Digital

How to Choose a Hashtag People Actually Want to Use

Screenshot 2015-08-18 14.47.52

The hashtag is an integral part of any campaign. While its was once considered the hallmark of a progressive brand, today even the most banal campaigns incorporate hashtags.

The hashtag can be a powerful tool, but its incorrect use can actually present your brand as out of touch. Follow these simple guidelines to help you choose a suitable and effective hashtag for your next campaign.

1. Keep it simple: The worst hashtags are those that are too complicated to remember or too long to bother remembering. Most often I’ve seen these related to events where organizers want to include an abundance of information such as #ArabHotelierConferenceAHCinAbuDhabi2015. While this example may be a slight exaggeration, similar hashtags are common and what often happens is that users create more intuitive tags like #AHC2015 and these spread much more quickly. In cases like this, it will be difficult for you to monitor the conversations about your brand if you are unable to keep track of the hashtags being created.

2. Make it easy to use in a sentence: Like it or not, hashtags have become a part of online (and sadly offline) conversations. If your hashtag is easy to use in a sentence users will be much more inclined to include it. Two of the best local examples are the hashtags launched by the Dubai & Abu Dhabi governments to promote their cities. “#MyDubai is simply beautiful” or “it’s a gorgeous day #InAbuDhabi” are posts that we all see filling our newsfeeds.

3. Link your brand: Unless you have a sizeable budget to support the hashtag in a campaign on multiple touchpoints, you should make sure it can independently stand on its own to represent your brand. Pepsi’s #YallaNow hashtag is backed by millions of dollars of investment on TV, print, digital, and more and thus it is easy for users to recognize what brand the hashtag represents even if they see it in posts that do not mention the company. For my website The Curve, I had chosen the hashtag #keepgrowing. While it successfully highlighted how we aimed to help people continue their personal development, it did not represent the brand strongly enough when someone used it in a post that did not actually mention the site. Something like #growyourcurve or #ridethecurve would have been a better brand building tool.

4. Consistency: The promotion of a hashtag is no longer simply reserved for online touchpoints. If you are using offline media, it is essential to incorporate the hashtag to raise awareness. This could be on TV, in print, in store, and much more.

5. Uniqueness: Choosing a hashtag that already has widespread usage will dilute your message drastically. Run a check on the hashtag you’d like to use and ensure you avoid heavily used tags like #awkward #YOLO or #AboutLastNight so that its use may be concentrated on conversations related to your brand.

Do you have a hashtag you use for all your campaigns? Share it with us below! 

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