By now, most people know what a hashtag is, but for those who don’t, here is a brief overview of what hashtags are:
The # (pound symbol), also known as a hashtag, is a special label used on social media platforms to help distinguish and group content, keywords or topics. Hashtags are used to collect opinions, share events and breaking news, and promote businesses while giving people another way to search for topical content in real time.
Now that you understand hashtags, here are four ways they can be used to build your brand:
- Brand Hashtags
- Campaign Hashtags
- Trending Hashtags
- Content Hashtags
To help market themselves many businesses create their own branding hashtags. A Brand Hashtag is usually your company name or a tagline that describes your business. The goal is to make it the main hashtag that you and your customers use on social media when posting content about your brand.
TIP: In order to “own” a hashtag it’s a good idea to research social media sites before claiming the hashtag so that your brand content doesn’t get grouped in with other unrelated or unwanted posts.
Example: Nike and Nike customers use the #justdoit tagline to help promote the brand. They do this by sharing images, motivational videos or pharases associated with the #justdoit hashtag, and this has lead people to believe they can be successful too just by wearing Nike products and share their personal experiences on social media while connecting on a different level with the brand.
A Campaign Hashtag uses the name of a current marketing campaign or contest name. Campaign hashtags allow your customers to engage with you throughout the promotion and also create competition on social media between participants of your campaign.
Example: #DoritosRoulette was a campaign used to promote a bag of Doritos with a handful of spicy chips inside. The idea of the campaign was to dare consumers to buy a bag and eat the chips, and then submit photos of themselves on social media eating the spicy chip with the hashtag #burnselfie. The campaign took off on social media with people posting pictures of their reactions to the spicy chips. What really sparked attention was the videos people voluntarily submitted to the brand of them playing Doritos Roulette with friends, where they sit around a table and eat the chips, waiting to see who gets the spicy one.
A Trending Hashtag is a hashtag topic that has become very popular or has been sponsored by a brand. Right now only Twitter and Google+ show trending topics on their sites. Twitter Trends can be found on the left hand side of the Twitter feed, and you can change the trends based on geographic location, or who you follow. Google+ Trends can be found under the “what’s hot” section. Tagging your brand post with a trending hashtag is a great way to take advantage of popular topics in real time and reach a large audience quickly.
Example: The promoted hashtag #BondMoments by Gillette is trending because it is sponsored by the brand. Gillette sponsored the hashtag because the 24th Bond film is being released in theatres, and Gillette created a campaign around James Bond by celebrating the moments in every man’s life where he feels in control and confident. This is an easy way to get people talking about both the brand Gillette and the new Bond movie SPECTRE.
Another example is Cott Cola displaying their product creatively and using the hashtag #JurassicWorld to take advantage of this huge movie release.
A Content Hashtag is a hashtag that relates to the content that you are posting, and helps tie your brand in with other topics that are of interest to your audience. These hashtags could include a location you are at, an event you are part of, or simply a word that relates to the content you are posting.
Example: Starbucks Canada uses content hashtags such as #coffeelove and #breakfast to relate to their consumers. These hashtags appeal to potential Starbucks consumers as most of them are probably coffee drinkers. If the post also mentioned a location, for example #streetsville it would also help to target people in that area.
In the end, hashtags are easy to use and will help you reach a large group of people quickly. Hashtags are a good way to engage and interact with your customers and help expand your reach on social media. Use hashtags in the four ways described above, get creative and you will be on your way to becoming a #SocialMediaGuru.
What do you think? Do you use hashtags as a marketing tactic? Are you looking to enhance your social media strategy for your business? BTI can help you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message for more info.