What Are Branded Hashtags? Do I Need Them?

Hashtags have become a crucial part of social media growth since their conception in 2007 by social technology expert Chris Messina. Although most people use them to increase the likes on their vacation pictures, companies and brands can use hashtags to their benefit, too. Creating a hashtag that is unique to you is known as a branded hashtag, and if used correctly, they can be used to promote your company in countless ways.

Do all companies need a branded hashtag?

Branded hashtags are beneficial, but your company doesn’t necessarily need one to prosper. However, there are many different ways to use a branded hashtag, so no matter what you’re trying to accomplish you could probably work one into your marketing strategy. Branded hashtags can increase traffic, give you brand awareness, and more.

Examples of a branded hashtag include, but are not limited to: #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola, the #IceBucketChallenge by the ALS Association, and #MyCalvins by Calvin Klein.

How should I create a branded hashtag?

A branded hashtag can be created for anything you’d like to promote within your business. For example, if you have a specific campaign or product launch, you could create one around that. When making the hashtag, you need to consider the rest of your branding. If you’re using a different tone in your hashtag (e.g. professional versus friendly), it can disconnect it from the rest of your brand.

For the sake of this post, let’s hypothetically come up with our own: #BrandedHashtagAwareness.

That hashtag may be too long; when creating your own, you ideally want to make sure it’s something short and memorable. Longer hashtags may not take off because social media users can feel that it’s too much work or too difficult to write. You also need to be aware of how it looks in different formatting. You want to avoid your hashtag having a different meaning if no capital letters are used.

How should I use a branded hashtag?

While hashtags can be extremely beneficial, it’s also easy to abuse them. Most of your followers won’t like seeing a huge list of hashtags. They likely also won’t enjoy feeling like you are overusing the hashtag. You want to ensure you’re being purposeful and appropriate with the use of it. So, looking back on our example of #BrandedHashtagAwareness, we wouldn’t want to use this hashtag in a post that has nothing to do with branded hashtags.

At the end of the day, you should just monitor the interactions on your posts with a hashtag. From there you can decide if your strategy is working or needs to be changed.

Tips on using hashtags:

  • Don’t be afraid to be humorous. Hashtags are a good way to bring personality into your branding. Remember that you don’t need to be serious and strict with your hashtag creation. In fact, a clever hashtag may be more likely to attract attention.
  • Create a hashtag that’s relevant to current events. It can be good to relate your brand to a current internet trend, but you also want to be careful of avoiding a controversy.
  • Draw in local customers with a location hashtag. If you’re trying to appeal to your local audience, you can have an event at a locally known location. This is a great way to network and show that you’re part of your community.
  • If you’re trying to bring more attention to your hashtag, combine it with other hashtags from your industry on social sites like Instagram. Using your very new, very unused branded hashtag (other than those from your own company) on its own won’t have enough power to lift off.
  • Ask advocates of your business to share the hashtag as well when posting related content. These can be followers, other businesses, or even just friends of your business. The more people you have using the branded hashtag, the faster it will kick-off and become a hit.

Hashtags are simple, but they do have their own rules. Implementing something new into your social media marketing can be a daunting task, but that’s what companies like ours are here for. If you feel like you need some help with social media management, we’d love to work with you and help you find your direction!

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