In 2007, Twitter popularized “hashtags” by making them a staple communication medium for its microblogging platform. Now, it’s hard to imagine our virtual life without them and they show up on all popular social media channels as a tagging tool for topics or groups of topics. Hashtag marketing has grown rapidly as a result: businesses are using hashtags to increase the reach of their posts and to increase the number of interactions. We explain what exactly this form of marketing is and how you can successfully incorporate marketing hashtags into your social media marketing mix.
What is hashtag marketing?
Hashtag marketing, as the name suggests, is based on the hashtag. Hashtags are keywords preceded by a cross (#, and. Hash ). The thematic assignment by these hashtags allows users to search for articles or sets of topics on websites that interest them. Using hashtags appropriately can therefore significantly increase the reach of published articles .
Hashtag marketing has also established itself in the implementation of guerrilla marketing strategies, as hashtags offer the potential for viral spread. Observing certain trends in the hashtag allows companies to identify hot topics and derive a suitable content strategy.
Using hashtags correctly in marketing: How does the hashtag marketing work?
Implementing a successful hashtag marketing strategy requires extensive research for the right keywords . Depending on the type and objective of a campaign, existing or newly created hashtags may be considered. Often the combination of different hashtags is the cornerstone of a successful marketing strategy, to lead to increased visibility and wider user interaction. In summary, hashtags can be categorized as follows:
- The popular hashtags reach a particularly wide scope, but are competing with many other contributions.
- Hot hashtags on a hot topic give businesses the opportunity to participate in a discussion.
- New hashtags that are directly related to a business and thus increase the visibility of the brand.
Today, hashtag marketing is integrated into the vast majority of social media strategies and is not only used on Twitter but also on other platforms – from Facebook to LinkedIn.
The hashtag marketing: different types and examples
Not all hashtags are the same: depending on the type, companies achieve different goals on their hashtag marketing strategy. Some keywords primarily increase the reach of contributions, others increase brand visibility. We present three types of popular marketing hashtags and show how companies have successfully incorporated them into their posts.
Brand hashtags: personal and unique
Some large groups create their own hashtag. It is generally short, easy to remember, and contains the name of the company or brand. In some cases, it’s the customers who have developed a branded hashtag themselves, which the company then adopts in their posts. In this way, companies increase their interaction rate and motivate their followers to use the hashtag as well. This automatically increases the reach of posts and brand perception .
Brand hashtags on Instagram
Facebook’s subsidiary Instagram for Business has today become an essential communication tool. As one of the largest social media platforms, Instagram provides businesses with promising advertising opportunities and wide reach. With the online service, contributions can be tagged relatively frequently, up to 30 hashtags per post. The brand hashtag is therefore almost always used.
Example : the clothing brand “Stay Cold Apparel” has nearly 250,000 subscribers on Instagram. The company has generated several hashtags from its brand , such as #staycoldapparel , #staycold and #staycoldfit . While the brand itself has posted around 3,700 posts, already more than 48,000 posts with the hashtag #staycold have been generated. This shows that the community has embraced the hashtag as well , further increasing the reach of the business.
The brand’s hashtags on Facebook
A profile on Facebook is essential for companies. However, unlike Instagram, hashtags are used less often – not least because of their lower efficiency. The reason is that Facebook users rarely use hashtags to search for posts that interest them. Thus, hashtags are used very rarely and only in a very targeted way .
Example : An example of a successful Facebook marketing hashtag is #thisisqueensland . The Australian state of Queensland’s tourism organization “Tourism and Events Queensland” regularly shares the best photos of the region on its website. The organization also encourages tourists to tag their vacation photos , which increases the reach of the organization.
Branded hashtags on Twitter
On Twitter, each tweet is limited to a length of 280 characters . For comparison: Instagram has 2,200 characters per post. So companies are using Twitter marketing hashtags much more sparingly and effectively.
Example : Samsung Electronics creates its own hashtags from the names of its products. In this way, the keywords can easily be incorporated into their posts. For the release of the Samsung Galaxy S21, for example, the company created a new hashtag #TheNextGalaxy . With this hashtag marketing campaign, Samsung has increased its interactions with users, its communication about the new product and its brand visibility.
LinkedIn brand hashtags
LinkedIn first incorporated hashtags in 2013, but removed the feature the same year. Since 2016 the function is available again – initially limited to the mobile version, since 2017 also in the desktop version. Like on Twitter, each post only has one or two hashtags .
Example : The Nike company uses the hashtag “Just Do It” on LinkedIn from the name of its 30-year marketing campaign. Since the creation of social media and the use of hashtags, many users have posted contributions on different platforms tagging them with a #justdoit.
Event Hashtags: Temporary Marketing Strategy for Events
Event hashtags, unlike branded hashtags, are not used permanently. Their designation already indicates the use for which they are intended. These keywords refer to a one-off or recurring event . Their use usually begins even before the event so that businesses can gain attention. At the event, there is a good chance that visitors will use this marketing hashtag in order to follow the event live. Businesses can effectively use event hashtags even if they are not the organizers themselves.
Event-hashtags in marketing: example on Instagram
The organizers of the American tech conference “Collision” created the hashtag #collisionconf. The abbreviation of the name of the event makes it easier to remember it. A comparable example is the hashtag #libfestival, which shortens the actual name of the event “Lightning In A Bottle Festival”.
Tips for a successful hashtag marketing strategy
The strategic use of hashtags is now an integral part of social media marketing . In particular, on Instagram and Twitter, hashtag marketing can greatly increase the reach of your posts . We have summarized how marketing hashtags can be used for campaign success.
Hashtag marketing requires you to thoroughly research the hashtags you will be using. Important information about a keyword are, for example, the number of posts that have been tagged with that keyword and how often the hashtag is used. It is necessary to repeat this research constantly. This way, companies make sure that they use trending and topical subjects on time.
Recognize and use trends
Hashtags are also subject to fashion moves , and some are only current for a very short time. Trending hashtags provide the opportunity to gain high reach and quickly increase the number of followers.
Know your competitors and targets
A detailed hashtag research also includes a competitive analysis . What hashtags do businesses with similar targets use? The rate of user interaction on competing items also helps analyze whether the business strategy is successful.
Use of different hashtags
There is no practical manual that can guarantee a successful marketing strategy with the use of hashtags. In many cases, however, combining different hashtags makes sense. Most companies therefore combine general and popular hashtags with industry relevant and company specific keywords.
Cooperate with influencers
Influencer marketing in particular allows young companies to increase their visibility in a short time. To use hashtag marketing well when collaborating with influencers, it is recommended to develop a common communication strategy, campaign and branded hashtags .
Define objectives and measure your performance
The definition of objectives makes it possible to measure the performance of a campaign and to adjust its strategy if necessary. The classic goals of a hashtag marketing strategy are to increase the reach, number of links, or number of visitors to the website or online store. In order to gauge success, key figures are measured before and after the campaign. However, the marketing hashtag is constantly evolving. A permanent adaptation of the strategy to the interests of the users is therefore an integral part of this form of marketing.