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.
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:
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”.
We want to see YOUR beauty. Use #BeautyIs to share your #selfie on Twitter and Instagram. #nofilter #bigsmile pic.twitter.com/nrWnIHYRbb
— Dove (@Dove) March 14, 2014
“The Challenge. Take an Honest Selfie. No Filters. No Edits.”
@Dove #BeautyIs #selfie #nofilter 🙂 pic.twitter.com/7ZAlWqCsee
— Brittany (@thirty3anda3rd) March 14, 2014
@Dove #BeautyIs #selfie I do have on makeup but I like this one best. It shows the lines around my mouth & I like pic.twitter.com/YjjnYyORMf
— Special Kaye (@Miss_Kaye) March 18, 2014
#selfie #BeautyIs #Redefinedbeauty Founder of www.beautifully me http://t.co/HdYTiVzxRA Join the #dove campaign pic.twitter.com/aCmbFQhURD
— Tamyara Brown (@Beautymeundefin) January 24, 2014
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
¡Un exquisito cupcake para la tarde! Compártelo 😉 #sugarfactory #delivery #foodporn pic.twitter.com/bFMUsM9gcm
— Yolopido (@yolopido) August 19, 2015
FREE DELIVERY! ?? #Detroit come in and tag us with #falafilldet. #detroitfoodies #detroitfoods #foodporn pic.twitter.com/hAjzcNEXiS
— Falafill – Detroit (@falafilldet) October 8, 2015
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.
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!