Noise and Excess of Hashtags during SXSW

Austin Convention Center

As I monitor conversations about SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive I realize a pattern of many companies asking attendees to use a special hashtag.

I understand how convenient this is for brand managers to measure conversations during an event.  From a SXSW attendee’s perspective its even hard to keep track of your own time, so remembering a hashtag can be out of the question.

Being at SXSW

For me SXSW is mainly about being in Austin, yes I will share content when I get the chance. My real priority is to make new friends and connect with friends and colleagues I only get to see once a year.

Why Not Make a contest before SXSW starts?

After making the investment to get to Austin from Puerto Rico, I am really not interested in spending a full day chasing down a Brand’s SXSW campaign to win an iPad or anything that costs less than the value of my trip.  Maybe the right approach would be to start a contest before the conference so individuals know what your company will be doing during SXSW and have them come by your booth, venue or area.

If you execute contest once everything started it will probably get lost in all the activities that will be happening during the daily events and your audience won’t be paying attention.

Before You create more Hashtags think

Before you create a hashtag think of what a day for an attendee is like and how you will add value to that person’s experience.

If you can’t find a way to enhance their trip, you might not want to add a hashtag to your audience. Giving them more to do will definitely work against you.

Find a formula where the #SXSW experience is improved either by mentioning the brand or using your hashtag. I can assure you that you will get a lot more value for your efforts in not only SXSW but any other event.

My approach is different; I seek to reach out to people when their attention is outside the noise and chaos that SXSW will bring upon them once the festival starts.

I created a collection of resources for individuals seeking insight, tips, and advice to make the most out of the SXSW Interactive experience. Feel free to review it, comment, and share the guide with someone that might benefit.

What do you think will capture your attention if you were or are going to SXSW?