#Hashtagging on #Facebook: Using Hashtags for Branding and Social Media

Posted on Aug 22 2013 - 9:30am by Rudolf Beattie

Hashtags are now common on Facebook. You see them on your news feed where friends tag their posts. You’ll also encounter them on the shares of some friends who sync their Instagram and Twitter feeds with their Facebook account.

You may think that hashtags are solely for personal use, but they are also widely used by many businesses. They are useful for tracking public user conversations, which can help you find out what your target audience is saying about your brand. Apart from that, a hashtag makes it easy to monitor a promotion’s activity on social media. It also helps you manage contest entries and submissions from your followers.

Search engine optimisation specialists can generate a significant amount of traffic using hashtags. This is especially useful in establishing ties with the local market. This is evident in social media campaigns using local SEO service. SEO helps campaigns expand their reach. It can also increase their standing on SERPs as search engines rank businesses with a high level of engagement.

Hashtagging: A Favourite among Big Businesses

Well-known companies know how useful a simple #hashtag can be. Starbucks, a famous café brand, hashtags regularly. One example is when they first advertised a promo in their US branches:

Their #treatreceipt hashtag on Facebook attracted many participants. The famous coffee brand announced that customers could get discounted drinks in the afternoon if they present receipts for the purchases they’ve made earlier. This promo became a success as many Facebook fans snapped up the offer and went to their nearest Starbucks branch to enjoy the discount.

Starbucks also found a way to stay relevant for their target audience. You can see from the screenshot that their post also features the #heatwave hashtag. This is a wise promotional move on their part, as this hashtag referred back to the scorching summer temperature being experienced by users. This promotes cold drinks from Starbucks and at the same time, keeps the brand up to date with the current concerns of its target market – to get cool by drinking refreshing beverages.

Another effective hashtagging campaign was the one KFC used for its #IAtetheBones campaign. They launched a contest where social media fans submit their photo or video showing their “unique expression” when they ‘ate the bones.’ Many fans participated in the contest and submitted entries, which helped promote brand awareness and loyalty among KFC’s customer base.

KFC’s social media campaign was accompanied by a TV ad where they featured their boneless chicken meals. This helps expand their advertising reach from television to the Internet. This marketing strategy also encourages consumers’ awareness of their brand regardless of the medium used.

How Can You Use Hashtags for Your Own Campaigns?

Sharing the Same Post on Different Networks

The ever-present hashtag makes it convenient to use across different platforms. This is especially practical when your business maintains multiple social media accounts. Apart from Facebook, you can also launch the same contest on your Twitter, Google+, and Instagram accounts. This allows you to broaden your social presence on different networks. It can also make your brand and website more popular among your target market, especially if your followers share your posts and include your hashtag.

Monitoring Public Conversations

Hashtags are a useful monitoring tool for businesses. You can collate all conversations about your brand through a simple search of a popular hashtag on Facebook. This not only lets you check on what other people are saying about your brand; it also helps you anticipate customer reactions to your products and services. Find out what your target market thinks about your business. Look for all the hashtags they use that may concern you. This way, you’ll be able to improve your business based on the feedback they’re sharing across social media.

Contests

Business owners and marketers can use Facebook hashtagging campaigns to widen their online presence. Promote deals and contests, such as what Starbucks and KFC did. Get your fans and followers to participate through submission of entries or sharing of photos and videos that show how they use your product. This technique is applicable to many businesses in the retail and hospitality industries.

Creating Hashtags for Your Campaigns

Unique hashtags get more attention than using regular phrases. Unique phrases are catchy in nature, which encourages users to add them to their posts. KFC’s #IAtetheBones, for example, is both original and interesting. It’s also short enough to remember, which lessens the chances of misspelling.

Another way you can create hashtags is to fall back on idiomatic expressions or memorable figures of speech. This can make users easily remember them and add your hashtags to their posts. You should check if the hashtag you’re planning to use is on social media already. This way, you can make sure that you’re using a unique hashtag.

Social media specialists advise entrepreneurs to be careful on the hashtags they promote. Some users perform hashjacking, where they use your hashtag to integrate content unrelated to the thread you’re trying to launch. One example is McDonald’s use of #McDStories. People dissatisfied with McDonalds used it to express their dislike of the brand. This makes it important that you analyse your hashtag first for any potential ‘jacking.’ It can save you from negative publicity, which can harm your brand.

Consult professionals on SEO and social media while planning your marketing campaign. They can provide advice on how to promote engagement with your hashtag campaigns. Ask about the pricing of SEO packages and social media marketing solutions. This way, you can find the right online marketing agency to help you perform well on your campaigns.