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Why You Should Use Branded Hashtags for Your Business

Why You Should Use Branded Hashtags for Your Business

If you’ve ever gone online, then you’re undoubtedly aware of the “hashtag” and the powerful presence it has on social media.

While you can and should make use of industry-specific hashtags in your social media content marketing, if you really want your social media to stand out, then creating and promoting branded hashtags is one way to do it. With customized hashtags for your brand, you can localize your audience, track engagement, and magnify your brand’s visibility and social media success.

Hashtags are one of the most universally applicable and effective tools in social media marketing. They allow you to track topics, catalog discussions, market events, and according to Twitter’s own research, can double the user engagement for individuals and increase brand engagement by 50%. Everyone knows what hashtags are, and their immediate familiarity means they can be invaluable additions to your brand’s identity.

While there is literally an endless number of pre-existing hashtags your brand could make use of in their social media, you don’t have to stop there. Piggybacking off of another hashtag can be useful for capitalizing on a new trend, but other than that, existing hashtags can become so overpopulated that your content will get lost in the crowd.

Instead, you should try creating your own branded marketing hashtags for your business. With these unique tags, you can easily collect all of your brand’s social media under one banner while simultaneously providing your audience with an easy way to spread the good news about the products and services you offer. Branded hashtags are versatile and unique tools that can be a great resource in your ongoing social media marketing efforts.

If you’re interested in seeing what branded hashtags can do for and your business’ marketing, take a look at the following examples and examinations, which will help illustrate how useful a single, customized hashtag can be in your social media marketing.

Why You Should Use Branded Hashtags for Your Business
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They Build Conversation

If you’re looking to build a conversation around your brand, there are few things more effective than creating a custom hashtag. If you need an example, just take a look at Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign.

Share a Coke

When the #ShareACoke hashtag first began to draw attention around 2013, The Guardian reported how “Young adult consumption increased significantly, up by 7%. The campaign also earned a total of 18,300,000-plus media impressions, and traffic on the Coke Facebook site increased by 870%, with page likes growing by 39%.” This simple hashtag was such a hit that it took social media by storm, lead to some powerful partnerships—such as the one from above with Walt Disney world—and remains in regular circulation today.

The key to Coca-Cola’s success here is their inclusivity. While the marketing campaign was geared towards the younger, more social media savvy generation of 18-25-year-olds, Coca-Cola had the foresight to create a campaign that could be comfortably adopted by anyone. To go back to The Guardian, “Today's consumers want to feel unique, and giving users something affordable and personalized is a key way to succeed.”

When you’re creating a custom hashtag for your brand, you want to come up with something short, memorable, and inclusive. It should reference your brand—as the whole point of branded hashtags is to help promote your brand—but you don’t want to be so narrow that it can only be used in dialogues about your company.

This is another thing that Coca-Cola did right with #ShareACoke. The hashtag is clearly branded, but the visual aspect they based it around—bottles of Coke with a variety of names printed on them—included their audience and facilitated a uniquely personal approach. On top of that, the hashtag is also an effective CTA, as it outright encourages the customer to share a photo of their product.

how to monitor social media 10 minutes a day

They Let You Track Engagement

As you begin using your own branded hashtags, you’re going to want to test them in order to see what kinds of engagement they earn. Ideally, this would involve testing your social media content in order to find:

  • The best time of day to post

  • The best day of the week to post

  • How images or videos affect engagement and sharing

  • How long your captions should be

  • What hashtags perform best

  • How many hashtags attract the most engagement

Once you know what kind of social media content performs well, then you can hyperfocus on your branded hashtags. Just like any other hashtag, brand hashtags help you collect all of the discourse on your brand in one place. Simply by searching the hashtag, you can see every tweet, Instagram photo, and use it as a baseline for gauging what kinds of people are engaging with your brand, what their opinions are, and how you can interact with them in the most effective and meaningful ways.

If you’re not finding a lot of engagement with your branded hashtag, then you might want to consider adjusting the hashtag so that it’s more appealing to your customers. However, consistent engagement does take time. So if your branded hashtag is compact, brand-specific, and memorable, then be patient.

Make sure that you use it across all of your social media channels so that your audience becomes used to seeing it. The more familiar users are with your branded hashtag, the more front-of-mind it’ll be for them, making it that much easier for your target audience to use it when they talk about your brand.  

They Can Help Publicize Events and Promotions

If you’re launching a campaign, promotion, or contest, then a branded hashtag can be the perfect catalyst to publicize the event, promote your brand, and make it easy for you to track the progress and involvement of that event. Social media is uniquely qualified to help you reach a large audience for hardly any cost, so you can host a contest, giveaway, or promotion with hardly any risk.

HubSpot says it like this: “People love to share great content, and the social channel only makes it easier to spread the word about your promotion. When done right, social media will help your contests go viral.” This is how hashtags work. They make it easy for you to attract large audiences of people, see how many people are engaged, and increase your odds of the contest catching on and going viral.

You don’t even have to be running a content to use a branded hashtag as a promotional tool. Take a look at the example from Airbnb below, where the brand’s Twitter uses a branded hashtag that includes their company name and promotes a fun poll that encourages casual audience engagement.

