Last summer, when Coca-Cola launched its personalized bottles and cans, they also launched a hashtag: #shareacoke. When Coke drinkers around the world tagged their images and videos with #shareacoke, they effectively became Coca-Cola’s extended marketing department. Professional service firms can utilize similar techniques using branded hashtags to promote their companies, services, and events.
A branded hashtag is a hashtag you create to draw attention to your business. It can be part of a campaign to introduce a new initiative, an event, or it can highlight an aspect of your company culture. It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your services, products or campaigns.
Benefits of Using a Branded Hashtag
Collect user-generated content
You may have noticed that many conferences you attend will have a branded hashtag created specifically for the event which attendees will use for tagging their photos or videos from the event. Conference planners can then use the content which the users have generated to reshare. This principle can play out for products, services, or company culture.
Social media is all about creating community. Creating a fun hashtag and having people join you in using it creates community around your business, service, product, or event. And by using social listening, you can get a pulse on what topics are resonating with your audience. For example, AirBnB’s #WeAccept campaign capitalized on the social issue of tolerance, relating it to travel.
For example, Suffolk Construction uses the branded hashtag #buildsmart to join in on a community of companies and individuals who are building smart. They include that hashtag in their Instagram bio to encourage others to join.
More and more people are looking for an authentic voice on social media. Your audience wants to relate to the people behind your company or brand. Creating a hashtag for sharing behind-the-scenes activities or “insider” company information is a great way to group that information together and share it with your audience.
Choosing Your Branded Hashtag
Keep it simple
Keep your branded hashtag short, simple, and easy to spell so your fans and customers can easily remember it. It can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or product name.
General hashtags are used by many people but if you want people to associate your business with your hashtag, you need to be specific. Incorporate the name of your industry or localize your hashtag by including the name of your city or region. For example, while the hashtag #food is popular, #bostonfoodies would appeal to a very specific demographic.
If you are creating a tag for an annual event, be sure to include the year in the tag.
Look out for double meanings
Using abbreviations and acronyms can easily lead to unsavory meanings so be sure to check to see what images and videos are tagged with a hashtag before you promote it. Check out #hashtagfail for some examples of what not to do!
Since anyone can create a hashtag and use it, you want to do a search on social media for your ideas to find out if and how your hashtag ideas are being used.
With some thought and planning, using branded hashtags can be an exciting part of your hashtag strategy!