10 Great Hashtag Campaigns And What We Can Learn From Them

Guest post by Pankaj Narang

The last few years have seen a drastic change in the current digital marketing scene. With the widespread use of hashtags, almost every brand has come up with its unique hashtag and keeps running dedicated campaigns. Even though hashtags were made popular by Twitter, they are now used in almost every major social media platform like Instagram, Facebook. Google+, and more.

If you are also a social media marketer who would like to work on an engaging hashtag campaign, then you have landed at the right place. In this post, I will make you familiar with the top 10 hashtag campaigns run by popular brands in the recent time. In this way, you can learn a few things from these hashtag campaigns and work on your own marketing strategy as well.

1. #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke is not just a hashtag campaign, but a marketing drive that put the brand on the social media map. A while back, the brand came up with an amazing idea that allowed its consumers to redesign Coca-Cola bottles with their name tag. This can be done by visiting its dedicated website.

To market this genius idea, the brand ran a successful campaign on Twitter. It collaborated with stars like Ryan Seacrest and Selena Gomez to reach out to its audience. This created a viral presence for the brand and other social media powerhouses like Disney also started collaborating with Coca-Cola.

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It led to the development of their new marketing wing. Now, #ShareACoke has gifting ideas, apparels, and a lot more. All of this was a result of a thoughtfully managed hashtag campaign.

2. #IceBucketChallenge by ALS Association

The #IceBucketChallenge is undoubtedly one of the best hashtag campaigns run by a non-profit organization. The challenge became a global phenomenon and created a lot of awareness regarding ALS. Additionally, it also raised more than $100 million dollars by getting an evident support from almost every major celebrity out there.

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Since it was a fun and thoughtful campaign that inspired people to move out of their comfort zone and create awareness regarding ALS, it gained immense popularity in no time. This further proves that it doesn’t matter what tone your organization has, it can easily come up with an engaging campaign.

3. #PutACanOnIt by Red Bull

Even though the campaign was originally launched in 2014, users all over the world still post creative photos with the Red Bull can. It all started when a Twitter user posted a creative snap by using the Red Bull can in a unique way. Later, the brand invited its audience to share more pictures using the Red Bull can as a prop.

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Without spending tons of money, the brand got a prominent attention on Instagram and Twitter. It started sharing selected photos on Twitter and their website as well.

4. #CaughtOnDropCam by Nest

For a brand that deals with security camera and gadgets, it can be pretty tedious to run an engaging campaign on social media. Therefore, the #CaughtOnDropCam hashtag campaign by Nest came out as a breath of fresh air for its audience. The brand asked its users to share funny video footage of their hidden cameras – and the rest was history.

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It created a wave on social media that made everyone laugh out loud. From animals doing creepy stuff to funny family moments, the campaign featured tons of funny videos with their hashtag. It showcased a whole new side of the brand and created quite a buzz on social media as well.

5. #NationalFriedChickenDay by KFC

Even though the hashtag was not originally marketed by KFC, it helped the brand gain lots of traction. The hashtag was already trending on Twitter when KFC utilized this opportunity to use it in its favor. After jumping in, the brand started posting engaging content on Twitter that became viral in no time.

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This is one of the best examples on how brands can make the most of a trending topic and use it in their favor. While doing so, make sure that you don’t post anything insensitive and only use the hashtag in a constructive manner.

6. #TweetFromTheSeat by Charmin

Over the last few years, Charmin has come up with some of the most hilarious social media campaigns (including their toilet paper dress contest). For a brand that manufactures toilet paper, it can be a little tough to have a prominent social media presence. Nevertheless, Charmin broke this stereotype with its #TweetFromTheSeat campaign.

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The brand invited its audience to post hypothetical (or real-life) scenarios from the toilet set. It resulted in tons of hilarious tweets and gave life to a trend that is still being followed on Twitter.

7. #ThrowMeBack by Expedia

Expedia’s #ThrowMeBack hashtag was initially targeted to travelers, but it gradually gained a lot of traction and became popular on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. The brand encouraged its audience to post old vacation photos on social media with the #ThrowMeBack hashtag. With free vacation packages up for grabs, the hashtag became viral on social media.

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The brand took the advantage of an existing trend (like #ThrowBackThursday), tweaked it a little, and gave it a push with amazing prizes. This is a smart move, which we all can learn from Expedia.

