Using Twitter hashtags to promote your event will help raise awareness in advance, encourage attendance, enable those who are there to track the event and those who aren't able to attend to follow along.
These screenshots show the way that the New England Museum Association (NEMA) promoted and used a hashtag for their 2013 conference. As you can see, they included it in their conference program (top), as well as other communications. Attendees included it in their tweets; a search on #nema2013 on Twitter returns all of the tweets that included that hashtag.
The last screenshot shows the hashtag on the event page on The History List. We've added a box to the "Add event" form where you simply type it in. (We didn't have this in-place before the 2013 NEMA conference, but created a mock up for this example.)
- Create a hashtag—Because anyone can create a hashtag, you have a better chance of activity focusing on one hashtag if you get out in front and establish one early on. Check the hashtag you're thinking about using to see if someone else has used it recently. Ideally, your event hashtag should be unique. It should also be short since every character counts against your maximum message length of 140 characters.
- Include it in your site, e-mail messages about the event, press release announcing it, conference program, and tweets about the event.
- Include it on your event page on The History List.
- Encourage your speakers and attendees to include it in their tweets.
- Include it on your signage at the event.
- Post it in the session rooms and encourage your speakers to announce it as a reminder.
Here's one attendee's reaction to using Twitter and a conference hashtag extensively:
This was the first conference I have devoted any real time to Twitter. The #nema2013 hashtag was lively without being overwhelmingly busy. I am sure that tweeting can be a distraction for some, but for me it’s no more distracting than taking notes (in which I sometimes go on tangents in the margins about something at school or work related to the presentation topic). I was using Twitter to connect with colleagues, but I was surprised to find that tweeting about sessions can be a very useful thought exercise. In coming up with concise restatements of a session’s biggest takeaways as it was going on, I was synthesizing and sorting information on a level and speed I rarely do. #youlearnsomethingneweveryday
— From a post by Phillippa Pitts on the Tufts University Museum Studies blog
A final note: These professional conferences and meetings now also appear on a dedicated Conferences page. More about that in the next Resources post.