Twitter can reflect true value for any meeting, event, or education class as long as the meeting planner understands first what a hashtag represents, and second how to use it effectively.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is an abbreviation, an acronym, or a word that follows the # symbol.

Click on the example hashtags to see:

Check out the best example from NAR auto-publishing to the live website http://live.blogs.realtor.org/?WT.mc_id=MY0013 all by using the #midyear hashtag.

How does one make a hashtag?

First, I would perform a search on Twitter at http://search.twitter.com like you are searching Google for a word or phrase that you are going to use as your event hashtag.  Some groups just use their acronym and some include the year for which the annual event takes place.  Note that the # and acronym are together with no space.

Next, if the hashtag is already being used then make up another that would work well with your event and Search Twitter again.  Once you have found a hashtag that no one else is using you can claim it by sending a tweet with the hashtag.  Note there is no rule about who can use a specific hashtag because you cannot own one on Twitter.

When publishing the hashtag be sure to capitalize the first letter of each word inside a hash tag.  For example, if you used #NardiGras it is a little easier to read than #nardigras. Twitter is not case sensitive.  If you have an acronym then be sure to capitalize all the letters.  Again there is no rule here but the goal as the meeting planner is to make the hashtag easy to read and identified for your group to participate on Twitter.

3 Reasons to Use the Hashtag

The quickest way to get the word out about your event on Twitter is to send out a Tweet with the hashtag and include a link to the registration page.  It can depend on how many influencers following you on Twitter that will help spread the word for you.  In addition, I would recommend adding the convention hashtag to all web and print marketing.  See how the North Carolina REALTORS® are using theirs http://www.ncarconvention.org/faq.cfm#hashtag.

Here are some other examples of what to include in Tweets including the hashtag to send out:

Before

  • Link to the website containing the program schedule.
  • Link to YouTube video that the speaker created to help promote the event.
  • Link to the registration page
  • Include name of speaker example (@DougDevitre) that notifies the speaker you tweeted with their name.  Be sure to double check their Twitter name because it might not This will also encourage them to Retweet the message expanding your reach.
  • Nearby restaurants, hotels, and shopping recommendations with links.
  • Local transportation links and tips.
  • Check in to FourSquare when you visit the venue.  Post check in to Twitter including the hashtag.

During

  • Program changes including room assignments, time changes, and updates.
  • Upcoming presenters including the link to their session, time, and specific details.
  • Updates on running contests with links.
  • Recording live on Ustream.tv
  • Retweet attendees comments, testimonials, and feedback.
  • Pictures of happy people.  This could include a link to a Flickr photo set slideshow.
  • Links to video interview videos uploaded to YouTube or PegShot.

After

  • Notes taken posted to a public Google Document link.
  • Link to a presenters SlideShare presentation.
  • Link to video testimonials captured from iPhone
  • Link to a blog post event recap containing comments, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and pictures.

How much time is this going to take?

Staff members with Smartphones including the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc. can quickly Tweet, ReTweet, and share multimedia on the fly which may take 1-2 minutes per Tweet depending on the nature of the Tweet.  They can perform these tasks during sessions and while waiting for the next break to occur when everyone rushes out of the session.

It is recommended for a staff member on site to have a wireless Internet connection from a laptop to moderate the Tweets as they are posted.

There are unlimited ways you can use the hashtag for Twitter but there are other social media sites that embrace the concept.

Did it work?

Type in your hashtag at http://hashtags.org to see the frequency on how it was used for your event.

How have you participated in hashtag discussions for events?

How did you go about creating your hashtag?

What were some problems you ran into when you used a hashtag?

Please post your comments at the end of this post.

………………………….

Bonus for Meeting Planners

SlideShare Events

In the past most meeting planners will ask the presenter to email them their PowerPoint presentation to then give to the web designer to then post online.  This is not necessary anymore.

The meeting planner can create an account on SlideShare for FREE.

The meeting planner will then ask all presenters to create a free account on SlideShare and upload their PowerPoint presentation to their own SlideShare account if they want their PowerPoint on the Event website or blog.  All the meeting planner needs is the hyperlink for the uploaded SlideShare presentation (for example, http://www.slideshare.net/dougdevitre/realtor-association-executive-institute-aei-build-organization-value).

Next they will create a SlideShare event and title it the name of the convention, meeting, or conference.  The form will ask for this information:

  1. Event name
  2. Category
  3. Description of event
  4. Image or logo
  5. Location
  6. Country
  7. Start and end date
  8. Event hashtag
  9. Privacy settings

10. Who can join and post settings

Then the meeting planner (when logged into SlideShare account) will then click on each SlideShare presentation link sent in by the speakers and at the top of the slides click more, then choose the name of the SlideShare event created.

Finally, the meeting planner will visit their SlideShare profile page (example http://www.slideshare.net/dougdevitre) and follow these steps:

  1. Click on Get a Widget
  2. Choose the type of widget based on your preferences:
    1. SlideShare Playlist – larger space on website/blog
    2. Presentation Pack – larger space on website/blog
    3. Sidebar widget – for smaller space on website/blog
    4. Choose the My Groups/Events feed and select from the drop down menu the title of the SlideShare event.
    5. Type the title of the Playlist or Presentation pack
    6. Preview the changes
    7. Copy the code from SlideShare
    8. Embed into your website/blog for FREE

Here is what the Presentation Pack or SlideShare Playlist will look like on your website.

Click on any presentation on the right and then use the arrows to navigate the slides.

If the speaker does not want to share their PowerPoint presentation then that is fine.  It is their intellectual property.  However, by not sharing the resources they may not receive the same attention or follow up from attendees than those who do actively share their presentations.

dougdevitre

Organizations bring in Doug Devitre when they want to dramatically improve marketing, productivity, and sales performance with the latest technology. He is changing the way consultants consult, coaches coach, and trainers train professionals with his creative approach to using technology focused on business outcomes. The University of Missouri-Columbia Business School Entrepreneur of the Year, National Association of Realtors Business Specialties Hall of Fame Educator, and Certified Speaking Professional of the National Speakers Association brings a power-packed, innovative punch to managing organizational change outlined in his latest book Screen to Screen Selling™ : How to Increase Sales, Productivity, and the Customer Experience With the Latest Technology. Now Doug is focused on creating thought leadership on how businesses can use the Amazon Alexa platform to reduce operational costs and improve workplace productivity.

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