8. #SFBatKid by Make a Wish Foundation

The #SFBatKid is one of the most moving and inspiring hashtag campaigns, which has been run by a non-profit organization. It proved that NGOs doesn’t always need to come up with funny campaigns. Sometimes, a thoughtful and personal campaign can also hit home and be viral.

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The campaign featured Miles (a 5-yo kid with lymphoblastic leukemia) who wanted to be Batman for a day. Make a Wish Foundation made his dream come true in San Francisco by running a live-blog and a Twitter campaign. Not only from the residents of San Francisco, it also gained a lot of traction worldwide with over 1.7 million impressions.

9. #LetsDoLunch by Domino’s

When it comes to social media, Domino’s never seems to disappoint its audience. Even though the brand has come up with lots of hashtag campaigns over the last few years, their #LetsDoLunch campaign certainly gave rise to a whole new phenomenon.

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The brand simply asked users to tweet with the #LetsDoLunch hashtag and get immediate off on their orders. Their single tweet created a wave with thousands of users posting tweets and getting tempting offs on their orders.

We all can learn how to create a limited and exclusive offer for our audience from this example. Even though this campaign lasted for a day, it helped Domino’s gain millions of impressions.

10. #OreoHorrorStories by Oreo

If you are active on social media, then you must already be familiar with various hashtag campaigns run by Oreo. The brand is known to come up with some of the most hilarious and well-known hashtag campaigns. Even though there are numerous hashtag campaigns from Oreo that we love, the #OreoHorrorStories campaign certainly stood out.

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Around Halloween, the brand started posting small Oreo-themed parody videos of famous horror scenes. It gained a lot of attention from its audience and resulted in an annual phenomenon. This funny Halloween hashtag is still being used by the brand and its audience, giving more power to its social media presence.

Honorable mentions

Besides the above-stated hashtag campaigns, there are plenty of brands that won us over with their smart marketing strategy. Here are some amazing campaigns that made quite a buzz on social media:

  • #WantAnR8 by Audi
  • #MyCalvins by Calvin Klein
  • #WeAccept by Airbnb
  • #MyBreak by KitKat
  • #RedCupContest by Starbucks
  • #PetsAtWork by Purina
  • #DontKillSeanBean by TNT
  • #LikeAGirl by Always
  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • #EarthHour by WWF
  • #MakeWhatsNext by Microsoft

How to proceed?

Now when you know about some of the best hashtags campaigns of the recent times, you can certainly learn a lot from these examples and come up with your own engaging campaign. Beforehand, you should know the evident mistakes one should avoid while running a hashtag campaign.

Needless to say, hashtags form the most important part of any marketing campaign. If your hashtag is too complicated or can’t convey its message, then you can’t run a successful campaign. Therefore, you can take the assistance of Hashtagify to get insights related to hashtags and influencers.

The tool is easy to use and provides a free encyclopedia with over 70 million hashtags. You can visit its interactive interface and dig hashtags in 38 global languages across different durations. This can help you tap the recent trends while running a productive hashtag campaign for sure.

 

Author Bio:
Along with social media marketing Pankaj is determined to shape his ideas into perfect products. CoFounder of Socialert – Twitter Analytics Tool For Keywords, he believes in coming up with engaging tools to redefine the face of social media marketing. You can check his blog here.

4 Ways to Improve Brand Discovery and Visibility on Social Media

Social media is dense, and getting noticed is hard. Here are a few hacks to maximize your discovery and visibility. Practice these ideas consistently and you will have yourself a formidable social presence.

It is important to collaborate with employees, customers and fans.

For your message to travel on social media, it has to be carried by people. What most companies overlook is that they already have their people on social media – employees and customers.

1. Make social advocates off of enthusiastic employees

Social Employee Advocacy is when your employees advocate your brand on social media by sharing promotional content. When implemented the right way employee advocacy could increase your visibility by as much as 561%.

Why this matters

Of all representatives of a brand on social media, its employees are the most influential. Plus, they have more social connections ( put together) than the brand does, and are also more credible (brands are considered commercial by default).

How to make it happen

Begin by getting them excited about representing the company. Show them how their efforts can help build a brand. Recognize employees’ participation and include incentives. You could use DrumUp Employee Advocacy Platform which has a built in points system and leader board for employee engagement.

If you’re getting multiple promotional shares it also has to be supplemented with other useful industry related content, or your employees’ shares might be blind sighted as commercial…

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Curating top notch content is hard, but its easier when you’re using a reliable algorithm to do it for you. DrumUp’s platform also lets you curate content and share it with your employees, apart from uploading the promotional content that you have created.

