Hashtags have been in social existence for a long time and now they have become an integral part of the digital ecosystem with their constantly increasing use by brands and users.
Here we have explored what are hashtags and how you can leverage them for marketing activities.
Hashtags: The Explanation
A hashtag refers to a # symbol but in the context of social media, it is a keyword or phrase with a # prefix that has been shared on social media along with a piece of content.
Twitter was the point of inception where more than a decade ago the first hashtag was shared and now the use of hashtags has been spread across all major social media platforms.
Why the Hype Around Hashtags?
Hashtags are like the flag bearers for the content that they are associated with as they provide identity to the content. From marketers to brand to the people, everyone has been using hashtags on their social profiles.
As hashtags play a key role in promoting the piece of content it is attached to. Strategic use of hashtag provides an identity to the content, easy discoverability, reach & awareness expansion, engagement, and overall performance of the content.
That is why marketers value hashtags so highly in their campaigns with all major global brands creating their unique hashtags for their marketing & advertising.
So, let’s move onto how you can leverage the hashtags for your brand marketing and derive positive outcomes.
How to leverage Hashtags for Marketing?
1. Explore & Use Relevant Hashtags
It is a consistent problem for the marketers and the brands that they create an amazing piece of content for marketing purposes but it does not have the anticipated impact on the audience.
That is where the role of hashtags comes into play as they provide discoverability to your content. The best part is that hashtags boost the organic reach of your content.
Without paid advertising and by using organic methods, it has become almost impossible to reach a wider audience.
Therefore, using relevant hashtags to your content and exploring what hashtags are most used by the audience, you can maximize the impact of your campaigns. Remember to not use vague contextual hashtags that are only slightly relevant and be precise.
2. Promote Custom Brand Hashtags
Besides using the relevant hashtags, it is also crucial that you create your own unique branded hashtags for your marketing campaign as these prove to be highly beneficial for the brand in the long-run.
Here are some examples of branded hashtags like Coca-cola’s #shareACoke, Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins, Audi #WantAnR8, Heinekin’s #OpenYourWorld, L’oreal’s #WorthSaying.
These are extremely popular hashtag campaigns created by brands with their unique hashtags. Branded hashtags do not necessarily need to have your brand name but they could contain brand slogans, taglines, keyphrases, or something that relates directly to your brand.
Custom brand hashtags provide a distinctive identity to the marketing campaign, raise awareness, brand exposure, and also help you measure the performance of your campaigns & hashtags with hashtag tracking tools.
3. Drive Conversations & Interactions
Users’ involvement with the marketing strategy or the brand is also a key metric that defines the success of a marketing campaign. Thus, it is important to drive conversation & social interactions with users.
You can leverage hashtags to encourage conversation beneficial to the brand. These conversations could be around your marketing activities, trending topics or relevant updates using the right hashtags.
The alternative is to join the currently trending conversations that the users are having on social platforms. These efforts will helps in giving exposure to your hashtags and brand to a massive audience that could lead to increased engagement.
4. Engagement with Gamification Strategy
There is nothing like an intensified user engagement with a brand and gamification marketing is the best solution to leverage hashtags and get user engagement.
The combination of brand hashtags with contests, giveaways, gifts, rewards, and leaderboards will immensely help in bring results for the brand. As people love getting rewards and this will encourage them to engage with your brand use your hashtags.
It is also a great way to encourage user-generated content created by the users as they are highly engaged with the campaign and are contributing to it with their content.
5. Encourage Creative Story-Telling
Again, Storytelling is a highly effective and emotionally-driven strategy that helps a brand in connecting with the people. Hashtags can be leveraged to encourage the users to share their own distinct stories of their experience with the brand or its products.
A hashtag is a key element in this strategy as it helps in the identification, monitoring, and management of the user-generated content around that campaign.
Customers’ stories in the marketing campaign help a brand in showcasing the superior and unique customer experience to the people and also it elevates the reputation of the brand along with building social proof.
For famous brands, it is easy to create a custom hashtag campaign but for others, it is recommended to use trending hashtags along with their custom hashtags.
6. Social Walls With Hashtag Campaigns
Till now we discussed how the hashtags can be leveraged on social media and digital platforms but social walls are a solution to leverage hashtags in offline marketing.
Offline marketing is still a huge industry with a brand putting great emphasis on it. Events, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and more such offline events also come under marketing strategies.
Social walls are a feed of engaging and interesting content around a hashtag, aggregated from social media platforms into a single feed that can be displayed in such events.
Social wall help in combining digital media with offline events to make the events more engaging and interesting for the audience. The audience can be encouraged to share their ideas, opinions, or experiences using the hashtags and this content can be displayed in real-time to the event audience.
These strategies highlight how hashtags can be beneficial in assisting your marketing campaigns. But it is important to consider that you should not overuse hashtags, keep it relevant & interesting for the audience, and encourage users to use more of your hashtag than your marketing campaigns.
Also, it is important to constantly track and measure the performance of your hashtags to measure their effectivity & efficiency. It will also help you manage & plan refined future campaigns