William Aleman | @SolaniSayz I sing in my spare time and I happen to think I’m pretty good. I’ll spend hours, whole afternoons, sometimes entire days writing and recording music. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how your ears are set up, I wasn’t formally invited to the 2015 Grammy Awards. However, I was able to follow almost every single detail regarding the Grammys in real time. I and millions of other regular people could follow along all thanks to the brilliant social media creation called the “conference hashtag.”
A conference hashtag, or a hashtag related to conferences and events, is a bridge that lends a person’s thoughts and opinions to an entire discussion. All one has to do is simply type the hashtag in the search box and you're immediately transported to the front lines of the conversation. These are extremely popular, and many times hashtags are at the root of a trend.
What does this mean for your business? You get to create a dialogue with the public. In addition to creating conversations and trends, you can capitalize on them. For example, if you pay attention to public dialogue, you can join in on the conversation. All you need is a little wit, a bit of luck, timing, and the hashtag relating to the convo, and poof. Sound simple?
Are you eager to begin? First you must research your conference hashtag; as you know, research should be the start of all the moves you make on social media. You must know and understand your target audience. It would be wise to look into the type of conversation hashtags they join. After knowledge on the participants has been compiled and processed, you should look into choosing a hashtag.
Choosing a hashtag can be tricky. Companies catch a lot of slack for not researching a hashtag before putting it to use (see DiGiorno). DiGiorno used a hashtag to join a dialogue without doing the proper research. They probably saw an opportunity in this hashtag's popularity and wanted to capitalize on the conversation to promote their business. Unbeknownst to this company, this hashtag was a gateway to a conversation on domestic abuse. Do not just jump on trends. Do some homework. If you would like to be cool and join different conversations, make sure and know what the hashtag is about.
When you want to create a dialogue, make sure the hashtag is not already being used. Take Social Media Dallas. Each month, the club hosts a speaker or some event for social media professionals in the DFW area. When they all get together, Social Media Dallas reminds participants to utilize the hashtag #smdallas. This hashtag allows those who aren’t in attendance to look at the ongoing conversation, and those who are in attendance can follow the online dialogue surrounding that night’s event. Not to mention, this hashtag allows the club as a whole to keep up with the topics that were of the most importance and factor that into the next event topic.
Using a hashtag is a simple way to start a dialogue and track it. Businesses should harness the power of the conference hashtag to keep up with and start the dialogue they want to see.