Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Custom hashtags are not a new idea, but they are important, and they can be tricky to get right. If you manage to crack the code though, you may be lucky enough to pioneer a hashtag that takes off, which can do wonders for your brand. A memorable hashtag creates a sense of community amongst those that use it when they share and post. This immediately inspires brand loyalty and functions as an effective piece of self-propagating advertising. Follow along with these tips to set yourself on the right course for hashtag stardom!
Make it Memorable
It’s no surprise that a catchy hashtag is going to be more successful than a clumsy, convoluted, or just plain boring one. You want your customer base to be able to recall the tag on the spot, so they can post in the moment. If they can’t remember it, or get it wrong, that’s a wasted chance for exposure. Using plays on already-popular phrases, puns, and alliterations are great ways to keep the hashtag on the tip of your customer’s tongue.
Keep it Relevant
Creating a catchy and popular hashtag is great, but if it doesn’t connect to your brand in any way, it’s a missed opportunity. You’re creating a hashtag for branding purposes, so naturally, you want to draw a fairly straight line between the tag and your business. While the company name does not need to be explicitly listed, the essence of the brand should be kept in mind.
In addition to staying relevant to your brand, you need to keep on track with your theme. Are you promoting sales for a holiday season? Are you advocating a social cause? Are you trying to endorse a new product line? Make sure your hashtag encompasses that spirit, so it has the most impact possible.
Tag With a Purpose
A hashtag is really a well-formulated call-to-action. You may be thinking, “My purpose is to sell!” but in reality, that is a secondary target. First and foremost, you want engagement. You may be asking your customer base to share an experience, an opinion, an idea, a photo, or promote awareness. Whatever the desired outcome, your hashtag should encourage the behavior even if it doesn’t specifically ask for it.
A call-to-action encourages your viewers to actively engage with you and share their own perspective. People love feeling like they are being heard, especially if it’s by their favorite brands, hence the success of platforms like Twitter. Invite your customers to participate by using a hashtag with some sort of instruction.
Do Your Research
This step in crafting your hashtag could arguably be the most important. Taking a step back and looking at what your tag could say in the wrong hands can be a make-or-break for your brand. Without having spaces in your phrase, there is room for interpretation and the potential for disaster. There have been several instances of hashtags going awry, being “hijacked,” or a small typo that leads to a big blunder.
Beyond taking a scrutinizing eye to your tag itself, take a close look at what else is happening in social media, in the news, and in history. Could your phrase be misinterpreted, relating to something with negative connotations? Could your tag seem insensitive or problematic? Does it already exist under some other brand, causing yours to be swallowed up? Doing a little bit of research, as simple as typing the tag – in whole and in part – into the search bar and reviewing what comes up, can potentially prevent disaster.
Simplicity is Key
If you’re trying to capture the attention of the masses, keeping your new hashtag simple and direct is crucial. Too long or too complicated leaves room for typos and miscommunication. When speaking of accessorizing, history’s arguably most elegant woman, Coco Chanel, said the following: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
The same principle should be applied to your hashtag. Can you make it more clear? Edit and edit again until you’re left with something clear and concise that still embodies the spirit of your brand, and your call to action.
So craft your hashtag carefully and with purpose, and get to posting! Get the ball rolling with several of your own posts, well-spaced across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And don’t forget to respond and interact with your customers when they start picking up your hashtag!