Hashtags are an incredibly powerful tool to increase engagement and brand awareness. They have become an integral part of the social media experience. It's the great equalizer among social media platforms. Hashtags serve the same purpose whether you're on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok.
Hashtags are now firmly entrenched into the social media culture. So much so that the word itself was added to the Oxford English Dictionary which defined it as a word or phrase that is “used on social media websites and apps so that you can search for all messages with the same subject”.
Consequently, billions of people across the globe use millions of hashtags on a daily basis. They are used to them and know what they're for. That’s precisely what presents brands with an opportunity to leverage them in order to increase engagement.
What is a hashtag campaign?
A hashtag campaign is a very targeted social media campaign. Brands create a hashtag to build the entire campaign around. This can either be for a product launch, collaboration, milestone, etc. The goal is very simple. Put the hashtag in front of as many people as possible and get them to contribute to the hype.
That hashtag is then going to create all the buzz, so it's very important to choose the right one that adequately represents the nature of the campaign. It should be related to the content that's going to be shared with that hashtag. It should also be simple and easy enough to remember. Long, drawn out hashtags rarely achieve the objective.
The hashtag needs to be catchy and easy to remember because the entire objective behind the campaign is to have social media users pick it up and start making their own contribution to it. Only then will the campaign's true objective be achieved.
The benefits of a hashtag campaign
There's a reason why some of the biggest brands in the world run hashtag campaigns. They're incredibly powerful and have a potential of going viral. So you can probably imagine that the benefits of a hashtag campaign are immense. It's one of the simplest ways to get your brand out there. By using a hashtag, you can quickly raise awareness for your brands and the products that it offers. Anyone who comes across it can easily see all of the posts that use that particular hashtag.
They can learn more about your products and see reviews from the people who are already using them. If they have a query, they can use the hashtag for it as well, enabling the brand to leverage this as a product support avenue.
No brand wants to willingly spend as much money as they possibly can to grow their reach online. There's a reason why marketers love organic reach. It delivers increased engagement and costs nothing.
Hashtags are exceptional at delivering organic reach. You may have used sponsored posts to push the hashtag initially and if it does well, it ends up taking a life of its own. People from all over will start interacting with the hashtag there by increasing the organic reach of your posts.
User generated content tends to do well online. When people are thinking about buying something, often their first thought is to search for its reviews online. If you encourage users to post their experiences with your products with a hashtag, anyone who searches it will be able to see how real customers liked your products.
This acts as a sort of social proof which comes in handy when you want to convert leads into customers.
How to launch a hashtag campaign in 2021
Look into what your competitors are doing
Competitor research always pays off when you're launching a social media marketing campaign. See what they have been doing with hashtag campaigns. This will give you an idea of what’s working and what’s not.
It’s a chance for you to learn from any mistakes that your competitors might have made when they set out to do this themselves. This is going to save you both time and money. By seeing where they went wrong, hit the ground running from the get go to achieve better results.
See what people are already saying about you
Chances are that your existing customers might already be talking about your brand online. Take a good look at how they're talking about the brand and its products, whether negative experiences are being shared with an associated hashtag.
This will help you craft your hashtag campaign more effectively. Thorough research will ensure that there’s nothing that can potentially affect your brand negatively once the campaign launches. It will also provide valuable insight on campaign targeting.
Create the right hashtag
As you can probably guess, this part requires the most diligence. The hashtag itself will be what makes or breaks the campaign. The one you choose should be relevant to the brand, it should resonate with the target audience, should be catchy and not one that can easily be forgotten.
It's also important to ensure that the hashtag you come up with isn't being used by someone else. Otherwise, you risk diverting the reach to a competitor or a completely unrelated campaign.
Keep an eye on the metrics
Hashtag campaigns aren't of the set and forget kind. Like you would with any social media campaign, it's vital to keep an eye on the metrics. Measure the results, see how the hashtag is doing and whether it's generating the kind of results you were expecting.
Only then will you be able to conclude whether the campaign was a success. This will also provide valuable insight that you can use to make your next hashtag campaign even better.
Leverage the ubiquity of hashtags to launch powerful campaigns
Hashtags are everywhere and on every social network. A single hashtag campaign can be run across all of the major networks. That’s because they work the same way everywhere. That’s what makes them so ubiquitous.
Leverage this ubiquity to your advantage. Come up with hashtag campaigns that have the potential of going viral across networks. It will deliver the kind of organic reach that will be the stuff of dreams for most marketers.
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