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Why the hashtag is so useful for networking events

Wed 6 June 2012

On a keyboard, or phone keypad – we’re all used to seeing a hash sign, #.  On Twitter, the term Hashtag is simply where  a # sign has been placed in front of a word or group of words, (eg: #hignfy, #hislop, #glee, #londonriots, #havingabadday #bniec)  to collectively ‘tag’  or ‘group’ tweets that all mention a particular Hashtag.

This is particular useful for discussing networking events by promoting a hashtag for your event, and showcasing this at the outset in promotional materials – you can get people connecting and talking; before, during and after the event.

Effectively, a hashtag (#) is a way of searching for tweets that have a common topic.   They are effectively, an ‘anchor’ to group conversations that allow you to create communities of people all interested in the same topic. The hashtag makes it easier for them to find and share information related to a particular topic.

After the success of the BNI directors conference and the use of the hashtag #bniec – I thought I’d review how effective a hashtag can be on Twitter. Anyone can create a hashtag. There isn’t a repository where you go and ‘get one’.  You can simply create one yourself by adding the simple # before typing a keyword or group of words.  

However, it’s a good idea to ‘check’ a hashtag out before you start promoting it.  You want to check the hashtag you are about to use, is either unique, or isn’t associated to something totally irrelevant already.

For example, we used the bniec #bniec to talk about the conference, during, before and after the event  – this hashtag was used over a period of about a month to not only raise awareness for the conference but to share tips, lessons learnt and to arrange meetings between everyone going. What better way to openly discuss a major event such as the BNI Directors Conference? The Twitter reach of the bniec hashtag reached 259,576. That’s a very large number of people to engage with at the same. Twitter is the only platform that could allow for that and by using a hashtag it makes the tweets much easier to follow. There were 250 contributors and the hashtag got 4,114,571 impressions. Whilst you can take a few questions from the floor in person – that’s not engaging with every delegate that’s going or talking about the event

So next time you go to a networking event or organise one be sure to create a hashtag for it – that way you can promote the event and create a buzz, share any resources and discuss any thing prior or after the event.

Just remember that if you want people to use a hashtag, (so you can create an audience around a topic) you need to promote it effectively

 

Happy Hashtagging 

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