Best Practices For Picking The Right Hashtag For Your Campaign


October 14th, 2013

Remember when # represented a number sign? Nowadays, # is synonymous with the popular hashtag. Originally on Twitter, the hashtag has now infiltrated Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, and Facebook. Hashtags allow for social media users to search and track topics based on a keyword. Platforms such as Tagboard even allow for cross-channel aggregation to see who is posting what and where. Think of the hashtag as a way to listen in on what people are saying.

Hashtags have now become commonplace in almost every marketing campaign. It allows for brands to track what their consumers are saying and an opportunity to fortify relationships. When determining what specific hashtag to associate with your campaign, keep in mind a few best practices.

First and foremost, make it relevant. A hashtag loses its effectiveness if it is too obscure and your consumers are unable to associate it back to the brand. Remember, this is an opportunity to connect with consumers on a digital platform, not to confuse them.

Do some research before making a final decision. See if the hashtag has been used previously or is associated with something you don’t want related to your brand. Try to think of the worse case scenario of how it can be used or misinterpreted because hashtag hijacking is not uncommon. McDonald’s learned the hard way and had to quickly turn to damage control. Also, don’t jump on a hashtag that is trending without looking into context. You don’t want to attach yourself to a national tragedy without realizing what you were doing.

Character count is everything on Twitter. Have your hashtag be memorable yet short. If you make it too long, consumers may forget it or simply not want to bother using it.

Actively promote the hashtag to your audience—display it on signage, include it on collateral pieces, and make sure your brand team encourages consumers to use it. Let them know what it is and reinforce a call to action to post to social media channels with the hashtag. Have an on-site activation? Incentivize the call to action by offer premium items to consumers that can show that they posted a tweet or photo with the hashtag on their social networks.

Most importantly, don’t forget to plan for how you are going to monitor is use. Determine what benchmarks for success will be set in place. Know when it is an appropriate time to enter a conversation.

Want to join in our conversation? Look for #ThinkBT.


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