Social media marketing is a constantly evolving landscape, although hashtags have stayed mostly the same. Every day on Twitter and other hashtag-friendly platforms like Instagram, new hashtag campaigns emerge and dissipate with varying success. Honestly, if you’re not directly analyzing how well these campaigns performed it’s hard to tell what makes a good hashtag. There are many factors that go into designing a social media campaign and choosing a hashtag for marketing the whole thing is integral!
Choosing a Hashtag For Marketing Campaigns and More:
Starting off as something relatively light-hearted, hashtags have grown into a powerful marketing tool that nearly all brands take advantage of. It’s a mind-blowingly simple concept even though the recipe for success is nuanced. When brands utilize hashtags in their marketing campaigns, they’re mainly looking to accomplish any number of things such as:
- Creating brand awareness
- Increasing their content’s visibility
- Making it easier to track content
- Boosting followers and retweets
- Getting their audience involved
- Promoting upcoming events
- Running a contest
- Launching a new product
Obviously, all of these things can be included in a single campaign! At the same time, you may want to find a hashtag that can accomplish only one of these goals more succinctly. Choosing a hashtag for marketing campaigns isn’t impossible, but it takes specific considerations.
How to Choose a Hashtag
While these following tips can be modified as needed, there are some best practices that we’ve seen succeed time and time again.
1. Keep it Original
You can’t differentiate any of your marketing efforts if your hashtag resembles another brand’s attempts. There will almost always be some overlap. Before settling on a hashtag for your whole campaign, search for variations or even similar campaigns to yours. On the flip side, avoid ripping off someone else’s hashtag in a similar industry — it’s much more likely to hurt your campaign than help it!
2. Keep it Concise
Generally, you’ll want to keep your hashtag between 2 and 4 words. Choosing a hashtag for marketing campaigns means instantly communicating something about your brand and efforts overall. If the average person can’t immediately read and recognize your unique tag, it’s best to think of something else. Also, consider using Title case to make it easier to read:
—> #travelnursejobfair vs. #TravelNurseJobFair
This is a particularly pertinent point when it comes to misreadings of a hashtag:
— Michael Osborne (@MikeOzzy) January 3, 2018
3. Keep it Broad… Enough
Even though you’re running the campaign, it’s more about getting reach than anything else. Your audience needs to relate and use your hashtag, so it shouldn’t be completely about your brand and nothing else. Choosing a hashtag for marketing campaigns comes down to who can apply the tag and what value it provides an audience. Is it easily applied to their life or product experience? If not, keep brainstorming!
4. Focus Your Intentions
Not to be confusing, but while you’re creating a hashtag for a broad reach you also want to narrow your message. It’s a delicate balance between finding a broadly relatable hashtag and something that still communicates your campaign goals. Think of all the ways a hashtag might be misconstrued by an ever satirical and “trolling” internet. Even the most well-meaning of hashtags can be hijacked by neigh sayers…
5. Incorporate National Celebrations
One of the best ways to find a great campaign hashtag by finding other trending topics or national celebrations. A great example is KFC’s social posts from July 2017. When the fast-food chain noticed that #NationalFriedChickenDay was trending on Twitter, they immediately jumped aboard:
— KFC (@kfc) July 6, 2017
While this is a great example, there are also plenty of “epic hashtag fails.” The number one rule? Don’t exploit the misfortune of others to sell your product. Not now, not ever. Here’s what I mean:
Gap thought it would be appropriate to market their products during Hurricane Sandy… A storm that caused some serious damage and human casualties!
Same thing here with American Apparel…
These brands suffered major criticism that ultimately led to public relations nightmares that would last for months!
Overall, keep your hashtags focused, relatable, goal-oriented, and immune to hijacking. Proof-reading and Title case are your best friends when choosing a hashtag for marketing, along with some creativity and luck!
Got any hashtag horror stories or triumphs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!