Any digital marketing professional worth their salt will tell you how immensely potent Twitter can be as a marketing tool. The social network now boasts over 350 million users worldwide, with more than 100 million active users who log in every day.

Here in the UAE, the total number of Twitter users in 2015 stood at 2.6 million – that’s more than a quarter of the country’s total population. With WhatsApp (4.6 million users) and Facebook (3.8 million users) being the only two networks in the country with a bigger user base, it’s clear why brands must see Twitter as a main component of their digital marketing strategy.

Last year Twitter introduced new features like improved Twitter cards, advertising / sponsored hashtags and video integration with Periscope App in the MENA region, making the platform even more powerful than ever before.

As far as Twitter’s powerful features go, there are none more popular than our very own # or hashtag. We’ve seen it being abused by the Instagram generation (Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake will sum it up for me) and discarded as a useless fad by the sceptics; yet this pound sign that turns words into searchable links is behind most campaigns that go viral on Twitter and other social networks.

Right! Now that we’ve established how powerful Twitter is, how do we ensure event marketing success on this social network and what’s the best way to use the hashtag? Well, here are some basics:

 

Know your hashtags well

Golden rule: Hashtags shouldn’t be difficult, long, confusing or unrelated.

For the record, #thisisthebestdayofmylife is not a hashtag – at least not from a marketing point of view. This is the hashtag abuse I was referring to earlier. A good example of a proper hashtag for an event is the #CES2016 used by Consumer Electronics Show for this year’s exhibition – it follows the Golden rule to a T.

On Twitter, you shouldn’t use more than two or three hashtags in a single post; it doesn’t work like Instagram, where experts advise using 10 to 20 hashtags per post. In fact, using more than three hashtags per post in Twitter decreases impressions, shares and retweets significantly. Here’s a PostPlanner guide to further explain hashtags and their use.

Expert tip: Before finalising on a hashtag campaign try to find out if it has been used on social media before. Also, once your campaign starts, be sure to have a contingency plan in place for a ‘what if’ situation. We all know what happened to McDonalds with their #McDStories campaign.

 

Even the best hashtags require promotion

Creating a hashtag isn’t enough; you need to promote it so that the Twitterati and your event attendees know what it’s about.

Twitter marketing / promotions should start weeks before the actual event. You can create tweets, schedule them in advance, include images, hashtags, videos and external links (shortened ones), event info, highlights and much more in your 140-character canvas.

Hashtags are a great way to create pre-event conversations and networking opportunities. Sending your database emails and advertising your hashtags on other social networks like Facebook and Instagram will be a great start to your campaign.

Sweepstakes, Contests and Prize Giveaways are also extremely effective ways to promote your event on Twitter. Giving your target audience an incentive to get involved will ensure they become your promoters.

At the event, make sure your hashtags are everywhere – display screens, posters, printed collateral, giveaways, t-shirts, napkins and pretty much everywhere you can think. Also make sure you tell people to use the hashtag and follow the hashtag for event updates.

 

Make your event Twitter-friendly

Your event will become a goldmine of user-generated content if you provide attendees photo opportunities (whether by having a celebrity, a quirky display figure like a supercar, or perhaps a newsworthy event like a reveal). Attendees using the event hashtag and tweeting photos and videos LIVE from the event is every marketer’s dream. You can even have a Tweet Wall at the event where tweets sent with your hashtag are boradcasted in real time. Seeing their own tweet on the big screen is bound to encourage attendees to tweet more.

 

Get partners and sponsors involved

Your event will definitely generate Twitter publicity if you promote your event hashtag well. An easy way to take the promotions up one level is by getting your partner companies, local businesses and sponsors involved. If your event has 10 sponsors, it means 10 or more Twitter accounts – hopefully with big following – tweeting and promoting your event and hashtags.

 

Influencers are very important

Twitter influencers can be related or unrelated to your business, but what’s important is their massive following. Getting a Twitter account with 500,000 followers tweet your content and hashtags means an instant increase in your coverage. If you are promoting social media marketing and an expert like Jeff Bullas gives you a retweet, imagine the boost your post will receive instantly.

 

Twitter Advertising is your best friend

Advertising and sponsored content is a great way to achieve instant results and target exactly the demographic you want to target. With Twitter advertising you can promote tweets, promote your account as well as promote your hashtags. Combine this with the tactics discussed above and you have yourself some great ways to get your event / hashtag trending on Twitter and achieve some amazing results.

If you’ve used Twitter to promote your event or brand recently, we’d love to hear from you. Let’s continue the conversation, Tweet to us @EventsGEM

Asif Nazir
Digital Marketer
Global Event Management Group

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