Nowadays, you would rarely see a social media marketing campaign that doesn’t utilize a branded hashtag. Back in June 2013 when Facebook finally gave in to the hashtag madness at last. Who would have ever imagined that this little symbol can link conversations on various social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Google+. You would ask how large has it become since then? It has been so large and widely used that the American Dialect Society declared the word “hashtag” as the Word of the Year in 2012.

With the history and impact of hashtag in our modern culture, more and more companies are encouraging customers to connect and interact through their use of hashtags. It is believed to be a very effective way to connect advertising and social media marketing campaigns, and to gather user-generated information from customers.

Even though hashtags are not being linked directly to online transactions, it can still be considered as a strong tool that can drive and attract sales, even offline. For example, when a customer sees a hashtag on a print or TV commercial, he/she has a quick and simple way to immediately connect with the product on social media. How? Well, once a customer engages in a hashtag-driven social media campaign, companies can collate information during the submission process, and in return is a reliable way to offer discounts, deals, and sales to prospective consumers. In other words, hashtags present a great opportunity for content marketers to determine social media conversations relevant to their business and get the content that they need from the right market audience.

Most of all, hashtags provides a great way for customers to effectively participate and engage in a brand’s marketing efforts. If they see themselves featured on a brand’s website or social media accounts, or especially if they get to win a prize through a social contest, they will feel more connected and valued, which results to better customer relationship and build a stronger loyalty between you and them.

So here are some best practices that you can use as a guide when it comes to using branded hashtags on social media. Let’s check them out.

Simplicity is Beauty

This is one principle that has been a golden rule in life for some. Same goes when using hashtags — they are most effective and attention-grabbing when they are simple, easy to remember, and action-oriented. A good example of a brief, memorable, and inspiring hashtag is from L’Oreal, which goes #BeExtraordinary. Imagine how a simple word or phrase can make a huge impact to its consumers. Again, make it a point to make a simple yet sensible hashtag for your brand to attract more potential customers.

Utilize Those User-Generated Content

Whenever your hashtag is included in each tweet or post, there is the potential to be a great piece of user-generated content. It is important to have a strategy for using the content you collect from the hashtag campaign such as reposting, sharing, or featuring the content on your business’ accounts or websites. A successful hashtag campaign is determined by the hundreds of thousands of influential photos and messages it generates, as well as the important consumer information that can be gathered from there.

Provide an Incentive

Customers who like and appreciate your brand will continue using your hashtag, whether they will get a reward for doing it or not. However, providing it with an incentive will definitely make it more enticing for them to engage in your campaign. You can consider running your campaign with a prize, from a free product or service to a gift card, for every customer that will patronize your branded hashtag. Give your customers an opportunity to win something by sharing a photo of your product or service using your branded hashtag, for example.

Don’t Abuse Your Hashtag

Now, just because you can hashtag doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. This is last, but not the least, practice when using branded hashtag in social media — don’t abuse your hashtag. Just like eating too many candies or anything sugary, you don’t want your followers to get an #upsetstomach over too many #hashtags in your #feed. Same goes with creating hashtags in ALL CAPS, which is absolutely a no-no and un-polite. Remember to use them wisely if you want to create a powerful and sensible hashtag.

When used properly, hashtags can be largely effective marketing tools, especially in the social networking era we are in now. But as Peter Parker’s wise uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” On that note, they should be regarded with care, respect, and lots of consideration. Most of all, we should never underestimate the impact of the hashtag, as this once overlooked character on the keyboard is quickly becoming one of the most powerful punctuation marks in the social media world.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 6:35:08 PM and is filed under Mixellaneous.

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