What are Branded Hashtags and How to Use Them

November 6, 2020

Consider these hashtags:

#cocacola, #nike, #nikeshoes, #WhatsYourName, and #WellTravelled.

What do they all share in common? Of course, you know the answer ... each of them is a branded hashtag.

A branded hashtag is a custom hashtag that is unique to your brand or business. They can range from names of companies to products, campaigns or slogans.

To create a branded hashtag, add the hashtag symbol '#' before the word or phrase (without punctuation), and there you have one!

For small businesses and influencers, branded hashtags provide a way to build brand identity, start conversations, run campaigns, and even sell products.

Where can You Use Branded Hashtags?

Branded hashtag campaigns are worth pursuing on social media. Depending on which type of campaign you're running and the audience demographics, you can for choose any of the platforms.

For example, if you're campaigning for a dance challenge then Instagram and TikTok might be two of the most suitable places. For a chat session, you may want to go to Twitter.

For maximizing the success of your branded hashtags, choose a social media platform where your audience groups are.

We've shared some examples in this article which should give you an idea about where you can run your branded hashtag campaigns. Make sure to check that out.

What is the Use of Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are helpful for both organic and paid social media campaigns. Those can be used for any or all of the following reasons:

  • Create buzz for your brand.
  • Build your brand awareness and identity.
  • Start/join conversations on social media.
  • Encourage user-generated content.
  • Run contests on social media.
  • Even sell your products.

How to Nail Branded Hashtag Campaigns and Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

1. Identify Goals and Set Expectations

Once you've decided where you want to campaign, the next step is to determine your goals and expectations. Without a clear objective and priorities, your effort could easily fall flat.

Your business goals are unique to you, and what you want to achieve with these goals should guide your brand hashtag strategy.

It can be related to selling your products, or increasing brand visibility, and even building brand identity. Or, maybe your goal is to raise awareness for a social cause.

Most often, businesses use brand hashtags with the objective of encouraging brand mentions and influencing community sharing or user-generated content.

Remember, you might not be seeing a sudden growth in terms of followers or engagement. So have patience and stay focused.

2. Get Ideas for Branded Hashtags

Generating branded hashtags can be tricky, especially if you are new to the business.

A great way to start is by researching your competitors and other successful brands.

Scroll through their pages and posts, and take notes when you spot branded hashtags they’ve used or promoted. Pay attention to style variations, word arrangement, and the context where those hashtags were used.

Pro tip: Use branded hashtags in combination with other relevant and popular hashtags. As a new business, it can be challenging to gain visibility if you only stick to using branded hashtags.

3. Create a List of Niche Hashtags

As we mentioned sometime ago, branded hashtags for a new business might not generate immediate results, that's why you need to use more niche hashtags that are relevant for your brand or business.

Visit the social media platform where you want to campaign and research hashtags. Then create a list of hashtags that will boost your content visibility.

Try to look for popular and trending categories, and a mix of competitive and less competitive hashtags.

It's useful for you to know that those hashtags working great on Instagram might not be a good match for your TikTok videos. Additionally, if you use same hashtags for all your posts on Instagram, you might be shadow banned.

That's why we recommend that your hashtag list should be specific to your social media and not repeat.

If it seems time consuming (for sure it is) or confusing, get yourself Hashtag Expert, a smart, intuitive, hashtag generator tool.

Hashtag Expert generates hashtag suggestions personalized to your account, so your chances of getting your content seen is always high.

You can sign up here for free and the download, or get it from the App Store.

Once you are on the app, go to configuration. You'll notice social media icons arranged horizontally. Tap to choose your social media, now go to the 'Generate' tab. Enter first few words of your base hashtag and choose from the list, tap 'Generate Hashtags'.

Alternatively, you can search the 'Trending' tab to browse from trending and popular hashtags in your niche.

When you're happy with the suggestions, copy those hashtags.

4. Add Your Brand Hashtags

The very reason why you're using branded hashtags is to create a buzz and make you/your brand popular.

When you're creating content for social, add your brand hashtag to it.

Some social media channels, like Twitter, doesn't allow you to edit posts once these are published. So make sure your content is full-proof.

On Hashtag Expert, there's a special feature that automatically does this for you. to enable this feature, open app configuration and scroll down to 'Default Hashtags', tap the arrow and type your custom hashtag and tap save.

5. Put Your Hashtags in Use

Now that you have your hashtags ready, it’s time to put them in action. Here are some of the common ways to use your branded Instagram hashtags:

Promoting a Brand Name

Using the business or company name as a branded hashtag is one of the most common and popular social media marketers’ methods. Create a hashtag using your brand name and distribute it across Instagram content. You could also use it on the profile.

Here’s how Coca-Cola is doing it with #MyCocaCola:

Coca-Cola using their branded hashtag #MyCocaCola on Instagram post
Branded Hashtag Example from Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is using their branded hashtag #MyCocaCola across Instagram posts as and when relevant.

Promoting Slogans and Taglines

Does your brand have a tagline or a slogan? Give your brand a voice by creating and promoting branded hashtags around slogans to identify yourself.

Here’s how Nike’s Just Do It is nailing it:

Nike using their famous tagline #Justdoit on Instagram.
Nike using its famous tag line #justdoit

Announcing Promotional Offers, Discounts, Freebies

When Sephora hit the 200K fan-following mark, they wanted to make it unique by announcing a special offer. They encouraged their fans to participate by uploading photos of themselves with a hashtag #SephoramyFans and tag their friends who needed to repost their content with comments.

Sephora promoting their branded hashtag #SephoramyFans upon hitting 200k fans
Sephora promoting branded hashtag #SephoramyFans

This campaign was an immediate hit with their fans and followers who posted their creative and fun-filled photos with the hashtag. Doing so also helped Sephora gain visibility by increasing the volume of user-generated content.

User-generated content tagging Sephora and using their promotional hashtag, #SephoramyFans
User-generated content as a result of branded hashtag campaign from Sephora

Similarly, you can create promotional hashtags and encourage your brand advocates, fans, and followers to share their unique stories or moments with you.

While there are hundreds of ways to use branded hashtags, it’s important to remember that building a brand and generating awareness requires patience. The best practice for a new brand should be using common and popular niche hashtags without depending on branded hashtags alone. You may not see an immediate result with branded hashtags, but you can achieve your goal over time and with the right tactics.

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