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A sound balance for social media success.

When implementing employee advocacy, run a pilot. Share different formats of content with a set of messages and see which types of content:

a. Get most shares by employees
b. Receive most engagement on social media

And then implement the program on a large scale.

2. Happy customers equal valuable social capital

Happy customers incite trust in potential customers. Get content out of happy customers on social media and you have valuable social capital that could persuade more people to give you a try. According to a study, 71% customers have admitted that they make purchases based on social media recommendations.

It isn’t easy to convince people to put in work, but set your activity around the right motivators and you can get your audience to follow suit.

– Create a fun contest that requires taking a picture with your product
– Have one that makes them use your product creatively
– Do a run of the mill story writing contest
– Turn customer testimonials into powerful social media posts
– Share success stories of customers to encourage people to use your product
– Use FAQ on your website to create a useful blog post
– Communicate frequently with valuable customers on your social profiles

There are several great examples of social media campaigns to generate content from customers, but these are my favorite.

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3. Friend your fans and encourage them to share

Don’t ignore your fans. This seems obvious and unnecessary to say but several brands are so focused on content curation and marketing that they overlook the networking and engagement parts. All the content you post is directed at your audience, so you have to acknowledge their needs, concerns and interests for your content to be successful on social.

– Request people to share, this increases your chances of getting them
– Make your posts conversational and
– Initiate impromptu conversations on your social feed, really get to know your audience

Most importantly, make it easy for them to share your content. The easier it is for them to share, the more likely they are to do it.

Create tweets on your blog posts and create provision for your readers to share it right from there.

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You could also create contests that drive more traffic to your social pages.

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4. Make your social content search-friendly and share-worthy

For your content to move on social media it must be discoverable and share-worthy when discovered.

Optimize your content to platform specific search mechanisms.

For instance the hashtags you use on Twitter are critical for visibility. Hashtags categorize and tie together conversations on Twitter.

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Using the right one, or combination of hashtags and you can earn exposure to larger, more relevant and engaged audiences.

To choose the right hashtag you need to know:

a. What’s trending
b. Who’s talking about it

Hashtagify tells you that and more. Leverage Hashtagify’s maps to discover the popularity of hashtags and which influencers are using them so you can ride the wave and make your tweets visible to wider and more specific audiences.

On Facebook and LinkedIn, what you put in your page descriptions matter. Every social media platform has a search engine of its own. Think about what your target audience might search for and include those keywords in your company description so your company page shows up when it should.

One your page does show up, it has got to look good. Make best use of your cover photo space and every other field provided to your for any kind of content.

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When you create or curate content, make it visual. Visual content can’t be compared to plain text. Period.

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Finally, for all your content, remember to orient it towards your viewers, their ideas, their interests rather than your own. Whatever you post, ask yourself if it is useful to your audience and if they will like it before you do.

Author bio

Disha Dinesh is in charge of content at DrumUp. Her interests include social media marketing and content curation.

Introducing Instagram Hashtag Tracking

hashtagify for instagramInstagram is growing like crazy right now. With 400 million active monthly users, it’s fast becoming the go-to social media platform to share images.

Here at Hashtagify, we like to think we keep up with the latest trends. We’re constantly innovating to match what you guys want. When speaking to users, Instagram tracking was a feature that consistently came up. And we listened.

It’s taken a lot of work to get it right, but we’re now ready to introduce Instagram hashtag tracking!

Unlike our competitors, we don’t just consider the posts using the hashtags, but the likes too. This means that we show the true potential reach of hashtags on Instagram, while still finding the top hashtags and top influencers in just a few clicks.

It works pretty much  the same as our Twitter tracking, apart from having some specific numbers relevant to Instagram and a few limitations for now (we’re still in beta).

The feature is available to all of our business and enterprise users. So if you’re on one of those plans, head over to the Hashtags Lab to get tracking.

Not a business or enterprise user but want to explore Instagram tracking? No problem, you can try it out with our risk-free 10 day trial now!

Stay tuned for more Instagram-related updates!

 

Free Webinar: The Art & Science of Hashtags

Upcoming_webinar_-_tintup___hashtagify 

We are partnering with the social specialists at TINT to host a live webinar and teach you some tricks to improve your hashtag marketing!

Hashtags can be conquered and this webinar is all about showing you how.

