Hashtags are a convenient way to organize content. This approach appeared a long time ago but became especially popular at the same time as Instagram. And if earlier the hashtags worked on the same principle as keywords in organic search, now they have turned into a full-fledged marketing tool. Joresa Blount in her post for Forbes has named hashtags the major change in Instagram in recent years.
Companies come up with branded hashtags for advertising companies, and personal brands use a personal hashtag as their main distinguishing mark. That’s why in this article, we will discuss four effective strategies for promoting a brand hashtag and provide real-practice tips on how to do it.
Provide Valuable Content on Behalf of the Brand
As part of this strategy, we will return to the original purpose of the hashtags – the systematization of content. The essence of the approach is very simple – you need to identify the main problems, requests, and interests of your target audience and give them useful content marked with brand hashtags.
What is more, it is not necessary to be limited only to social networks when promoting a brand hashtag by posting content. You can post videos on YouTube or publish articles on third-party resources. For example, you may use the Adsy service in order to find the best platform to publish your content marked by a branded hashtag. This way, you will not only increase your brand awareness and promote a branded hashtag but gain backlinks to your website as well.
This is what is called branded content. Its main purpose is to maintain constant communication with users, however, when you use a brand hashtag in each of your articles, it becomes inseparable from your brand.
The ultimate masterpiece and the ultimate goal of this strategy are when the audience searches for your content using your brand hashtag.
Organization of Branded Contest or Giveaway
As part of this strategy, you can also kill not just one but several birds with one stone.
- Firstly, contests and giveaways are good for increasing the number of subscribers and expanding an active audience.
- Secondly, it is an opportunity to increase recognition. When people constantly see your photo or mention of you in their feeds, very soon they will begin to recognize you.
- And thirdly, this is a very economical advertisement, and a great way to advertise your brand hashtag.
For example, let’s see what a contest was held by the Kraft restaurant. They asked to be subscribers to their profile, as well as publish a photo from the restaurant with the brand hashtag #MyCraftFav.
In addition, here are a few more methods for holding a contest and simultaneously promoting a brand hashtag:
- Repost. Participants post a contest photo and mention you and the brand hashtag in the description.
- Creative contest. Participants post their own photo taken according to the rules of the contest.
- Increase the number of likes. Participants post your branded or their own photo marked with a brand hashtag and try to collect the maximum number of likes for it.
- Use the designated tools like hashtagify.me to facilitate your hashtag marketing campaign.
But in order for the strategy to turn out to be holistic, you need to think about how you will tell subscribers about your contest. Here are some basic methods.
- Ask (and pay) a famous blogger or influencer to announce your contest
- Promote your contest with targeted ads
- Tell about the contest to your subscribers in other social networks
- Send an email (if you have a compiled customer base).
Marathon as One of the Best Ways to Make a Hashtag Popular
Typically, Instagram marathons are run in order to help the organizer increase the number of subscribers. The main difference from other methods of obtaining real subscribers is that the marathon forms a loyal “live” audience around itself. In addition to increasing the audience, an important task of any marathon is to gather like-minded people and help them achieve their goals. And besides, this is a direct way to promote a brand hashtag.
The rules in free marathons are about the same but may vary depending on its founder. Usually, participants are required to publish regular stories and posts with observations about their feelings and changes under the unique hashtag of the marathon (which, of course, will necessarily contain the brand name).
Motivate Customers to Constantly Create User-Generated Content
And of course, the coolest option is when users themselves promote the hashtag of your brand. However, it is most difficult to achieve such an effect. For example, let’s recall one of Apple’s initiatives. The company offers users to share their own photos taken on the iPhone on Instagram using the hashtag #ShotoniPhone.
A brand that motivates subscribers to create user-generated content provides itself with an inexhaustible source of content and increases the trust of potential customers. Let’s see what kind of content your users can create and mention the branded hashtag.
- Feedback. Motivate users to leave feedback under hashtags on special sites, on social networks, in the brand community. If your product can be presented in aggregator stores, such as eBay, Ozone, there will always be a section with popular opinions.
- Recommendations. And here be ready to hear the truth. It is impossible to make everyone happy without exception, therefore, with a high degree of probability, your brand hashtag may appear in not the most flattering reviews. Of course, the authors of such reviews will not give a recommendation, but if you correctly respond to the claim, your reputation will only improve from this.
- Reviews. As a rule, reviews are compiled by experts. Reviews consider products and services from a technical point of view, sometimes an expert’s personal opinion is added and a recommendation review is obtained.
- Ratings or comparisons. These are lists of products or services compiled into some list according to some principle.
According to Hubspot, user generated content helps work on the hardest thing for marketers — drive more engagement and help your content get found easier. And brand hashtags are ideally configured with all these types of content to reach that goal. So feel free to ask users to share their thoughts and use a brand hashtag. At the initial stage, you can offer a small gift to anyone who, for example, leaves a review, or takes a video of unpacking the goods.
In fact, all four of these strategies can be perfectly combined into one whole. Brand content is the core of the whole strategy, while contests, marathons, and user-generated content can be a good addition to promoting a branded hashtag.
Marie Barnes is a Marketing Communication Manager. She has a lot to share on the topics of Marketing, SEO, PR, and Branding.