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Building Social Media Buzz: The Power Of Branded Hashtags


Some brands seem to effortlessly stand out on social media. They start trends rather than jump on them, post memes which actually land, and seem to get free shoutouts all over the place.

There’s often a lot more strategy that goes into this success than you think. And we’re here to talk about one of the top strategies for getting your business trending: branded hashtags.


What exactly is a branded hashtag?

A branded hashtag is a unique and catchy hashtag that represents your brand and invites engagement from your community. #ShareACoke #ShotoniPhone #JustDoIt.

As you can see, the hashtag can include your brand name or product name. Or it can just be so iconic that people immediately associate it with your company. (Hi, Nike!)

What these three well-known examples have in common is that your average follower wants to use the hashtag. 

  • Drinking Coke with friends? #ShareACoke. 
  • Posting a could-be-DSLR flatlay you took on your phone? #ShotoniPhone. 
  • Sharing a carefully angled mirror selfie from the gym? #JustDoIt.


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Why should you care?

When a branded hashtag takes off, you receive more mentions, more engagement, and potentially a bunch of footage of your product or service. 

Every person with a social media account and at least one follower has influence. If you can get people excited about your branded hashtag, they’ll influence all their followers to show interest in your brand … and there’s no creator payout. Wait for the snowball effect to come into play and the magic really happens.

Heard of social proof theory? Psychologists consistently find that people are more likely to buy a product or use a service if they can see others doing so. When people see their friends using your branded hashtag, they’ll trust you and be more likely to bite.


How to make your branded hashtag take off

This might all sound a little hard to achieve, especially if you’re a small to medium business. 

If you have a very small following and engagement rate, you might want to work on building those up before launching your branded hashtag. But as soon as you’ve got some momentum going, it’s time to hashtag.

To make your branded hashtag take off, you need a great concept, a plan for how you’ll engage your followers and a commitment to pushing the hashtag across your channels. That’s true for a business of any size.


10 tips for using branded hashtags

  1. Make it short and catchy. Include a verb if possible!
  2. Think about why your followers would use the hashtag in their own posts.
  3. Run it by a focus group and make sure another brand isn’t using something similar.
  4. Launch the branded hashtag at an optimal time.
  5. Use it consistently – don’t try to get lots of different ones going at once.
  6. Promote it across your social channels. Put it in your bios, organic posts and ads.
  7. Say it aloud in reels, stories and TikToks.
  8. Set a branded hashtag challenge.
  9. Use it in a giveaway.
  10. Engage with other posts using your branded hashtag.


How to create a branded hashtag on Instagram

Creating a branded hashtag on Instagram is as easy as pressing the # key and typing in your hashtag. Instagram has promotion options specifically for branded hashtags, but, practically speaking, a branded hashtag is the same as any other.

Except that you’re going to do way more strategising than you would with any other hashtag!


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A post shared by Walt Disney World (@waltdisneyworld)

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A post shared by / (@kleindani)

Disney’s #ShareYourEars hashtag campaign demonstrates an amazing social media strategy.

  1. It’s memorable. It includes a verb (share), a second-person pronoun (your) and a noun with brand connotations (ears).
  2. It’s interactive. Disney invited fans to post pictures in their Mickey Mouse ears – and people were excited to get involved.
  3. It’s doing something good. Disney donated $5 to Make-A-Wish for every image posted with the hashtag.
  4. It’s everywhere. Disney launched the hashtag across their channels, with a focus on Instagram, and also installed #ShareYourEars photo frames in Disneyland. 


The TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenge

TikTok challenges encourage businesses and creators to experiment with videos. Initiate your own branded hashtag challenge on TikTok, encourage users to take part and watch as your engagement skyrockets.

E.g. Tell us about your top digital innovation this year #TimeToDigivate!

Think about something quirky, brand-aligned, and most importantly, something that will drive engagement with your target audience. For inspiration, check out some TikTok branded hashtag challenge examples – the app is filled with fun ideas.

@yanntufanes Rejoins le challenge #PlayWithPringles #sponsorisé ♬ Don’t Stop Don’t Stop – Paul Leary, Nait Masuku

Ready, Set, #GoViral!

A well-thought-out branded hashtag can multiply your social media presence. So, brainstorm, get creative, and start hashtagging.

Looking for help launching your branded hashtag? We offer strategic organic social and PPC services to a broad range of brands. Get in touch and let’s talk hashtags.

How can we help?

We can implement the right technology and analytics for your business, set up tracking tags across all online activity and create a content strategy for all customer touchpoints that drive the prospects towards the final conversion.

Get in touch today
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