Hosted by Hashtagify.me founder, Dan Mazzini and Jose Gallegos, Community Marketing Lead at TINT, you will get the inside scoop on the strategy behind hashtags. Not only that but this webinar will be full to the brim with useful hints and tips to help you become a hashtag pro.

Interested? Sign up here!

While we’re on the topic of webinars, did you catch the last one we did?

We partnered with BuzzSumo and discussed how to use hashtags for content marketing! You can watch it here.

 

Hashtags To Reach Parents On Social Media

The online realm has made conversation more instant than ever, and as it had all other things, it has also transformed parenting. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of parents who actively use social media agree that they get useful information from their networks, including 32% who “strongly agree”. According to Pew Research Center surveys, “two-in-five parents who use social media say they got support from their networks for parenting issues over the past month, and mothers who use social media are nearly twice as likely as fathers to say they get support.” More than half (59%) of parents who are social media users said they had come across useful information about parenting while looking at social media content. 7% say this happens “frequently,” while 26% say this occurs “sometimes” and only 26% “hardly ever.”

 

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For parents who find themselves texting with one hand while juggling the diaper bag, coffee, or keys in the other, hashtags can be a quick way to search for information. This of course creates opportunities for marketers who need to reach parents with their message. To make it easier for you, we’ve rounded up a few of the best parenting hashtags you need to know if you’re interested in this market:

1. #KidsHealth

Among many parenting hashtags, #kidshealth seems to be one of the most useful, as their kids health is always at the top of the mind of parents. In the past few days, this hashtag got an average of 118 tweets per day. We think this is a perfect opportunity to reach the parents market – the hashtag is popular enough to generate a few blog posts across the Internet, but isn’t too popular that your tweets might go unnoticed if you get in on the hashtag.

While it hasn’t yet gone mainstream, you can definitely hop in on the hashtag and take advantage of it.

2. #WhatsForDinner

Although this hashtag is admittedly non-exclusive to parents, it is very much used by this special category of chefs. After cooking meals day after day, sometimes you just can’t seem to figure out what to cook for dinner. For brands which want to reach parents with messages related to nutrition, this can be a very useful venue that goes beyond the most obvious choices.

3. #RaisingAGenius (or #raisingagenius)

All parents are proud of their own kids. #RaisingAGenius is a hashtag used by parents across the globe to show off their children’s advanced skills. Whether doing a clever trick or painting a Van Gogh-looking masterpiece, you’ll find different things kids do that are advanced for their age.

 

4. #ParentWin

The #ParentWin hashtag is where parents share their parenting wins online. Some examples are successful potty training, getting their kids to eat broccoli, and teaching toddlers a new word. This is a great avenue for brands to butt in and celebrate the success with the parents.

5. #MumQuotes

They say motherhood opens you up to another language. We can’t blame moms – being an adult for years and having to explain the world to a child with a very little vocabulary is no easy feat. #MumQuotes rounds up some of the funniest (and occasionally wise) things moms say.

Social media is a helpful tool for parenting, and that’s why we’re going to see more and more parents use it to find useful suggestions. As more people learn to use hashtags to search what they look for, we expect these to become an even better marketing tool for those who want to reach parents on social media.

Sources:
http://mums.bodyandsoul.com.au/pregnancy+parenting/parenting+tips/10+hashtags+all+parents+need+to+know,30375
http://redtri.com/followthesefeeds-5-cool-parenting-hashtags-to-follow/#
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/brutally-honest-parenting-hashtags#.kqQV60YZ5
http://www.madeformums.com/school-and-family/best-parenting-hashtags-of-2014/36417.html
http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2011/01/31/70-super-useful-twitter-hashtags-for-homeschoolers/

How To Get Results Even With Overused Hashtags

On social media, there are thousands of overused hashtags. As we explained in our free guide on using hashtags for marketing, the best ones for you are most likely those which are popular enough but not too popular, and specific to your niche.

However, even the most overused tags can be used in creative and meaningful ways. To show you what we mean, we picked out a couple of the most abused of the overused hashtags, #Selfie and #FoodPorn, and looked for creative examples that could inspire your next campaign.

#Selfie

This hashtag doesn’t need an introduction, does it? We observed it on Twitter for just 3 days (10/11-10/14) and here’s what we found:

Selfie Hashtag Summary 10/11-10/14

That’s a whopping 195,952,576 face impressions in 3 days! There’s gotta be some worth in that, right? Well, our team thinks so, so we went full-on social media geek for you and scoured the Internet for ways your brand can tap into this overworked hashtag (you’re welcome!).

