How to use hashtags for brands

Hashtags: Rocket Your Brand into the Social Stratosphere

February 13, 2014by hiebing2021

Social media is full of disparate groups of individuals tweeting, updating and posting their most personal moments in the most public space—think Instagram, Twitter and Google+. Most of the time, only a few friends or acquaintances will be exposed to these random looks into our life (likely even fewer with Facebook’s algorithm updates). However, there is one symbol with the power to bind these random conversations and thoughts: hashtags.

It’s an area where individuals excel naturally but brands struggle mightily. With a heavy focus on pushing marketing goals, many businesses fall flat at contributing to these connected conversations or at starting dialogue of their own.

To properly leverage this trendsetting, audience-grabbing tool, it’s essential to know not only the different types of hashtags but also how to unleash the potential of each. Weave these four breeds of hashtag into your brand’s Instagram, Twitter or Google+ presence and you’ll rocket your brand into a prominent spot in the social stratosphere.

#Mainstream Hashtags:

Whether it’s a hashtag centered around themed content (#ThrowbackThursday), a broad trending noun or action (#football, #selfie) or a completely new addition to the social lexicon (#felfie: a farmer selfie), there are limitless opportunities for brands to jump into established conversations.

As a rule, lean toward simple, one-word category hashtags or relevant, commonly used trends. Steer clear of controversy and avoid overcomplicated trends where your brand doesn’t belong. You can also find related hashtags by typing a term into Statigram’s search engine and discovering similar trends.

#Branded Hashtags:

Without prompting, many consumers will hashtag your brand in posts and tweets (for better or worse). Accepting and encouraging this behavior is highly recommended. It gives you a chance to monitor and address conversations about your brand.

Don’t be shy about using your brand’s hashtag in your own posts. Though you shouldn’t expect the same boosted reach of a mainstream hashtag, call out your individual products in dedicated hashtags to inspire fans and followers to do the same. (Be honest: if it’s an overly complicated product name that no sane person would take the time to type, skip it.)

#Ironic Hashtags:

Fun over functionality, ironic hashtags give a quick quip or comment at the end of a post, poking fun at what’s been shared.

If you plan on using hashtags to be funny, make them funny. You may not be getting any additional reach with these tags, but if done right, you’ll provide some added and appreciated entertainment.

#Promo Hashtags:

Whether it’s a newly released product or a featured deal, promo hashtags are great at generating brand buzz.

First, come up with a unique, easy-to-remember hashtag with no more than two combined words that are related to the promotion. Share it across various channels and provide an incentive for people to use the hashtag (a prize, etc.). Begin employing it in your own posts so your fans gain exposure to it. With the right coaxing, your fans will hop on the bandwagon and spread your promotion out to their own networks.

In case you’re still struggling with the trendsetting social tool, watch Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake hash it out here.

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