Endurance Events, Marketing Strategies and the #Hashtag

“As ridiculous as hashtags might seem to marketing veterans who remember a time before Twitter and Facebook, the younger generation and potential customers/clients don’t. To them, using hashtags is as natural and common as typing their query into the search box.” –Forbes.com

Competing in the 21st century market means focusing on innovation, and adapting to new technologies, in order to keep up with social trends. According to a study by Simply Measured, all of Interbrand’s top 100 global brands are now using hashtags in their marketing strategies. Hashtags are being used across all industries and across multiple social media channels. The Endurance Event industry is embracing hashtags with open arms. BoostBehobiaSS

Why are Endurance Event Coordinators and Sponsors using Hashtags?

Hashtags offer a variety of different benefits to Endurance Event hosts, as well as their sponsors.

• Hashtags allow event coordinators and sponsors to track the success of an event. Photos, posts, and tweets that feature an event’s hashtag, enable coordinators and sponsors to measure the degree to which their event has penetrated social channels.

• Hashtags boost engagement and excitement for the event. Leading up to the event, coordinators frequently create hashtags for events. In doing so, they are increasing the buzz on social media and augmenting virtual conversation.

• Hashtags provide more exposure for brands. Using hashtags allows for brands to be found by users based on interest. Sponsors of Endurance Events benefit from hashtags like #nikenightrun, which help bring more attention to a brand.

• Hashtags connect the individual to the community. In creating unique hashtags for an event, participants share posts and photos that connect them to other participants. This leads to the building of a community of participants, which will ultimately support extended participation in future events. The Vancouver Marathon does exactly this: #RunVan.

How are Endurance Events using hashtags?

Pic2Go’s client, The Behobia-San Sebastian, which took place on Nov. 8, has used the hashtag, #BehobiaSS in order boost awareness and bolster excitement for the event. #BehobiaSS

The Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon 2015 encouraged participants to share their running stories with the hashtag #KyivMarathon2015

Adidas is making a constant use of the "#boost your run" tagline throughout its commercial ads and events it sponsors - as the Adidas Night Run Series in Israel.

Lexus Laceup Running Series, in conjunction with Pic2Go, will be offering free race photos at its next race in Sierra Nevada. The race is being advertised with the hashtag #WeRunSoCal.

Tips on Hashtagging:

1. Make your hashtag unique and original. #norepeats.
2. Use your hashtag everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, but be consistent!
3. Keep your hashtag short and to the point. #theresnoneedforfullsentences.
4. Advertise your hashtag well before your event so that participants are ready to tag their posts and photos right away.
5. Event coordinators and sponsors should track hashtagging activity on tracking websites and applications. (Topsy, is a free website featuring twitter analytics.) #tracktagging.
6. Use a tool like Tagboard, which allows you to aggregate the results of user hashtagging and see how your hashtag is being used across multiple channels.
7. Using hashtags brings a fresh spin to your event, just don’t get too carried away#toomuchhashtagging.

Lets Put this into Practice

Let’s say we are arranging a Fast Runner 10K this December in San Jose.

1. Event Coordinators should begin by creating an interesting hashtag, something along the lines of #FastRun15 or #FR10K (you can even use both!). Coordinators should post these hashtags on the registration page for the event, as well as their Facebook page and the Facebook event page, when applicable.
2. Next, the hashtag should be used in any posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, in which the event is discussed, for example:
“16 days left to register for the #FastRun15 in San Jose! You don’t want to miss this! #FR10K”
“Get ready to share your awesome race photos from the #FastRun15!”
3. Participants should be encouraged to share their experiences and photos from the race with the hashtag #FastRun15 or #FR10K.
4. Lastly, we would use tools like Topsy and Tagboard to trace the use of hashtags on social media channels, and the success of our event, and of course the satisfaction of participants.

Written by Sarah Marlowe - Marketing and Sponsorship Advisor at Pic2Go

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