The real genius behind the selfie evolution is how it plays to Gen Y’s narcissistic culture. How can we use this?

a)  Defy conventions

In a world where Photoshop reigns supreme and Kim Kardashian is altering her own bum on Instagram, Dove decided to encourage women to turn this idea of the selfie on its head, publishing pictures that highlight their most disliked feature.

This is exactly what mother and daughter duos do in the short film Dove used to kickstart the campaign, appropriately titled “Selfie” and first presented at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Dove’s own research revealed that 63% of women believe social media is influencing today’s definition of beauty more than print, film, or music. This data contributed to inspire their target market to participate actively and use the campaign’s own hashtag, #BeautyIs, together with the already famous  #selfie, to “help young women redefine what beauty is”.

“The Challenge. Take an Honest Selfie. No Filters. No Edits.”

 

 

It’s no wonder that the video went viral and its two versions reached a total of almost 7 million views. Going against the grain of a big hashtag worked well for Dove, and in the process it also helped the larger movement to empower women to redefine the traditional perception of beauty using the selfie.

b)  Use the power of irony

Can you create a very ironic and surprising selfie about your product? This can really get attention. Take the cue from Star Wars’ Instagram account:

#Selfie #StarWars #DarthVader

c)  Contests

This is a well known option, but we couldn’t skip it. Contests are a very powerful way to get people to participate in your campaign and get more word-of-mouth advertising, like the one  Kenneth Cole that ran from January 31 to March 31, 2014.

Keneth Cole Contest

Here, people had to follow the official account and use the #DressForYourSelfie hashtag to join the contest, together with #selfie. Attaching to an existing and very relevant hashtag, the contest was able to gain a higher visibility, faster.

#Foodporn

With over 220 million impressions from 89,224 tweets in a week, #FoodPorn is still as widely used (if not more) today than on its debut a few years back. 90 photos are uploaded with the Instagram hashtag #foodporn every single minute.

FoodPorn Hashtag Summary

Even if this hashtag is mostly used by food blogs and average social media Joes to share pictures of food that want to make you cry and say sorry to your diet, it is possible to use it creatively.

a)  Turn it into a social cause

Nothing encourages goodwill better than social causes. People love knowing they can contribute to society, so when you encourage your audience to do something for the greater good, it resonates more than a completely self-serving suggestion.

Hijacking the #foodporn feed, #MealforAMeal is how Virgin Mobile together with OzHarvest kickstarted their campaign to turn the contemporary #foodporn obsession  into a social cause.

Virgin Mobile Image

So far, there have been 300,396 posts that have been turned into a meal by Virgin Mobile. Find out more about this campaign here: http://www.makingmobilebetter.com.au/meal-for-a-meal

b)  Use a great call-to-action

Even when a hashtag is overused, and it’s very difficult to do something people will notice among all those posts, a good way to differentiate yourself is by using a powerful and relevant call to action, like in these two examples:

 

It’s like passing along leaflets in a very crowded street – even if you’ll be seen by only a small percentage of passers by, at least with those you have a good chance to make an impact.

c)  Make it a series

Reynolds, a popular foil brand aimed to piggyback on the #foodporn hashtag by creating a series of recipe posts. Reynolds knew their target market are into food, so they developed a simple idea that would allow them to post consistently and on-topic using this hashtag. Drip by drip, this a good way to find a bigger audience even amid an ocean of other posts – but it requires patience and dedication.

Food Series

In conclusion, even overused hashtags can help your marketing campaign. It’s just a matter of creativity and knowing how to position your brand in that context. We hope we helped you get some inspiration. Happy hashtagging!

#HeForShe: How much does the Internet remember?

Can a social media marketing campaign have a long-term impact on important topics? This is exactly what UN Women tried to achieve with their #HeForShe effort, launched on last year’s International Women’s day to attack yet another time the very serious and long-standing issue of sexism. We want to analyze what’s left of this big campaign one year and a half later.

Even if the official launch was on 8 March 2014, the big splash was only achieved on September 20th, a full six months later. And this splash came when Emma Watson became the face of the movement, thanks to a momentous speech at the UN general assembly.

