Branded hashtags boost brand awareness and user engagement on social media, optimized with metrics tracking. They should be concise and align with brand values.
Hashtags are one of the most effective social media tools to stay relevant, target an audience, generate conversation, and build your brand’s identity. But what is a branded hashtag, and how can it help you better meet those objectives?
Branded hashtags are unique hashtags used for your business. In the new world of the social consumer, branded hashtags are a must to increase brand awareness and connect with your audience.
You’ve likely seen branded hashtags in action, like #ShareACoke, #OreoHorrorStories, #MyCalvins, and #NikeShoes. They act as the virtual glue that connects your target audience to your brand, helping solidify brand identity, promote brand recall, and create a sense of community. By integrating your brand name, tagline, or campaign message into a unique hashtag, you enable users to associate your content with your brand instantly, helping you stand out in the sea of social media posts.
Let’s explore the power of branded hashtags and learn how to incorporate them to complement your existing social media marketing strategy.
Make it brief but memorable
The best hashtags are successful because they’re catchy enough to grab an audience who is routinely seeing calculated digital marketing. The average attention span is twelve seconds, meaning that your audience needs to be captured quickly, or they won’t be captured at all. Keep your hashtags short and sweet to avoid losing your audience’s interest. Simplicity is key when it comes to trending hashtags.
When designing branded hashtags, it’s important to strike a balance between creativity and simplicity. A memorable and concise hashtag has a higher chance of going viral and being adopted by users. Consider incorporating your brand name, campaign theme, or relevant keywords that resonate with your target audience. To ensure the success of your hashtag campaign, conduct thorough research to identify trending hashtags and related posts. Tools like hashtag generators can assist in finding the most relevant and popular hashtags to maximize visibility.
Evoke an emotion, but watch out for turbulence
Triggering an emotional connection with your audience is important for building brand loyalty. However, it’s important to research and ensure that the emotions evoked align with your brand and avoid potential negative associations. For example, McDonald’s experienced an unintended outcome with their #McDstories campaign, where users shared negative experiences instead of positive ones. On the other hand, Doritos’ #FlatMatthew campaign tapped into childhood nostalgia, resonating with viewers and generating positive engagement.
Harnessing User-Generated Content and Influencer Engagement
One of the significant benefits of branded hashtags is their ability to encourage user-generated content (UGC) and influencer engagement. By prompting users to share content using your branded hashtags, you create a community of brand advocates who promote your products or services organically. And by collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values and target audience, you can amplify your reach and impact. Their influence and extensive follower base can result in increased brand exposure and credibility.
REI’s #OptOutside campaign is a great example of how an Instagram hashtag can start a conversation and build a community. By encouraging their employees to spend time outdoors during the holidays, REI’s campaign struck a chord with outdoor enthusiasts. The success of the campaign led to over 16.8 million Instagram posts using the #OptOutside hashtag.
Tracking Metrics and Optimization
To measure the effectiveness of your branded hashtags, it is essential to track relevant metrics. Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer insights into the reach, impressions, and engagement of your posts. By analyzing this data, you can identify the hashtags that generate the most traction and refine your hashtag strategy accordingly. Stay updated on the algorithm changes of different platforms to optimize your hashtag usage and ensure maximum visibility.
Branded Hashtags for Small Businesses and Startups
Branded hashtags are not only for large corporations. Small businesses and startups can greatly benefit from incorporating branded hashtags into their content marketing strategy. They level the playing field, allowing smaller brands to build brand awareness, connect with target audience, find new followers, and compete in the digital landscape. Unique and creative hashtags can differentiate your brand and make it more memorable to potential customers.
Here are a few other tips for using hashtags:
1. Less is always more
Using an excessive number of hashtags can overload your campaign and create the perception of spam or insincerity. Aim for two to five hashtags per post and test different combinations to determine what works best for your business.
2. Capital letters aren’t just for letter jackets
To ensure easy readability and interpretation, capitalize the first letter of each new word within your hashtag. This helps users understand the intended meaning and avoids any misinterpretation or confusion.
3. Double-check your source
Before finalizing your branded hashtags, do your research to make sure you aren’t associating your company name with any unrelated or controversial topics. Take the example of a men’s underwear brand considering the hashtag #FreeWilly, only to discover it’s already being used by animal activists advocating for orcas.
4. Use related hashtags
By incorporating relevant and related hashtags alongside your branded hashtags, you can expand your social media reach and connect with a wider audience. For example, a post offering branding services could use the hashtag #GraphicDesigner to reach target businesses, but they should also include hashtags like #LogoDesigner, #Designer, and #GraphicDesign. Related hashtags allow you to tap into existing conversations, trends, and communities, aligning your brand with topics and interests that are already capturing attention.
Using Hashtags in Your Branding Strategy
Every branded content strategy can benefit from these powerful tools for enhancing brand awareness and engagement on social media platforms. By crafting memorable, concise, and relevant hashtags, brands can create communities, encourage user-generated content, and connect with their target audience. However, your marketing campaigns are only as successful as your understanding of branding tools like branded hashtags. Careful planning can help you develop a branded content strategy to get you the right hashtags at the right time, leading to increased brand visibility, user engagement, and business growth. Partner with First Media to tap into the transformative potential of branded hashtags to elevate your brand presence, drive engagement, and achieve remarkable results.