people won’t have as much room to add their thoughts. For example: #MMchat stands for #MarketingMondays (a Twitter chat*), but the full version is too long to use in an interactive Twitter event. You want attendees to be able to add as much as possible to the conversation.
Test your hashtag
Once you’ve come up with a snappy hashtag, you need to find out: Is it already being used? Is this particular hashtag routinely spammed by random, unrelated accounts? (If you’re using a general hashtag to increase reach on a post- which we cover in the next section- you’ll want to avoid hashtags that get spammed by unrelated accounts.) Do a quick search on Twitter to see if a hashtag is already being used and, if so, how. For example, searching #socialchat turns up that it’s already a popular hashtag in use for a tweet chat which means you’d want to pick something different for your chat or event. The general hashtag #socialmedia is fast moving and full of information, but also routinely gets spammed. You might test out using it, but know that it’s easy for your post to get lost in the flow of information.
For a more detailed look at how to maximize your hashtag use for both tweet chats (similar to Twitter parties, but reoccurring) and events such as conferences, you might want to check out these other posts:
Get more out of a hashtag
You can extend the reach of a post by using more popular and general hashtags– in moderation. For example: If you’re talking about analytics, #measure and #msure are great hashtags to use in order to expose your post to a larger audience of people interested in data measurement. We don’t recommend using more than three hashtags in the majority of your tweets, however; too many hashtags look spammy.
Searching broader hashtags related to your industry will also help you find interesting content to learn from and share on your own accounts, in addition to surfacing interesting influencers to follow.
Hashtags are also a great way to find people who share similar interests to you outside of work, particularly with the rise of social television:
Track your hashtag: Includes TweetReach-specific tips
You can track hashtags using our tools- either to get an idea of a conversation in a snapshot report (free, or a $20 full report) or monitor an ongoing conversation in a TweetReach Pro Tracker. Why would you want to do this? Hashtags can give you a great idea of the conversation around specific topics or events that are affecting the general population– or you in particular, if it’s a campaign hashtag you want to know the reach and results of.
How do you make sure you’re getting all the information you need? Check out:
Have a hashtag question we didn’t address? Leave it in the comments, or find us on Twitter. Happy hashtagging!
*Twitter chats, or tweet chats, are reoccurring virtual events where people meet to discuss various topics using a hashtag to connect the conversation. They’re a great way to network, and increase or share your knowledge on a topic.
You’ve planned a Twitter campaign, and you’ve launched it. Now you’re monitoring the conversation. People are using the hashtag! But wait, they are not using it to talk about what you were hoping they would; they have run wild and taken your hashtag with them! We’ve seen it happen before.
So what can you do? Abandoning Twitter isn’t really an option.
Obviously it’s a social media best practice to have an emergency policy in place, but every situation is unique and entirely impossible to predict. So take a deep breath, and bookmark these tips for how to deal with this kind of situation on the Twitter battlegrounds:
1. Monitor the ongoing incident: ideally you will already have this set up to track how your campaign is doing, but it’s possible users will have altered your hashtag into something else that you should also be tracking. Check out this post we wrote on Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis.
2. To respond, or not to respond? This is tricky. If you have a corporate policy in place you’re expected to follow, obviously it’s in your best interest to do that. Call in everyone in your company who can help you, but start thinking about and answering these questions on your own:
- Will responding do any good? There is a big difference between someone reaching out with a genuine complaint that you’re able to help with, and people en masse trolling your account. In the first case you obviously want to respond and make it right as quickly as possible. In the second case it might be better not to respond at all. Individually replying to every hashtag joke skewering and mocking your campaign might only serve to keep the incident fresh in the eyes of the public and tech news. Sometimes silence is the best policy to let it blow over quickly. Other times approaching the situation with a good sense of humor can win over some (but never all) of the haters.
- Should we consider a Twitter sabbatical? It might be best to lay low for several days to a week or so.
- Should we apologize? This depends on the context of the highjacking of your hashtag: are people just trying to be funny, or are they using it as an opportunity to point out a practice about your company that they don’t like? Address it accordingly.
