Using a hashtag is one of the smartest ways to organise and share information at an event or conference. According to e-GPS co-founder, Alison Mudie, a hashtag can increase engagement and create a lasting legacy for the event. For the technically challenged, a hashtag is a key search term used within social media to identify tweets and messages around a particular issue or event and allow users to hook into social media conversations quickly and easily.

Here are Alison’s top tips for using hashtags:

Be unique
With millions of hashtags in use across multiple platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+) it’s important to choose one that’s unique to your event and try searching for your chosen hashtag  to ensure it’s not already in use.

Short is best
With shorter hashtags you can avoid using too many of Twitter’s precious 140 characters and stay on message. Use acronyms and dates.

Say no to spaces
A hashtag will not become a live tag (a searchable hashtag with links to other tweets and posts listed under that topic) unless it contains absolutely no spaces or punctuation. Adding a space or a comma to a hashtag breaks the link. If you need a space, use an underscore instead.

Promote your hashtag
In the event lead-up, be sure to promote your unique hashtag across a wide social media audience. Use topic hashtags and link back to the event website. You’ll create interest in the conference theme and drive traffic back to the website where attendees can register.

Don’t go #crazy
Avoid spattering your tweet/post with unnecessary or irrelevant hashtags. Keep it simple. Best practice is to add your unique event hashtag to every tweet associated with that event. You can add one or two additional topic hashtags and a mention to increase your search-ability and RT potential.

Established in 2012 by Alison Mudie and Lisa Maude, e-GPS specialises in building a strong online and social media presence for health care professionals and general practice. For more information, visit www.e-gps.com.au

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