If you've ever tried to follow a #hashtag on Twitter, it can be quite challenging with tweets coming in every few seconds. Now imagine you're the event organizer: stuck between the real-world happenings of the conference and what's being said online every minute.
Luckily there's one solution in Hashcaster, a service for event organizers trying to deal with the chaos of the hashtag at socially engaged conferences.
Hashcaster wants to bridge the gap between these two parallel offline and online worlds. The company says their platform provides event organizers with the tools to join, lead and engage their audience; aggregate valuable crowdsourced content; facilitate connections among audience members and leverage new media tools to drive additional sponsorship and advertising revenue.
Examples of measurement can be found on the recent TEDxWaterloo event and from The Learning Solutions Conference held in Orlando, Florida. The service shows articles surrounding the conference, photos, how many tweets there were, which social networks beyond Twitter the hashtag was showcased, how many people were engaged, and the top influencers from any given event as you'll find in the above links among other things.
A whitepaper the company recently produced says that 95% of Twitter users are listeners. So there's a lot more people listening to you on Twitter than you might know or expect, especially when there's a popular hashtag involved.
If just a few dozen people tweet a few hundred times, as @aknecht has demonstrated with his #SocialChat that he holds on Twitter weekly on Monday nights, millions are potentially engaged. Here are the stats from last week:
Last night's #SocialChat went into overtime generating 474 Tweets (2.8 mil impressions) by 57 [people] reaching a potential audience of 1.8 mil.
Founded by Toronto's Geoff Clendenning, Hashcaster says it's not just about reaching over 200 million people on Twitter—it's about monetizing your event on Twitter. They say in their whitepaper: "Our Hashcaster consultants will work with the event organizer to develop powerful real-time advertising packages that will engage their live and online audience and drive quantifiable results for their advertisers, sponsors and exhibitors."
Event organizers must be aware that hashtags on Twitter reach more than just the audience that is present at a live event. Other interested parties that couldn't attend the event may be following or other interested persons for a variety of reasons- perhaps they're trying to take some potential followers away!
After the event's all said and done you can reflect back and look at who's following you now—they are new additions to your community.
"Twitter offers a tremendous new opportunity to listen and learn more about your audience," Hashcaster says. "What they're talking about, how they're engaging your brand, and any challenges they may encounter."