There's more to hashtags than the goal of trending. An effective event hashtag can boost publicity, word of mouth and attendee engagement. Kimberly Eberl, owner of Motion PR, offers insight into her favorite social media platforms with sound advice for hashtagging and the greater impact of these practices.

When it comes to events, there are three distinct PR pushes: before, during and after. Facebook is a great tool for pre-event promotion; utilizing the Event Page can effectively reach a huge population. During the event, Instagram and Twitter are perfect for giving people live updates with pictures, comments and opinions. Post event, however, all three are great ways to wrap-up and continue the conversation. Create a hashtag you can use across all three platforms to gather unified coverage. And always engage—ask for feedback and respond to posts, even if they are negative.

To create the hashtag, first know it has to tie back to the larger community’s conversation by being relevant and timely. Tie it to something everyone is talking about, i.e. holidays, sports, weather or entertainment. Also, be sure hashtags are short, catchy and memorable. For example, our client StarEvents used #BLVD2014 to promote an upcoming street festival. The unique hashtag created a platform for the event weeks before it actually took place.

It’s also ideal to promote the hashtag in other avenues, i.e. in a press release, and on signage, nametags and flyers, etc. The more people who see it, the more likely they will be to include it in their posts and translate their off-line experience online.

Social media gives events instant and personal coverage; attendees who haven’t met are given the opportunity to connect to one another, and from an event organizer standpoint, it extends the length and impressions beyond the physical time and location of an event. 

KIMBERLY EBERL is the owner of Motion PR and an award-winning public relations expert with 15 years of experience. Many of her clients enlist support for social media engagement, event promotions and media relations, and Kimberly makes sure those tactics work in concert for maximum exposure.

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