Every marketing can really give your brand a boost. Done well, you can suddenly wake up one morning and find that you’ve got thousands upon thousands of new followers across all of your social networks – a gratifying reward for all your extra hard work and efforts. Done poorly, and indeed, all those extra hours, cold calls and sleepless nights will have been in vain.
So, how do you ensure the former scenario as opposed to the latter? Well, one sure fire way is to get your event hashtag – #EventName – trending on Twitter. Brilliant!! But how do you do that…? Hmm, here’s where things get a little trickier.
Something is only deemed to be trending on Twitter when literally thousands of users are all talking about the same thing at the same time. It’s no mean feat, of course, since you have no control over world events, breaking sports news or celebrity blunders that tend to capture the imagination of the Twittersphere much more easily.
Indeed, writing for the Huffington Post last year, Simon Tam laments the difficulty of getting even the most significant political happenings noticed above all the other ‘important’ stuff that’s going on:
“On September 21, 2014, the world woke up to thousands of marches across the planet under one unifying message: leaders need to take immediate, decisive action on climate change. In New York City, a line of over 310,000 people stretched nearly three miles long. That was one of almost 2,700 events in 156 countries. Despite this unprecedented outpouring, the top trending tweets were about American football, celebrities, and cat videos.”
Feeling discouraged, Tam turned to Twitter to try and promote what was happening with the hashtag #PDXclimatenow.
As his article goes on to explain, Tam wasn’t alone in trying to rally the troops, but in the end, as the protesters and various media got involved with the tweeting, the actual successful hashtags that emerged were #peoplesclimatemarch and #peoplesclimate – and indeed, one of these managed to achieve the status of ‘trending’ on Twitter.
I’ve chosen to relay Tam’s story in this blog post because it illustrates brilliantly what to my mind is one of the most important things that should be taken into account when trying to get your event (or anything else for that matter) trending on Twitter – the promotion of a single, unified hashtag. That’s the top tip that you will find below, plus 2 others that are just as important. Good luck with your event!!
3 Ways To Get Your Event Trending On Twitter
1. Promote One Hashtag Only
It’s extremely important that you maintain control of your event’s hashtag. That means that you need to be the one who comes up with it in the first place, and from there ensure that it is that hashtag and no other variations that get used by tweeters. This means that you need to get the ball rolling early. Make sure that the hashtag is included in every invite that you send out, whether in emails, private messages or on printed materials. Also, make the hashtag stand out on your website, put it in your blog posts, include it in your press releases, and anything that you post on social media that is related to the event.
Indeed, make sure that you start talking about your event using your chosen hashtag as soon as possible, and pay particular attention to any engagement that you manage to generate on your tweets.
A great way to do this is to personally thank each and every tweeter who favourites, retweets or comments on your hashtagged posts on their wall, using the hashtag once again. This way you can legitimately increase the reach of your tag as it begins to appear on Twitter feeds throughout your network.
It’s also a great idea to give an example of how people should use your hashtag in these early instances. For instance, I’ve just headed over to Twitter and found the Financial Times currently working hard to promote their upcoming event using the #FTInnovate hashtag. By clearly showing how it should be used, other attendees follow suit.
Here’s the FT:
And here’re a couple of attendees using the hashtag:
2. Get Your Sponsors And Speakers Using The Tag
Your event will have been a long time in the making, and you will no doubt have taken the wise decision to partner up with a sponsor or two along the way. As such, your sponsors will be hoping for the event to have as much exposure as you do, and so you will find that these companies will be most willing to comply when you ask them to use the hashtag in all of their tweets as well.
And of course, don’t stop with your sponsors. The speakers that you have organised for your event will no doubt be influencers of some type or other. You will have chosen them because of their reputation in your industry, and as such they will have an excited following who may very well be attending your event just to hear their favourite speaker talk. So, ask you speakers in the run up to the event if they can do everything that they can to create a buzz by using your event hashtag when they’re tweeting about it. They will probably be doing this anyway, but it won’t hurt to make sure.
3. Encourage Use Of The Hashtag With A Competition
During the event itself is the best time to hope to get trending. Indeed, trends are all about what’s happening now, rather than what’s happened or will happen in the future. As such, the work that you have put in using the above points will essentially form the groundwork from which your live event will hopefully grow explosively at show time.
So, you want to try and encourage your attendees to get tweeting whilst they’re at your event, and this can be achieved by hosting a competition. All your attendees will need to do to enter is post a tweet with the hashtag whilst they’re there. How you determine the winner – and indeed the prize – will be up to you. It could be that you reward the guest with the most tweets a pair of free tickets to your next event, or you could give away a bag of cool swag to the tweeter who gets the most engagement. However you decide to do it, by incentivising tweets, you will add an element of competition and fun to the event for your guests, and will simultaneously be engendering a huge drive towards getting the event trending on Twitter.
What other tips and tricks do you use to get your event trending on Twitter? Perhaps you encourage your audience to ask questions to speakers using the hashtag, or live steam the Twitter feed on monitors around the event. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.