A hashtag campaign is and effective medium to enhance business profitability in the shortest time frame. A versatile medium, it provides tremendous opportunities for business to explore. For instance, they get access to millions of target customers for promoting and marketing of their goods and services under the right hashtag. However, even businesses of any size fail to realize the maximum potential of this strategy because of some widespread—and sometimes irrational—fears.
But don’t worry. We’re here to keep your digital advertising game on point and help you master the art of hashtag campaigns.
But before we being, I must first ask you to forget what you think you know about hashtags in marketing. Here we bring a list of some of the hashtag campaign fears. Time to debunk them without delay!
Fear #1: “Nobody will use my hashtag”
Did you hear about the latest Shia LaBeouf film that only sold one ticket in the U.K.? Nobody wants to be that poor guy!
Oh, the eternal fear of being ignored! It comes from the want of being noticed. And when it comes to marketing… that is just about everything you want!
After putting so much time, money, effort, sweat and tears into the launch of your hashtag campaign is that no one notices it—insert cricket noises here—. But that’s exactly what it is: the worst-case scenario. There are many things that can happen before absolutely no one uses your hashtag.
Although there’s always a risk—and you’ll have to come to terms with that—, there are some things you can do to minimize the chances of being unnoticed by the internet.
Solution: Promote thoughtfully and be specific
If you want people to use your hashtag, they first need to know it exist. Yes, you should use your hashtag on every Twitter and Instagram post. But only because hashtags were born in the social media world, that doesn’t mean that’s the only place where you can use them. Promote your hashtag campaign in your newsletter, your website and even in traditional media like print, radio and TV. The more you use it, the more they’ll see it.
But if they see it and don’t find it appealing, it will be just as worthless as if they had never seen it in the first place. You have to make them want to participate.
To do that, first you have to target the right audience. If you sell baby products but use the hashtag #catfood the audience your post will reach will probably not give a peanut for what you’re selling. Choose your hashtags carefully.
Also, try and hone in on a passionate community that shares an interest in one specific theme. The more specific you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be—and a targeted audience generally means better engagement. Again, with the baby products example, instead of using #parents, resulting in parents of 0 to 60 years old children, opt for #newmom. This is more specific to mothers of newborns—your ultimate target customer.
Fear 2: “I could be sued for using another brand’s hashtag”
Whatever the size of your business, if you are launching a hashtag campaign, it probably is to build brand awareness and to promote your products or services through social media. It never is to get in trouble—hopefully.
There’s this implied idea that if a company create a hashtag designated for their brand or a specific campaign, they automatically have ownership of the hashtag, meaning that them—and no one but them—can use it to advertise.
Smaller businesses tend to be afraid of getting into legal trouble for using certain hashtags that bigger companies promote on their social media. But the reality couldn’t be further from reality.
Solution: Be original and creative
The solution here, and reality of hashtag ownership, is simple: you cannot legally own a hashtag, nor do you own the right to a piece of content because “your” hashtag was used.
Brands push the boundaries of hashtag ownership because the act of creating original, compelling content is time consuming, difficult, and expensive. And that much is true.
So, yes, legally, you can use whatever the heck hashtag you want. But if you start sharing your content under the hashtag #JustDoIt, you’ll only be one more post among the sea of pictures and videos shared everyday related to Nike products—which will be absolutely useless for your marketing purposes—, not to mention you may harm your brand’s reputation and be forever known as the #copycat.
Instead of using a hashtag that is already taken, come up with a relevant hashtag of your own. Make your research, be creative, and create a hashtag that represents your brand and what you stand for. And remember, it doesn’t have to mention your business’ name—read: shouldn’t—Think of it as a short, catchy, easy to remember slogan.
Coming up with your very own brand hashtag is great for user-generated content campaigns and contests. It will not only drive participation and engagement, but it will also organize all the posts that are tagged with it on a hashtag page. This is helpful if you’re using the hashtag to collect entries for a promotion or contest.
Fear #3: “What if my hashtag campaign backfires?”
The first thing you need to know about hashtag hijacking is that they happen.
Hashtags, as good as they may be, they are also kind of risky, because it is in the nature of social media that initiating a conversation doesn’t mean you’re even remotely in control of that conversation. Brands are no strangers to their hashtag campaigns being hijacked. Just as Robin Thicke about when his Twitter Q&A session got hijacked by questions about his misogynist lyrics—the ultimate hashtag gone wrong.
Most likely, you are not a misogynistic brand. But even if you’re clean, you’re not bulletproof. Reality is you might have to deal with a hashtag hijacking at some point. Or, if it doesn’t go that far—hopefully—you may still worry about inappropriate content being share through your hashtag—a.k.a. porn—.
What to do?
Solution: Take the wheel
Yes, we said you can’t control what people put on Twitter or Instagram using your hashtag. And that much is true. But you can control what you choose to show.
With a social media wall, you can create a safe space for all the social media content from your campaign and filter out the unpleasant posts.
Hashslider, for example, has extensive moderation features that let you take charge of which content is displayed and which one is tossed. With our moderator view, you can censor and uncensored—just in case you change your mind—all the content by just clicking on it.
Using Hashslider, you make sure your campaign hub looks awesome and you don’t have to worry if your hashtag is hijacked.
Over all, the better you plan your campaign in advance, the better and more smoothly it will run. Be smart about picking your hashtag. Take time to come up with a creative, original idea. Use Hashslider to manage unsavory bits. It might take a few campaigns for fears to subside completely, but if you keep trying and delivering good content, you’ll see that hashtag campaigns can do wonders for your business!