3. Learn from it: If you’ve set everything up to monitor it beforehand, plus made the necessary adjustments once the incident took off, you should have everything you need to learn from the situation. Did a bad sentiment toward your brand already exist that your PR team should have been aware of? Was it just a complete fluke? Use the experience to craft a more in-depth social media crisis policy.
Overall? Don’t panic too much. It will be yesterday’s news soon enough, and chances are a little controversy won’t be enough to shake your most loyal brand advocates.
Twitter contests can be a great way to engage with fans and followers of your brand, and hopefully also attract new ones. You won’t know how successful you were, however, unless you take some steps to set things up before you kick things off. (If that’s not you and you’re here hoping for a way to capture data for a contest that has already ended more than a week ago, see the note at the bottom.)
Plan how you’re going to capture your data.
You don’t want to be scrambling to collect data after your contest has ended. You don’t need to set up a TweetReach Pro account with a Tracker if that’s out of your budget. Do keep in mind that free snapshot reports only collect a maximum of 50 tweets from the past few days of when you run it; if you try to run one on a contest a week after it has ended, you aren’t going to get the data you’re after. The $20 full report will bring back up to 1500 tweets and goes back up to a week.
If you know this ahead of time, you can plan to grab snapshots of your contest hashtag at regular intervals so you don’t miss any data. (You might still want to skim the next section for contest planning tips.)
Already have a Pro account or going to get one? Then all of your work can be done ahead of time, and the Tracker for your contest will collect all the data you ask it to (within its limits, of course) until you turn it off and analyze it. We’ve got tips and examples below.
Plan what you’re going to track.
Of course you have an official contest hashtag or two that you’ll be tracking, but make sure you plan for any misspellings or misinterpretations of your hashtag people could use while they participate. You’ll also want to track just the words of your main hashtag, in case someone leaves off the “#” sign accidentally.
For example, a Canadian police department recently ran a Twitter contest called 8 Days of SWAG (Students Working Against Gangs) and used a TweetReach Tracker to track all of the following:
in addition to the phrase ‘swag8days’
This let them capture the maximum number of people participating in the contest, which was incidentally also a way to raise awareness of issues associated with gangs that teens in the area high schools might have to deal with. The contest was open only to teens from those area high schools, helping ensure their target audience was more effectively reached. Prizes leading up to an iPad mini were given away, to incentivize teens to participate.
The top hashtag results indicate that teens were both listening and participating:
When you’re planning your Twitter contest, think about who your target audience is and what kind of prizes they might be most interested in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something fancy and expensive to get people involved, if you’re able to reach those who would be most interested in what you have to offer as a brand of entity in the first place.
Also, try to keep your hashtag as short as possible while still being relevant. A really long hashtag like #StudentsWorkingAgainstGangs leaves a lot less space for participants to tweet in. Depending on the nature of your contest- do they have to answer a question, or just tweet the hashtag to enter?- it could affect participation.
It’s best to keep the contest as simple as possible with Twitter’s concise character limit, and point participants to details at your website (you don’t have to build one specifically for the contest, but you should at least have a place on your site or blog that announces it in order to help people find out about it, promote it, and participate correctly). The Tracker will also show you the top URLs that were linked in tweets containing the hashtags and phrases that you’re tracking:
In this case, it paid off for the police department to have a website dedicated exclusively to the contest, as versions of it were the first two most shared URLs, followed by news stories about the contest and the police department’s attempt to raise awareness around key gang-related issues.
Finally, pay attention to the Top Contributors column in your Tracker– these people either participated the most or gave you the biggest boost in exposure. Keep in touch with them in the future, and if you have the means, consider rewarding them as well. It could be as simple as a handwritten thank you note with a little something else that makes sense: a coupon code for a discount, a piece of functional company swag. Think about what you would like to receive.
One Last Note.
Did you find us after your contest already ran? Our historical analytics can capture everything for you. Pricing is based on the volume of tweets and the time period your contest ran, and starts at $49 for a limited time. Talk to us at the link above to get a quote.