Most conferences these days feature a hashtag for both attendees and followers from afar to “meet” each other and share highlights from the event.  For both marketers and enterprising individuals looking to accelerate their own networking ROI, conference hashtags also represent a significant opportunity to catalyze your objectives.

But like a lot of things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Below are a handful of best and worst practices for your next event.

Do

Retweet and reply to others
Especially during an event, Twitter is about the community. It’s not enough to just share your own tweets, ideas and contributions with others. The more you interact with fellow attendees – reply to their ideas, retweet their content, etc. – the more likely others will follow you, click on your content, and otherwise engage with you during and after the event.

Give attribution where it’s due
If you’re sharing a comment from the stage, give credit to the presenter. Use their own Twitter handle whenever possible. Not a bad way to get the speaker’s attention (and have him/her both follow you and retweet your quote). If you make it look like the idea or quote is yours, everyone else at the event will know it didn’t come from you. And that’s not a good way to build credibility.

Share statistics
The fastest way to get your hashtagged tweets to go viral is to quote statistics shared throughout the event. Without fail, statistics tend to drive greater pass-along especially among those both following the event from afar, as well as from their secondary followers.

Start watching & posting early

Don’t wait until the conference starts to follow and participate in the hashtag. Start watching at least 1-2 weeks beforehand. Volume will be light, but your own posts are most likely to be noticed, and you’re more likely to find people you want to meet once you get there. Consider writing a specific pre-event blog post and posting it in the hashtag feed a couple days before the event. Great tactic to drive immediate retweets and visibility.

Find & meet the high-volume tweeters
Pay attention to those who are most active on the feed, and ask to meet them while you’re both in the same place. High-volume hashtag tweeters are also often among the more influential tweeters in that particular industry, association or community. Exactly the kind of people you want to know you and your business.

Don’t Do

Share only links
It’s OK to share a link to a blog post you’ve written that relates to something just covered at the event. Just don’t do this exclusively. Others following a conference hashtag, especially those at the event live, don’t have time to click on and read your blog post. If you want to get noticed and retweeted, limit your message to 140 characters for easy & fast reading.

Pitch your product
Not the time or place. It’s blatant and looks a little desperate too. Enough said.

Make up a fake persona
You laugh, but I’ve seen it done more than once. At a Sales 2.0 conference, for example, a services company decided to use a fake persona to contribute to the hashtag feed impersonating a “sales 1.0” professional. It was annoying, interruptive, and completely backfired on the business. Be yourself.

Tweet or post pictures from parties
There’s a thin line between the good party pictures, funny party pictures, and dang-I-wish-I-hadn’t-posted-that pictures. Save yourself from having to differentiate by leaving Twitter behind once the cocktail parties begin.

Over-promote your upcoming session
I know you’re excited to be on the panel. And proud that your CEO is going to be on stage. But the eighth tweet reminding us isn’t helping.