The big splash moment

Who could ignore Hermione Granger’s highly televised “formal invitation” to men to stand up for the rights of women – which was the central message of the campaign? Generation Y, the major demographic of social media users, also known as the millennial generation, basically grew up with Watson so we could see why she was the perfect face for the movement.

Before Watson’s appeal, the campaign tweets count was in the tens of thousands. But, just two weeks after her presentation, the hashtag #HeForShe had generated 1.1 million tweets from 750,000 different users, with a potential reach of over a hundred of millions people on Twitter alone.

In the social media flurry that followed, there were a lot of celebrities that helped in on the campaign. Here’s a refresher:

 

 

 

Even Twitter itself participated in the stand against gender discrimination, painting the hashtag inside their HQ in San Francisco, California.

 

There was also the incredibly supportive compliment from Tom Hiddleston, everyone’s favorite Avenger-nemesis, Thor’s brother. This tweet was so popular it even headlined several articles on the Internet, including Buzzfeed’s.

Now this account doesn’t technically fall into the “celebrity”category, but if we’re talking influential, you have to give @WhiteHouse some credit.

 

But, after such a big boost, how much does the Internet remember today? Did the message get through enough to still be relevant?

Exactly one year after Emma Watson’s speech last year, as expected, the Twitter activity is much lower. But it’s still surprisingly high; and the anniversary itself brought a notable bump, as you can see in the chart below.

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(Twitter data for 9/10-9/24 2015)

 

If you haven’t guessed it yet, the main reason for that bump was a tweet by Emma Watson herself on the 15th. But that was actually a retweet of a message from the official account for the campaign, @HeForShe:

https://twitter.com/HeforShe/status/643769009180176384

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As you can imagine, even a single tweet on target (using the hashtag) from a celebrity with more than 19 million Twitter followers creates a big impact:

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(Twitter data for 9/10-9/24 2015)

 

In the chart above, computed for the period between Sept. 10 to Sept. 24, you can see that Watson’s retweet was itself retweeted 1,045 times, and she was mentioned 2,988 times together with the #HeForShe hashtag – a demonstration of just how big an influencer she still is in this campaign. This explains why, as you can see from the chart below, taken from our Hashtags Lab analysis, she is the second top influencer, only after @HeForShe:

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Prior to the day of the anniversary, between September 15th and 19th, there were 5709 total original tweets (not counting retweets).

As usual, the catalyzer of the activity was @HeForShe. For example, on the 16th, there were 681 total tweets, and the top one yet another retweet of by @caitlinwithac of one of the official campaign’s account messages:

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https://twitter.com/HeforShe/status/643802338809933824

On the day of the speech’s anniversary itself last 9/20 there were 1532 total tweets, a good recovery from the decline in the day prior. Have you guessed who the top tweet was from?

It’s not Emma, not @HeForShe, but @EmWatsonUpdates – a fan made account for updates and events in Emma Watson’s career. We almost wish we were as popular as miss Watson so someone else can do the tweeting for us when we forget to do it on an important day!

Now after the day has gone and the dust has settled, who else is tweeting about #HeForShe?

Let’s look at the data for 9/21. We found that there were 1136 total tweets, the top one, again by @HeForShe, in an attempt to piggyback on #Dubsmash and asking users to create videos of their favorite parts of Emma Watson’s speech.

 

As expected, there was a gradual drop in tweets in the days that followed, with both days owing their top tweets to @UN_Women:

https://twitter.com/UN_Women/status/646040013390659584\

https://twitter.com/UN_Women/status/646350552444628992

And this is exactly the point we wanted to get to. Having a big testimonial like Emma Watson – and her friends – is great, but the real long-term impact wouldn’t have been possible without the constant effort of the #HeForShe social media team, mainly channelled through their dedicated, homonymous @HeForShe account. These are their stats for 9/15 to 9/23:

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As you can see, it’s them who are doing the hard work and promoting the movement all year round. Even for the anniversary, it was @HeForShe that originally sent out the tweet that @emwatson retweeted last week; and that’s why our Hashtags Lab shows that account as the top Influencer for the hashtag, even if they only have 258,454 followers – much less than the celebrities who are constantly helping them.

Campaign Success – One Year Later

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 2.24.00 PM

In the end, in the two weeks we analyzed between September 10 and 24, 2015, there were a total of 12,051 tweets by 8,761 unique users. That’s about 1% of the total garnered tweets from last year, but it means that in just two weeks the campaign still generated 59 million potential unique impressions. And, just as importantly, there are lots of men using the hashtag as we have observed above, which is the main purpose of the movement – to get men involved.

