Did you know the hashtag was first proposed in a tweet way back in 2007?
Twitter dismissed the idea at first as a “thing for nerds.”
But seeing how people used hashtags during the 2007 San Diego forest fires, Twitter accepted hashtags as a “thing for everyone.”
Since the beginning, the role of hashtags was to help users search for specific, relevant content quickly and easily.
Today, hashtags are used across multiple social media platforms to help users find, follow, and contribute to conversations.
But they’re also very helpful to business owners like you — to organize, draw attention, promote, and connect with your target audience.
If you’re not using hashtags in your posts or optimizing them, now is the time to do it.
8 Hashtag Marketing Hacks that Increase Engagement on Instagram and Twitter
The right hashtags can boost your online presence, increase your reach, and attract new customers!
In this article, you’ll learn how to use hashtags properly so you can create better-targeted digital marketing campaigns and drive results for your business.
I'll start with the 6 most important types of hashtags for digital marketing.
Yes, there are different kinds of hashtags — and you should know them so you can use them properly in your campaigns.
The 6 Kinds of Hashtags for Marketing
#1: Branded Hashtags
Did you know that the most-used type of hashtag on Instagram are branded hashtags?
Branded hashtags refer to your very own unique hashtags that you create around your brand. It can be your business name, tagline, products, campaign, or adjective that best describe your company or brand.
You can use branded hashtags to spread the word about your business, build a community around your brand, and follow user-generated content about your business.
If you haven’t created a branded hashtag for your business, here are some tips that can help you:
- Keep it short and simple but memorable
- It should be relevant to you and your audience
- Integrate your business name
- Be consistent with your hashtags across all your social media accounts
- Research your hashtag to make sure no one has taken it
Once you’ve created your very own branded hashtag, you should use it on every one of your posts (as long as it’s relevant) to populate it with content.
For example, your company name is Owen’s Surplus Store.
You can use #OSurplusStore on every post you publish on Instagram. You can also other variations like #OSurplusStoreAvail to let your followers know which items aren’t sold yet or #OSurplusStoreSale for items on sale.
#2: Community Hashtags
Community hashtags are hashtags that generate user-generated content around a specific subject matter.
They’re usually used by customers to tag your business in their posts featuring your products or services.
Community hashtags are great for creating a community among your customer base, allowing your followers to interact and engage with each other with regards to your products or services. And, community hashtags still include your business name in some form and often contain a lifestyle or community element like, “Community.”
Community hashtags are essential because they help your customers feel like they’re a part of a bigger community.
It creates a sense of belongingness, allowing them to engage with people who have the same preference or interest as them.
Featuring reviews or feedback from real-life people on your posts is also a great way to boost your brand authenticity and establish trust among your audience. It also encourages brand loyalty and awareness as more and more people want to take part in this community.
#3: Campaign Hashtags
Campaign hashtags are for launching digital marketing campaigns or contests.
They usually have a start and end date. This type of hashtag allows businesses to track contest entries and evaluate conversations around their marketing campaigns.
When creating a campaign hashtag for your brand, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- It should be able to convey the message of your campaign
- Do your research to make sure that the hashtag hasn’t been used by other businesses or companies.
- Your hashtag should not have any double-entendre
#4: Event Hashtags
Event hashtags are hashtags you can use to gain momentum and create a conversation around your event.
It also helps event attendees organize their online conversations and stay virtually connected even after the event has ended. Event hashtags can be re-used for annual events.
But if you want to have a year-specific hashtag to create a new conversation from the previous year, then that would be great too. Here are some tips on how to develop hashtags for your events:
- Make sure it’s relevant to your event
- Choose a hashtag that isn’t currently being used
- Make it concise
- The easiest way to create an event hashtag is to abbreviate the name of your event and then add the year
Make sure you introduce your hashtag at the beginning of your event and encourage participants to use it.
#5: Holiday Hashtags
You don’t need to have your hashtags during holidays.
You can use the same hashtag as everybody else, like #maythefourthbewithyou, #holidayshopping, or #thanksgiving. Just make sure to use these hashtags responsibly by posting content that’s relevant to it.
#6: Trending Hashtags
Trending Hashtags are a great hashtag marketing strategy.
These types of conversations are often short-lived, so you want to join in and make yourself relevant as fast as possible. But again, don’t force it if it’s something that isn’t appropriate for your company or your audiences.
Do your research first to understand why it’s trending in the first place to avoid using it irresponsibly. Trending hashtags, when used properly, can help increase your visibility online.
Now that we’ve discussed the 6 different types of hashtags, it’s time to teach you how to use these hashtags properly for better social media marketing campaigns.
8 Must-Try Hashtag Marketing Hacks for Instagram and Twitter
1. Use Unpopular Hashtags
It might sound counterintuitive, but it works, especially on Twitter.
Popular hashtags sometimes get too populated that it decreases your chance of getting seen because there are so many other tweets. It’s best to use a combination of popular hashtags and less common ones so you can also target a niche market.
For example, the hashtag #blackfriday is so common that it has more than 17 million posts on Instagram alone.
Your posts might drown in a sea of content from other businesses, so it’s wise to use something more specific like #blackfridayshoes if your business has something to do with selling shoes or #blackfridaysandals.
It’s a great way to target those who are looking for shoes or sandals during the sale!
2. Use Relevant Hashtags
The right hashtags can get you in front of your target audience quickly.
It’s a great way to increase your visibility online and attract new customers. However, irrelevant hashtags can confuse users and discourage them from engaging with your business.
#Nature and #Summer may describe the background of your product image, but if your entire feed isn’t about nature, then these tags are irrelevant and may attract the wrong crowd.
Choose hashtags that are consistent with who you are as a brand, with what you have to offer, and how you want people to perceive you.
