Hashtags have become as important across social media and search engines like Google and Bing as your actual business name. Branded hashtags are a way to gain attention across platforms and so your community and costumer base can follow your company and associated digital campaigns. A branded hashtag is defined as “branded term, phrase or call to action” in hashtag form, for example #GivingTuesday – a yearly charity digital campaign that started with a hashtag. Bottom line: hashtags increase social media engagement.
When you create a hashtag, you give users a new way to get in touch with your business on social. Or users can simply engage in the conversation happening around that hashtag. However you use your hashtag, it’s another way to gain engagement through social media from your current customer base and also gain attention from potential customers.
Reasons to Create a Hashtag
There are many reasons you may start a branded hashtag for your business. It could be to start a Twitter chat around your service or business topic and range from promoting a product to promoting an event.
Some other well-known reasons why businesses create and use branded hashtags:
- Promotions and Campaigns
- Charity Activities
- Product Launches & Specials
- Career Opportunities Within Your Business
- To facilitate user-generated content
- Showcase brand ambassadors and fans
How to Create a Hashtag
While there are not any hard and fast rules to creating a hashtag, there are some basic tips that work no matter the reason for your new branded hashtag.
- On the shorter side. The recommended length is 6 characters.
- Easy to remember. Anything complicated that doesn’t remind people instantly of your brand, will be forgotten and not utilized. Also, any abnormally spelled words often fail unless you’re absolutely sure your community knows you be that spelling.
- Exclusive to your brand – be sure to check if the hashtag is already in use.
- Focused on one message. Don’t mix two words together that are unrelated or mean opposite things.
- Unique and not generic. Anything generic can be easily co-opted by another brand.
- Not a Slang term. Check sites to see if your wanted word or phrase can possibly mean something entirely different than you attended.
Is It Time to Use a Hashtag?
Once you’ve found a hashtag that isn’t already being used by another brand or campaign so it’s uniquely yours, it’s probably time to launch. The time to launch a hashtag across platforms is when you have news to share or a campaign specifically targeted to that hashtag. We suggest planning out your social media calendar at least 30 days out to see where all the opportunities to use your hashtag can be found. This way you can visually see where your hashtag fits into your daily messages.
Promoting Your Hashtag
Now you’ve decided on a hashtag-fantastic! Now it’s time to promote it. The easiest and first step is to just jump in and start added it to the appropriate social media posts. You can even make a “announcement” post of the hashtag to gain attention and let people know it’s ready to use. Also, let your customers and fans know about the hashtag.
Here’s some tips on where to use your branded hashtag:
- Twitter, known as the home of the hashtag. This is where your branded hashtag can have the most life. Not only can each tweet have a hashtag and it can also have a link. With the new character count on Twitter, you can easily add your branded hashtag to every tweet it works with.
- Facebook, while hashtags haven’t caught on like they have on other platforms, they are still useful. One best use is for Facebook search, this way people can see across pages and profiles what is going on with the hashtag. Best use is for campaigns and sharing user-generated content.
- Instagram, the second home of the hashtag along with Twitter. One tip – if you share from Instagram to twitter, use your hashtag first. This way it won’t be cut off during the share. Instagram allows several hashtags to be use on one post. Your hashtag should always come first followed by the next two most important hashtags to your company or campaign.
- Pinterest, the vision board of social media. You can create a board just based off a hashtag. It’s a fantastic place to showcase anything to do with brand ambassadors and campaign. You can even let your brand ambassadors and fan contribute to the board.
There are also “hashtag” directories to list your hashtag in. The most most known site is:
Twubs is a free registration that exposes the primary information about your hashtag in a format optimized for search engines.
Also, there are many tools like Hootsuite and SproutSocial that will track and report of hashtags for you inside their social media packages.
Is your business ready for a brand hashtag? If so, now is the time to launch and get that brand exposure. There are even more tips to creating a hashtag that we’ll be discussing soon, so be sure to check back in.