Creating online engagement in events through hashtagging : International Business Management
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The objective of this study is to exam different factors affecting to the possibility of an event patron to post content on social media with a particular hashtag. The study focuses only on the event environment. The objective is achieved by identifying the use of hashtags and how to get consumers engaged to online activities. The engaging online activity in this study is posting photos on social media with hashtags. The study creates knowledge of online engagement during events and the strategic use of hashtags in events. The study is an inductive case study, and the data was collected at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in January 2017. The theoretical framework defines what is social media, the current statistic and the phenomena around social media and what kind of challenges there are. The reasons to use social media are introduced, and the concept hashtagging is explained. The theoretical framework assesses the decision-making process of consumers, and how social media has changed it. The data was collected using two qualitative working methods. The author worked at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament and wrote a work diary during the tournament. After the actual event, a questionnaire, created based on the findings of the work diary, was sent to the Australian Open Tennis Tournaments Social Media Parks volunteers. The study demonstrates that the hashtags must fill in certain requirements to be effective. The used social media platforms should be chosen according to the target audience. The customer service skills of the volunteers and the ability to communicate the idea of the hashtagging and the social media station are key features in engaging patrons to online activities in events. In addition, familiarity with social media and some technological skills are required from both the volunteers and the patrons. Moreover, the social media stations must appeal to the motives of the patrons to post photos online. The social media stations should show a presence, create emotions or get the patrons active.The study proposes also enhancements for Australian Opens social media park. In the future, the hashtags should be more visible at the event location and Australian Open should cut off the number of hashtags.The outcome of this study is a small manual for companies that plan to use hashtag marketing in events, what to consider before and on-spot at the event.