Make sure to research every type of hashtag you use in your posts or tweets to make sure they’re appropriate and relevant to your business and your audience. It’s best to use your own branded hashtags for your content. This way, it’s easier for users to generate any posts or tweets about your business.
3. Avoid Using Multiple Hashtags Unless Necessary
A lot of people make the mistake of using too many hashtags in their posts — thinking that it will increase the effectiveness of the hashtag — but it won’t. They’re not only annoying to look at but also desperate.
Your followers might get turned off by all the unnecessary hashtags you use in your tweets or posts and unfollow you. If you want, you can use multiple hashtags in the comments section. Avoid using it as a caption.
Here is the proper hashtag etiquette you want to keep in mind:
- Treat hashtags like keywords. Use hashtags that your target audience will likely use when they’re trying to look for something on social media
- Avoid using more than two hashtags to prevent your posts from looking spammy
- Avoid using irrelevant hashtags
4. Use Local Hashtags
If you own a small to medium-sized business, it’s best to use local hashtags to create community awareness and attract highly targeted individuals in your area.
These people will likely be interested in your products or services. Use hashtags like #shoplocalCalifornia or #smallbusinessCalifornia if you own a small business in California and want to promote it.
5. Join Hashtag Trends
Joining hashtag trends can make you look relevant to your target audience. It’s also a great way to get your brand out there and showcase the personality of your company.
It can also be a means to connect with other users. So, take advantage of hashtag trends if it’s relevant to your social presence.
However, it’s important not to rush responding to trending hashtags to avoid making posts or tweets that are out of context.
6. Research First
People expect you to respond to trends promptly, but you don’t want to sacrifice appropriateness for speed.
Do your research first to understand the context of the trending hashtag, then respond accordingly. If you don’t do your research and use the hashtag for unrelated things, people might see you as tone-deaf, out of touch, or insensitive.
What’s worse is you might end up capitalizing on a tragedy to promote your products or services, which can offend a lot of people and discourage them from engaging with your business. Make sure you do your research first to protect your business reputation.
Using a hashtag inappropriately can put you in a bad place — that’s why it’s important to do your research first.
An example of this was when Kenneth Cole used the trending hashtag #Cairo to plug its new spring collection amid the Egyptian Revolution. It was not only insensitive and offensive but also ignorant of Kenneth Cole to take advantage of this trending hashtag to promote its new stocks!
If you want your brand to engage with the latest news, make sure your tweets or posts are not promotional and are brand-appropriate.
7. Use a Hashtag Tracker
Tracking your hashtags is important because it provides you insights on how to improve your digital marketing campaigns in the future. Here are the top reasons why you should track your hashtags:
A. Allows you to engage people in real-time during events
Using a hashtag dedicated to your event is a great way to monitor the conversations going on during your event, find people in need of assistance, gather feedback, identify participants, and measure the social media reach of your hashtag.
B. Allows you to measure your brand awareness
Tracking your hashtags allows you to see how many people use them in their posts and who uses them frequently.
Your hashtag’s social media reach will give you an idea of how your company is seen online.
C. Enables you to monitor and analyze your digital marketing campaigns
Hashtags enable you to easily measure the success of your marketing campaigns by checking the number of mentions, engagement, and if any influential sources are using your hashtag.
D. Enable you to understand the kinds of conversations around hashtags
Tracking your hashtag allows you to understand in what context your hashtag is being used and the sentiments around it.
You’ll know because the tracker will display the most frequently used words alongside your hashtag.
Are they positive?
By knowing these things, you’ll be able to make the necessary corrections or improvements.
8. Stay Updated
Add terms that are savvy and “in” to your hashtags and emojis.
This will not only make you look relevant to your followers, but it can also make you look happy, fun, and vibrant!
Top Examples of Successful Hashtag Marketing Campaigns
1. #PutACanOnIt by Red Bull
Red Bull launched a #PutACanOnIt campaign after seeing a photo on Twitter wherein the photographer positioned a Red Bull can on top of a car to make it look as though it was a trademarked Red Bull car.
This trend quickly set off, and people started creating their images with Red Bull cans placed in random positions to make it look like something!
2. #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola launched a #ShareaCoke campaign where they produced cans and bottles where the phrase “Share a Coke With…” was on the labels.
Each of these cans has a different name or title on them, like “Share a Coke With Dad” or “Share a Coke with Anne.”
Coca-Cola was able to use this hashtag campaign to encourage coke drinkers to share their stories with the #ShareACoke hashtag.
The campaign was a massive success in that the hashtag #ShareACoke became a no.1 global trending topic on social media!
3. #OreoHorrorStories by Oreo
Oreo launched a Halloween hashtag campaign where it used Vine to create quick Oreo-theme horror parodies of famous horror films.
The campaign was a success because it was able to generate user-involvement — and people loved it!
5 Tips on How to Find the Right Hashtags to Use
Here are some tips to help you develop the right hashtags for your posts and Tweets:
- Study what hashtags the influencers in your industry are using and how they’re using them
- Use words that your target audience will most likely use searching social media
- Create sub-hashtags that are related to your main hashtag
- Write all of these down and identify which ones are the best to use by checking their popularity and volume
- Make sure that hashtags you’ve chosen don’t have any double meaning
Are You Ready to Use Hashtags to Take Your Digital Marketing Campaigns to the Next Level?
Hashtags play an important role in your digital marketing strategy, whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, create momentum before launching a new product, or looking to give back to a charitable campaign.
They can get your content in front of potential customers, expand your reach, and boost your brand awareness. They also help users to cut through the noise and quickly find your content.
If you haven’t been using hashtags to your advantage, now is the best time to do it.
Have you used hashtags in your marketing campaigns? Please drop a comment below — we’d love to hear about it!