Conclusion

One obvious conclusion of this analysis is that having a great testimonial really helps – without Emma Watson’s UN speech, #HeForShe would probably have continued just as in the previous 6 months. Influencer marketing clearly works.

But the less obvious conclusion, interesting also for those social media managers who can’t get a big name testimonial to speak at the UN General Assembly, is that having a dedicated account for a campaign, constantly keeping the fire up under the kettle, can really make a big difference.

@HeForShe was able to do just that, constantly putting out great content and proactively engaging their target audience. This is a good reminder that if content is king, then consistency is certainly queen.

Hashtags As Labeled Rooms Where Communities Meet

Last time we spoke about hashtags as labeled sections on a bulletin board. This is a good analogy when you think about disseminating messages that you want to draw attention to. But the bulletin board analogy doesn’t reflect the “social” aspect of social networks.

As a matter of fact, hashtags aren’t just a fundamental tool to broadcast information to the right audience; they’re also a great tool to find and meet people who share your interests – both personal and professional ones. Among these people you can find those that can help you extend your influence through their own larger audiences, therefore further amplifying and endorsing your message.

To visualize this point of view, a much more fitting analogy are the rooms of a club.

Chatroom

It’s no coincidence that the inspiration for adding hashtags to Twitter came from chatrooms. When Twitter was small and users were few, having genuine conversations was much more prevalent than it is today. Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, suggested to adopt this convention exactly to create “rooms” where you could discuss specific subjects even with people you didn’t know yet.

This helped creating many interest-based communities. Hashtags allowed you to discover like-minded people and then connect with them. People who had something interesting to share could easily build a following and meaningful relationships. With the gargantuan size of today’s Twitter – and that of the other major social networks – this is a much rarer event, but not all is lost!

Room Types: The Public Square

The biggest rooms – the most popular hashtags – don’t look like rooms at all. They rather resemble big and noisy squares with hordes of people incessantly coming and going, and all of them wanting attention!

Chatroomsquare

In these rooms/squares there is usually very little sense of community, if at all, and, if you asked who are the leaders/influencers, you would mostly come out with some out-of-reach celebrities that from time to time come to grace the onlookers with their hyper-amplified messages and maybe get a buzz going for a few hours.

For most marketers and communicators, finding meaningful connections in these places is really a hit-and-miss game – with much more misses than hits. Try your chance if you want, but our suggestion is to focus on much better playing fields.

Most viral hashtags, hashtags about current world events, and very general interest subjects generate Public Square “rooms”.

Room Types: The Specialty Room

Some subjects, like for example data visualization techniques or embroidery, have an inherently smaller audience. But also the subjects with the broadest appeal, like music or news, have more specialized sub-subjects of various niche levels; think classical music or Vatican City local news.

Chatroomspecialty

It is at this smaller – and especially niche – level that healthy online communities can still form around one or more specific hashtags, forming their own specialty rooms.

These thriving communities have their own unwritten rules, and, most often, some widely recognized reference points – their top influencers. Here you can also build your own significant, or at least useful, relationships.

This will usually require a healthy investment in time, resource and budget too, but if you find the right hashtags and communities, it will give you the highest long-term return. We’ll go into more details in future lessons, but the general process can be summarized in these steps:

  • Find some right-sized and well functioning communities in your field of interest, and their rooms/hashtags
  • Find their influencers, study them and learn the unwritten rules and conventions
  • Participate and add value to the community, without focusing too much on yourself and your message
  • Strike significant relationship, always keeping an eye on the top influencers that are within your reach, but without focusing only on them

Room Types: The Branded Room

Until now, we focused mostly on industry/interest hashtags, which usually come from the bottom up in a completely organic way. A different case is the campaign hashtag, purposefully created and steered by some organization or business. This brings us to the branded room.

Chatroombrand

The biggest difference between these rooms and the former ones is that here we have somebody who worked hard to invite people to their room and keep them engaged. And somebody who, if successful, is officially recognized by most members as the leader of the community. Somebody who also had a specific goal in mind for this community.

The situation that interests us now is when you’re not the one who built the room. So, is it possible to create meaningful relationships here? The short answer is: Yes, if the room still resembles the specialty room we talked about before, with a thriving community, and if your goals aren’t in direct conflict with the creators’ ones. The same process can still apply.

