Are you thinking about launching a Social Media Wall at your next event, conference, or presentation?  Social Media Walls tap into the pulse of your event by visually displaying what your crowd is posting on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks.  Social Media Walls often use one or two hashtags to collect what posts are relevant for your event (e.g. #Election2016, #SXSW, etc.) So what’s the problem?  Social Media Walls are vulnerable to a variety of misuses and manipulation that can lead to some unwanted posts at your event.

1. Hashtag Hijacking

The number one problem with a public Social Media Wall is a phenomenon called hashtag hijacking. Hashtag hijacking is when your Social Media Wall experiences a flood of posts using your event’s hashtag that have nothing to do with your event or presentation.  Because Social Media Walls trigger off of public social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram they are open to the entire world, not just participants at your event. These nefarious posts are often vulgar and/or are advertisements wanting to leverage the audience and attention of your event.  There are many examples of ways your event’s hashtag can be hijacked.  Spam, vulgarities, and otherwise unhelpful, unrelated posts are just a start.

The first step in fighting hashtag hijacking is choosing a very unique hashtag that can’t be accidentally used by unknowing users.  A good example would be #MyEvent2015.  Something common, like #nofilter for example, would not be a good hashtag to use.  The second step is to use Social Medial Wall service that lets you approve and reject posts before they’re posted to your Social Media Wall.  Many Social Media Walls do not offer this critical security feature.  This ensures you’re in control of everything your audience sees on your Social Media Wall.

2. Post Profanity

So you’ve now rejected all the posts coming into your social wall from the outside world that have nothing to do with your event. Good, but what if your legit Social Media Wall users get a little loose with their language? You may not want everyone in the crowd exposed to every post completely unfiltered.

To protect against profanity, your Social Media Wall should provide profanity filtering.  This functionality will automatically either reject and/or censor posts that contain a word that is on your banned word list.

3. Social Media Wall Stagnation & Negativity

Don’t kill the buzz of your event by having a Social Media Wall with boring posts. Or posts that have no energy or aren’t exciting.  You want an energetic Social Media Wall that’s populated by enthusiastic members of your audience.  So what should you do if your Social Media Wall keeps getting ho-hum posts and/or the occasional negative post?  Post-moderation is a great tool to edit posts before they’re published live to your Social Media Wall.  Perhaps the tone of the post is slightly off or maybe a word or two slipped past your profanity filter.  Sometimes making slight tweaks to posts before they’re published is necessary. You certainly want to have this capability just in case.

If a post is too negative or critical, you can simply reject the post or remove it if it’s already live on your Social Media Wall.

4. Capturing Post Leads

Many Social Media Wall services don’t provide a way to capture who’s posting to your Social Media Wall.  So you end up missing out on the “pot of gold” that is the list of users/posters who opted to share on your Social Media Wall.

Targeting the posters from your Social Media Wall is a great way to capture warm leads that are already fans of your brand, event, or presentation.  Make sure to choose a Social Media Wall service that captures the emails and/or usernames from your Social Media Wall’s posts.  Many Social Media Walls let you export this list so you can use it in the future for marketing and communication with your fans.

Don’t miss a great opportunity to network to fans of your brand or event.

5. Private Social Media Walls

There are situations where you may not want any external social media network influence on your event, but you would still like an awesome Social Media Wall to capture the buzz.  Some events like Government and Political conferences are sensitive and may not allow any external social media posting.  Another example is a Church or Worship event that would only want the participants that are actually attending to have the ability to post.

The answer to this is a Private Social Media Wall. Private Social Media Walls only allow posting through the Social Media Wall’s service.  They do not trigger off of public hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.  Your crowd uses the Social Media Wall’s interface to post internal messages only.  This is often as simple and easy as posting through Twitter or Instagram, but ensures that your Social Media Wall will have no outside influence from nefarious posts and hashtag hijackers.

Now you know a few pitfalls to watch out for when launching your next Social Media Wall. Make sure you choose a Social Media Wall service that’s fully featured and doesn’t just gobble up posts and blindly push them out to your public-facing, brand-representing Social Media Wall.  It can be the difference between an energetic, high-quality, thought-provoking Social Media Wall or one that is open and vulnerable to manipulation and confusing to your audience.

About The Author

Chief Technologist

Ross Newton is the Chief Technologist and Product Manager at Crowdpurr.com. When not sharing the virtues of interactive mobile-driven live events and experiences, he can be found surfing, creating 3D graphics, and watching narrative-driven indie films.

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