How to Find the Perfect Hashtag for Your Marketing Campaign

A lot of brands do this quite successfully. Of course, things can also go terribly wrong, like when fast food giant McDonalds wanted to collect people’s heartfelt #McDStories but the hashtag got hijacked and ended up aggregating a flood of horror stories about their brand. Whooops!

So what can you do to NOT end up like McDonalds? How do you find the perfect hashtag for your campaign?

1. Pick something emotive

Based on the name of your campaign find a hashtag that triggers emotions. That might not be your brand name, so take some time to find the perfect claim. Take this example: Everybody loves Ben & Jerry’s but it’s not exactly an emotive brand name. But their #CaptureEuphoria campaign is crystal clear on the extreme joy of eating yummy ice cream. And what’s more emotional: #Nike or #MakeItCount?

2. Pick something unique (or as unique as possible)

Ideally you should find a hashtag that is not widely in use already. In order to figure this out you will have to check social media extensively and internationally. Simply do a search on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram! If you’re really smart, you can also create a free trial wall on Walls.io to test the hashtag across 10 platforms!

That being said, it will be nigh impossible to create a completely unique hashtag. But that’s what social wall moderation tools are for. The Walls.io backend supports you with a variety of moderations tools at your fingertips – you can remove any unwanted posts and by putting the blacklist to good use you can easily manage a hashtag that is already in use elsewhere – you just let Walls.io filter out the stuff that doesn’t fit in.

3. KISS: The good old Keep-It-Short-and-Simple rule

Try to keep it below 10 characters, but when in doubt go for a longer but understandable hashtag rather than an acronym no one will get. Decide on only one hashtag for your campaign. A combination of different hashtags will only confuse people. And definitely avoid the use of umlaut characters where possible!

4. Show it to a dirty mind

We mean it. Tell your most ambiguously thinking friend about your hashtag idea to make sure there are no unintended suggestive meanings embedded in it. We’re thinking If Susan Boyle’s PR team had done that, they probably would’ve decided not to use the hashtag #Susanalbumparty. Yes, read that again. And be smarter than that.

5. Make it trend

Now that you have your awesome, pretty much unique, emotive (non-ambiguous!) hashtag, you’ll want people to know about and use it. In order to do that you’ll have to communicate it everywhere and not just online. Slap it onto your product, mention it in your commercials – get people to promote your hashtag it in their tweets, facebook statuses, on instagram etc. In our experience what helps with that are, of course, contests and giveaways because they motivate people to take part in the campaign.
Well that’s it for today. We assume that you’ve had quite enough of hashtags for the moment, which means you’re probably in dire need of this piece of “hashtag meets real life” parody by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake now:

Credits: Cover photo by Michael Coghlan

More from our series about hashtag campaigns:

    1. The History of Hashtags
    2. What is a hashtag campaign and what can I do with it?
    3. How to Find the Perfect Hashtag for Your Marketing Campaign
    4. Back up your hashtag campaign with good customer service