But what if your goals are conflicting with the creators’? Well, depending on the situation, you could either find other rooms… or you could try to hijack it. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

And before we finish, we’ll quickly mention two special cases of branded hashtags/rooms: the event hashtag, and the Twitter chat. For different reasons, these two cases are very relevant, and we’ll talk about these in the lesson about the hashtags lifecycles.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have finished the introductory part of our Advanced Marketing course. We’re still writing the next lessons, which will be more practical how-tos about various common tasks for social media marketers.

But you don’t need to wait if you want to apply the concepts we explained. You can start from our Labs, which include guided tours and detailed guides to, among other things:

  • Automatically get hashtags suggestions from the “sweet spot”, in our Users Lab
  • Analyze a hashtag and find it’s top influencers to connect to in our Hashtags Lab

Hashtag Marketing: Hashtags as Bulletin Board Labeled Sections

From a marketer’s (or, in general, communicator’s) point of view, there are two main ways to looks at hashtags:

  • As labeled sections on a bulletin board
  • As labeled rooms where people meet

Board_with_without_labelsChatroom

It is very useful to keep in mind this distinction when dealing with hashtags; in this first lesson of the advanced course, we’ll focus on the first point of view and what this can teach us about choosing hashtags.

Bulletin Board Labeled Sections

As we explained in greater detail in the 101 course, the original use of hashtags is to highlight what the subject of a message is. This is very important in public places where everybody can send their messages – eg, on a public bulletin board in a University.

Board_with_without_labels

If you want your message to be found by people who would be interested in what you’re talking about and don’t already know you, where would you like to post your message? On the left side of the board, or the right one?

Not using a hashtag is just like pinning your message on the left side – on a board that has millions of new messages posted every day, so your own will get submerged in a matter of seconds.

And what about choosing exactly which hashtags to use? It’s pretty obvious that you should choose labels where your message will be relevant; that is necessary, but not sufficient on its own to maximise your reach. The size of the labeled section is also very important.

Board_too_full

Our Hashtags Encyclopedia on hashtagify.me gives a 0-100 popularity rating to each hashtag. In our analogy, the popularity is proportional to the size of the section of the bulletin board dedicated to the label/hashtag.

Too Popular

A very popular hashtag has lots of people looking at it, and a lot of dedicated real estate on the bulletin board – but it also has hundreds of thousands of messages posted to it every day.

In our bulletin board analogy, there is a board administrator – let’s call it Twitter Search – who is continually managing the messages on the board, pinning to the top for a longer time only the messages that are either a very important poster, or that immediately get a lot of acclaim from onlookers.

Board_with_engine

So, unless you’re some kind of celebrity, incredibly good at catching attention, or very lucky, posting to a very popular section/hashtag will mean that your message will be submerged after a few seconds or minutes. Almost as if you had posted the message under no label at all.

Not Popular Enough

At the other end of the spectrum, there are sections of our board that are so little known, that nobody ever looks at them. If you post there, your message could stay at or near the top for a very long time, but nobody will see it anyway. This is what happens 99% of the time when people create their own hashtags without giving them a valuable reason to search for it, and/or without promoting it enough – you’ll own your hashtag, but nobody is looking at that part of the board – it’s wasted space (and time).

The Sweet Spot

For most people, the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle. You want hashtags that are:

  • Very relevant to your content
  • Popular enough that people are actively searching for them
  • Not too popular compared to your current clout – so that your messages have a chance to be seen

Subhashtags

At a practical level, this means that it usually pays off to search for many specialized hashtags in your field that have a popularity of at least 25/30 on hashtagify.me, and to alternate them in your tweets/instagrams etc. Depending on your personal clout and on how popular your field is in general, it can also make sense to use the more general hashtags for that field, especially if their popularity is below 80.

These rankings provide a guide, but to really optimize for your specific situation you should experiment and measure your results. We’ll see in a later lesson how using our pro Users Lab features can make both finding the specialized hashtags and measuring the results of your experiments much easier, but this is also something that you can do manually just using our free Encyclopedia and keeping count of the retweets and likes you get, if you have enough time to invest in this.

Conclusion

This first advanced hashtag marketing lesson laid down the first part basic concepts that guided us in building our Hashtagify tools. The next lesson will explain the second half – if you want to read it now free on hashtagify.me.

PS: Did you know that you can easily compare the popularity of different hashtags for the last 2 months? Check out our Hashtags Encyclopedia guide