Adelaide is a happening place this time of year. We’ve already had the Fringe Festival, Tour Down Under, the Adelaide Festival, Soundwave, Womadelaide, Adelaide Food & Wine Festival, and there are many more events to come. Such events often draw many tourists from interstate and overseas and these visitors can benefit from your goods and services, if they are aware of you.
Be a part of the conversation
Even though your business may not be directly involved in these events you can still jump in and participate on social media as a neighbourhood authority. Your own local knowledge can benefit others who are wanting to find information about the area. Mingling with others online who are talking about the event raises awareness of your goods and services with these visitors and introduces them to your business.
Twitter: backbone of the social web
Twitter is one of, if not the, most used platforms in conjunction with events and is often used as the backbone to other services. Many of the major social networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and GooglePlus have integrated Twitter as a means of sharing their information with the public.
Keeping an eye on Twitter and interacting with others there during an event can provide great commercial opportunities for local business.
FourSquare, the world’s most popular location sharing app and regarded as the “location layer of the internet”, recently united with Twitter to enable users to include their location in their tweets.
Earlier this year in February, Twitter also renewed a partnership with Google allowing the search engine giant access to it’s API, or ‘firehose’ of real-time activity on Twitter. Your tweets are now indexed by Google immediately after they are posted on Twitter and show up in Google search results.
This recent union of location and search with Twitter is terrific news for businesses that are using Twitter!
Hashtags: the cross-platform unifier
The simple concept of a keyword beginning with a pound sign was invented by Twitter user Chris Messina eight years ago. Hashtags have now become ubiquitous on the web, and even stretching outside of the internet appearing on television programs, commercials and news broadcasts.
how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?— ☞ Chris Messina ☜ (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
Other platforms such as Facebook, GooglePlus, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etc, and new comers Meerkat & Periscope have taken up the hashtag function and built it into their systems. A great benefit of this is that these clickable keywords retain their functionality across multiple platforms. The hashtags used in a post to Instagram, for example, will still function as links to related content when that post is shared to Twitter.
One detail you need to be aware of though is that some characters are not supported by certain platforms. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to avoid using +, !, $, %, -, ^, &, or * in your hashtags.
Finding the most relevant Twitter hashtags
Use the search function on Twitter to search for the event name. You’ll see in the search results some of the hashtags that are being used in relation to the event. If you are using the Twitter mobile app you can save the searches of these commonly used hashtags to make it easier to switch between hashtags.
There are also a range of online tools that can be utelised to find the appropriate hashtags, here are just a few:
- Hashtagify – find the best hashtags to reach your audience – and it is completely free.
- RiteTag – RiteTag provides you a set of tools to maximize your return on hashtags.
- Hashtags.org – Organising the world’s hashtags.
- Tagboard – uses hashtags to collect public social media within seconds of being posted.
- Keyhole – a real-time hashtag tracker for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- TweetReach – Find out who else is tweeting that hashtag…and much more.
Before the event see if you can locate those who will be attending, whether they be participants or punters. If you’re not comfortable tweeting to them directly, you can get their attention by retweeting or favouriting one or two of their tweets, or by following them. Reaching out and making these connections with them prior to the event will establish a level of trust and familiarity.
In the build up to the event, search for relevant people who are actively sharing information related to the event, consider following them and sharing their content with your audience.
During the event search for activity on Twitter using search terms and hashtags, find photos and retweet or favourite them and reply to the person who took the photo. To make these retweets most useful to others, I usually like to add my own short comment or hashtag to propel the tweet further.
Your business can provide a free service for an event by curating others’ content. Instead of sharing single YouTube videos as you find them, compile them into a playlist and share that to those who are following the event. Create a Twitter list of accounts that are involved in the event and share that to Twitter with the appropriate hashtags to create a richer experience for others who are following the event.
If you have a website consider creating an event page, with an embedded YouTube playlist or photo slide show, a custom Google Map, or a Twitter feed based on hashtags related to the event. By curating this sort of event-related content you are adding value and providing a free service to others. Each time you share that event page with the community you are also bringing visitors to your website and promoting your business as a result.
When to tweet about yourself?
How you work your self-promotional tweets into the stream can be tricky without sounding too spammy and should always ensure that your tweets are relevant to the discussion. A general rule is to talk about the event and share event related tweets from others about 70% of the time and include relevant information about your own business about 30% of the time.
You can search out tweets from people looking for services that you offer in the area and respond to them. Twitter’s advanced search is useful for this task as you can hone your search with fine grained controls, or you can use one of the many third party tools as suggested above.
Putting a village on the map
A couple of months ago the 2015 World Alpine Ski Racing Championships was held in Vail, Colorado. Over 100,000 fans and spectators turned up to experience the renowned sporting event.
Nearby in the Vail Valley is a town called Eagle, which covers about 2.4 square miles and has a population of about 6,500 and 135 businesses.
I worked with a team of GooglePlus consultants that helped sixteen of these local businesses in Eagle “get on the Google Map” so they could be found easily in local searches, and thereby take advantage of this global event happening right next door.
A case study that documents the process and conclusions can be found here: Local Businesses on Google Maps – A Case Study.
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