The Spring tradeshow season is a busy one, only surpassed by the Fall tradeshow season. I am celebrating 20 years (!) in the event management business this year: six years as a tradeshow manager in the publishing industry and 14 years of producing the convention itself. Over the years, I have learned not to even mumble, “Now I’ve seen everything,” because I haven’t: each event presents a new opportunity, produces different results and yields new experiences.
The Spring 2015 tradeshow season was a busy one, but not because I was a road warrior, out producing a show. Instead of racking up frequent flyer miles, I spent most of my day on the Internet super highway: namely on Twitter. Hashtags and I have become especially friendly these past few months. My days started early, well before the shows opened, and ended when I had prepped for the next day’s Tweets.
As a meeting planner, I especially appreciate the value of face-to-face meetings. Unless you’re in sales and marketing (or a meeting planner or tradeshow manager), you probably attend only one or two shows a year: if that. Meetings – or conventions, in this instance – create a unique opportunity for attendees to meet and greet. Encouraging the use of social media during events – either as a show producer or consumer – expands networks, forges bonds and creates opportunity.
I love following event-specific hashtags whether I’m at the event or not. I feel a part of the goings on, even when I’m sitting in my office versus tromping miles of concrete floor. These past few months, I’ve noticed a few hashtag trends that I’m not so fond of: and will strive to avoid during the next event that I produce:
- If you plan an event and expect attendees to use social media prior to or during your meeting, select a hashtag that is specific to your event and only your event. Devise a hashtag that is unique to your organization and to your event. Research your hashtag of choice before you begin promoting it. Dueling hashtags are confusing and frustrating for us Tweeters.
- Make sure that your staff, colleagues and brand ambassadors (i.e. board members, VIPs, etc.) are all on the same hashtag page. Each of you should be using the same event-specific hashtag. You’ll gain greater traction when your audience is following the same main hashtag.
- Promote, promote, promote: plaster that hashtag on your website, on your signage and in all of marketing materials. Tweet out your hashtag, early and often. Within reason, this promotion will never be too much.
- All hands on deck: if other areas of your organization have Twitter handles, they should all be tweeting about your event.
We event Tweeters – whether we’re at your event or not – will thank you!