Airbnb - example

Like HubSpot says, “The hashtag has become the click-to-connect ticket for bonding with like-minded people. When you put something of interest out there, do a little hashtag research first, or hash out a unique phrase that reflects your brand. Hit that # key, and invite your followers to jump in.”

When you use a hashtag, you’re pointing a spotlight on a specific piece of content and encouraging others to join in on the conversation.  

Handling the Hashtag

Knowing how and when to use hashtags can be tricky in and of itself. Used wrong and they’ll annoy an audience and drive them farther away from where you want them to be. Used right and they’ll attract new visitors to your social media content and maximize its public visibility.

Branding your hashtags can be the key to maximizing their effectiveness and avoiding potential pitfalls. Since these hashtags will be unique to you and your brand, you won’t need to compete with anyone else for attention. They will also help you easily organize all of your content under a consistent tag, so anyone who comes across your hashtag will have easy access to the rest of your content, ideally converting them into a qualified lead.

How to monitor social media in 10 minutes a day


What Are Branded Hashtags?

Brand hashtags are simply one-of-a-kind social media hashtags created by a particular brand. While branding hashtags sometimes include the brand’s name, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes brands use their slogans or taglines as hashtags, such as Nike’s #JustDoIt. But companies also commonly use hashtags for branding that’s designed to promote a particular campaign or product. A few famous examples include:

  • #OreoHorrorStories by Oreo
  • #HereToCreate by Adidas
  • #LikeAGirl by Always
  • #WorthSaying By L'Oreal Paris
  • #ShareYourEars by Disney

As you can see, branded hashtags take a variety of different forms. The important thing is that each is unique, memorable, and relevant.

Why Should I Use a Brand Hashtag?

Okay, so we’ve established what a brand hashtag is. Now the question becomes, what is a branded hashtag designed to do? Several things. Well-crafted brand hashtags can help your social media marketing campaign achieve goals such as:

Encouraging user engagement

Many hashtags are designed to encourage fan participation in a campaign or challenge. Look no further for a great example than Disney’s #ShareYourEars campaign.

In November of 2018, Disney announced an easy way for fans to help support the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The premise was simple - take a photo of yourself showing off your “Mickey Mouse ears” and post it to social media with the hashtag #ShareYourEars.

For each photo posted, Disney agreed to add $5 to their total donation pledge. The campaign was an epic success that ended up raising over 2 million dollars.

Increasing brand awareness

The more your followers re-share your hashtag in their own posts, the better chance it has of engaging users who may not be familiar with your brand. That’s why it’s so important to create branded hashtags that are worth re-sharing!

Disney’s #ShareYourEars campaign and the ALS Foundation’s #ALSIceBucketChallenge are both excellent examples of just how far a great charity drive or contest can go. But there are also plenty of other ways to convince fans your content is worth sharing.

The #LikeAGirl campaign from Always revolved around share-worthy content designed to empower women and girls everywhere. Charmin’s #tweetfromtheseat campaign used the power of humor to convince people all over the world to tweet hilarious bathroom-themed posts.

Tracking engagement

Tracking brand sentiment across social media can be tricky, but branded hashtags can make it a whole lot easier. It’s important to develop brand hashtags that are completely unique to your brand.

That way tracking engagement is as easy as typing them into the search bar of any given social media site. A scroll through user posts should give you a good idea of how much buzz your hashtag is managing to generate.

When You Should Use Branded Hashtags?

In general, you should use brand hashtags when you know exactly what you want them to accomplish. Resist the urge to go overboard by releasing a new branding hashtag each week. This strategy can overwhelm your followers and tank your goals by never giving any single hashtag enough time to take flight.

Try to reserve the branded hashtag for special occasions or specific goals, such as:

  • Creating buzz around an upcoming product release
  • Introducing a new brand slogan
  • Announcing a contest
  • Special sales or promos
  • The release of a campaign

Tips on Creating Brand Hashtags

Developing solid branding hashtags can be an art in itself. Here are several tips on how to create a branded hashtag that gets results.

Start with your goals. Know exactly what you want your hashtag to achieve, whether it be brand awareness or follower engagement.

Keep it simple. Remember, your goal is to encourage followers to use your hashtag in their own posts - keep them short, sweet, and easy to spell.

Ensure originality. Branded hashtags should always be unique to your brand. Do you research to make sure any potential hashtags aren’t already being used.

Consider incorporating your brand name. While this may not be necessary for large, well-known businesses, it can help new and upcoming brands generate awareness.

Check out the competition. Researching what’s worked for other brands in your niche can help get your creative gears turning and lead to inspirational insights.

How to Promote Your Brand Hashtag

Once your brand hashtag is ready to go, all that’s left to do is get it out into the world. Start by promoting it on other marketing materials, such as:

  • Your website
  • Social profile bios
  • Newsletters, and customer emails
  • Coupons
  • In-store signs (if applicable)
  • Packaging

Of course, you’ll also want to share your brand hashtags in social media posts, preferably alongside other hashtags. Combining it with more broadly searched hashtags can help generate traffic until your hashtag reaches trending status. Last but not least, consider reaching out to relevant influencers who might be willing to help you get the word out.

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