The power of hashtag lies in its accessibility. A hashtag is a word or phrase without spaces preceded with the # symbol and can be easily searched for based on individual interests on a social media platform1. As a brand running a digital marketing campaign on social media, the hashtag is a crucial part of the success of the campaign.
A typical example is the recent Valentine #iLoveMeToo contest we conducted on Instagram for the Dark and Lovely brand. The contest was centered on promoting self-love using #ILoveMeToo to share self-appreciation stories. The primary purpose of the contest was to increase brand awareness, engagement and reward the Dark and Lovely fans. Fans qualified to enter for the contest by mentioning 10 things they loved about themselves and using the hashtag #ILoveMeToo.
WHY YOU NEED TO HASHTAG
When running contests or giveaways on social media, it is important to use a general hashtag whenever the contest is mentioned2. The hashtag will engage followers and increase the post reach beyond current followers to their friends and people who search the hashtag directly or stumble on the post.
Developing a unique hashtag for your brand can increase brand awareness, especially when it’s used consistently. Hashtags are a great way to promote and bring together updates across your brand’s social media pages .
For example, when sponsoring live events and sharing real time updates, followers and people interested in the event can easily follow the hashtag on social platforms. This could increase the brand’s fan base as more people are likely to see your pages and follow your brand online.3
Instagram and twitter are central to the success of your campaigns when you use hashtags. However, Facebook posts should have fewer hashtags as the fewer the hashtag, the better the post performs4.
Hashtags may also serve as conversation starters where they may become trends that are popular for a period of time. #ElloBae by FalzTheBahdGuy is an example of a conversation starting hashtag. Also, jumping on popular trending hashtags may be a good way to push your message and joining in on the conversation to engage your followers. This however may not be the case if the trending hashtag topic is in direct conflict with your brand values.
- To monitor the success of your campaign
Adding consistent hashtags to your social media updates particularly on Twitter and Instagram can allow you monitor how well your content is performing5. It is important to use a hashtag that other brands aren’t using, something fairly unique to your brand. This would increase the likelihood of you seeing what people are saying about your brand and when. It will enable you to tailor your content better and consequently build a larger audience of loyal fans. According to BufferSocial, tweets with one or more hashtag are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted and consequently would enhance the performance of your campaigns6.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT HASHTAG
Hashtags are used to raise brand awareness with a unique brand tag or to promote a specific event or campaign. The more unique a hashtag is, the easier it is to monitor and the more likely it is that your brand is found on social media. Analyzing your hashtag is key to monitoring its success. You need to know how many impressions it’s getting, how many tweets it’s being used in, how many people are using it and more. To make sure you can attribute all these statistics to your campaign, you need to make sure nobody else is using it. This is the only way to ensure the figures you’re seeing are exclusively derived by your campaign. Sometimes it is ok to hijack an existing hashtag as long as you are adding value to the conversation. Don’t pick a hashtag that is too vague or common, it would dilute the essence of the hashtag7.
Keeping your hashtags short is more often than not, easier said than done. Once you start to see that your hashtags are yielding results, it can be tempting to overdo. Be warned though, while social media is notorious for moving on quickly, this is only true to a point8. No one should hold a new hashtag campaign every week. It’s fine to use them with every post, but give people a chance to take one idea at a time.
It is ideal that your hashtags should be relevant to your brand, your brand essence and your campaign messaging. This gives it more visibility and increases the chances of your hashtag been useful even in the future. If you choose a hashtag that is versatile it will serve its purpose and still have a shelf life without getting redundant because it’s not in use9.
Whenever you can make your hashtags conversational, do so. You can fit it into sentences especially on twitter and Instagram. It would definitely widen your reach
Six Two Digital – Choosing a Hashtag for your campaign (1,2,3)
TinTup – How to pick a good Hashtag (4,6)
Ink Digital Agency – Your next marketing campaign – Why it should feature Hashtags (5)
ITC Marketing Blog – The Power of the Hashtag (7,8)
BufferApp – A scientific guide to Hashtags – Which ones work when and how many (9)