Hashtags have been around since 2007 when Chris Messina proposed the idea in a Tweet, but what people may not know is the #hashtags’ ability to boost your brand. We know hashtags are a great way to look at Tweets on the same topic, but using a #hashtag in a social media campaign for a business can drastically improve brand awareness and presence on the Internet.
Hashtags as a Marketing Tool
If you look at major brands today, most if not all of them use social media and hashtags to gain and maintain their audience. So what are the benefits of using hashtags in a marketing campaign?
- Drive Engagement. Using hashtags has been proven to increase user involvement in the Tweet. It has been shown to lead to more retweets, replies, and favorites.
- Test your message. You can tell whether or not your message or hashtag is gaining traction by the number of people who use your hashtag and whether or not it trends.
- Use across multiple platforms. While hashtags are mainly used on Twitter, it is possible to link them to all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest).
- Trackability. You can see how you compare to other hashtags and see how many people use your hashtag.
During the Super Bowl, Volvo completed the #greatestinterceptionever by using their competitor’s car commercials as a way to drive the traffic to their brand through social media. Other companies spent millions of dollars on airtime so that you would look to their commercial, but Volvo intercepted and moved the view to Twitter with the hashtags #VolvoContest and #VolvoInterception. Because of this, Volvo was the only car company to trend during the SuperBowl and is now proof of how #hashtag marketing can benefit one’s business.
In all types of marketing, it is important to develop a strategy, and #hashtag marketing is no different. When starting your strategy remember the difference between a campaign hashtag and a brand hashtag. A campaign hashtag is used to bring awareness to a specific campaign the company is doing, for example, Burt’s Bees used #BringBackTheBees for their disappearing honey bees campaign. A brand hashtag is just what you would think – about the brand, so something like #BurtsBees.
- Create an Identity. In order to have a successful campaign, it is important to have a niche or identity.
- Brainstorm hashtags.
- Research. Make sure the hashtag you are planning on using in not already in use by some other company or cause. Also, it protects you from being linked to something you may not want to be linked to. (We don’t have to tell you that there is weird stuff on the Internet!)
- It’s time to choose! Pick just one from your list of ideas if the hashtag is for a campaign. If for brand awareness, chose a slogan hashtag and a brand name one.
- Note: Make your hashtag easy to read by capitalizing all new words in a phrase.
- Go for it!