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How to Create a Branded Hashtag That People Will Actually Use
Branded hashtags are an effective but misunderstood tool for brands on Instagram and TikTok. This post explains how to create your own (and why you should).
“We’ve been active on social for years without a branded hashtag. Do we really need one now?”
Fair question! Hashtags are a mixed bag for marketers these days.
Some accounts fill their posts with ‘em. Others hardly use them at all.
And whether hashtags really impact reach is debatable on both Instagram and TikTok.
Thing is, the power of hashtags today goes far beyond reach or visibility. Consider how branded hashtags can help companies...
- Gather more user-generated content (think: customer photos and videos)
- Uncover opportunities to work with influencers and content creators
- Build one-of-a-kind awareness and social proof
The good news? Making and promoting your own hashtag is easier than you might think!
This post breaks down how to create a branded hashtag that your audience will actually use.
"What is a Branded Hashtag?" 👩🏫
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Why Creating a Hashtag for Your Brand is Totally Worth It
We’ll bite: not every brand on social media has a dedicated, company-specific hashtag.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, though.
Some brands are hesitant about hashtags and we understand why. Years of hashtag-stuffing and hype have made marketers wary. Clearly, hashtags don’t impact reach like they used to.
But again, the utility of branded hashtags has little to do with reach.
Think of your brand’s hashtag as a tool. Specifically, a tool that…
- Organizes and uncovers content related to your brand on social media. This includes photos and videos from customers you may have otherwise missed.
- Helps social algorithms understand “what” your content is about. For example, the TikTok algorithm relies on hashtags when serving videos to the #ForYou page. The Instagram Reels algorithm uses hashtags in a similar manner.
- An invitation for customers to share content about your brand. This serves as a way to engage your audience and gather more UGC at the same time. The more people that use your hashtag, the more likely others will follow suit.
If nothing else, branded hashtags help you rank in social search results. This matters as more consumers use Instagram and TikTok to search for brands ala Google.
For reference, below is an example of a branded search using hashtags on TikTok.
3 Types of Branded Hashtags + Examples of Each
Let’s say you want to create a branded hashtag yourself.
Again, you don’t have to rack your brain to make it happen.
There are three specific types of tags you should be aware of, though. Familiarizing yourself with these tags can help you brainstorm hashtag ideas yourself.
1. Brand Name Hashtags (With or Without a Twist)
Sticking to your brand name or a subtle variation of it is a safe bet.
This is especially true if your brand name is unique and you own its social @handles.
Looks at ILIA Beauty’s #ilibeauty tag for references. Earning tens of thousands of posts is nothing to scoff at. ILIA illustrates how you can keep things simple with your branded hashtag.
Some brands will use slight variations of their names. Anthropologie’s #MyAnthropologie hashtag is a good example of this. Simple but effective.
Here’s another example from NARS and their #NARSissist hashtag.
Another big benefit of brand name hashtags is that they make you easier to find via social search. The big takeaway, though? You don’t have to agonize over making the most creative hashtag in the world!
2. Taglines and Slogan Hashtags
Don’t want to use your brand name as your hashtag?
Fair enough! Your company’s tagline or slogan is fair game.
Slogans are unique to your brand by default. They can show off your personality, too. These tags can build an association between your slogan and what your brand is all about.
Awake Skincare’s #bottledbeautysleep is a great example of a slogan hashtag in use.
Rolls off the tongue. Easy to remember. Aligns with the brand. Check, check and check!
Some companies actually boast multiple branded hashtags. This approach is typically reserved for companies with millions of social followers. Multiple tags mean you’re dividing your brand mentions and UGC. Below is an example from Milk Makeup.
Note: having both a brand name hashtag and slogan hashtag makes sense if you’re trying to associate a specific slogan with your brand. Expect most people to post to your brand name’s tag, though.
3. Content and Campaign-Specific Branded Hashtags
Some social-savvy brands create hashtags associated with specific posts. Brands might promote hashtags related to…
- A particular product
- A type of series of content
- A campaign or product launch
For example, Lashify frequently shares tips to help customers achieve their best looks. They categorize their educational posts with the #LashClass hashtag.
This hashtag ticks the boxes of being specific to both the brand and categorizing its content.
Note: you don’t need to create hashtags for every product you sell or campaign you run. Don't spread your #tags thin. Instead, reserve them for events like launches or UGC hashtag campaigns.
Tips for Creating Your Own Branded Hashtag
Creating a hashtag doesn’t have to be daunting. Heck, it should be fun!
That said, keep in mind that your branded hashtag is something that’ll be used throughout your social marketing campaigns. It’s not something you should treat like an afterthought.
Below are a few quick tips to consider when coming up with a branded hashtag.
1. When In Doubt, Keep Your Hashtag Short and Sweet
The best branded hashtags are easy to remember. Rule of thumb: the shorter, the better.
For both brand names and hashtag phrases, try not to exceed three words. It’s possible to make a creative and effective hashtag that isn’t excessively wordy.
Look at Skinfix’s short and sweet slogan hashtag #TotalSkinNerds as an example of how to balance simplicity with creativity. The hashtag relates to the brand and its community while being easy to remember.
2. Double-Check That Your #Tag is Original
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
That said, there’s a lot of content out there!
You’d be surprised at what hashtags have been used both in your industry and beyond it. Don’t risk butting heads with another brand or creator by jacking their hashtag.
Instead, focus on creating a branded hashtag that’s uniquely you. This is why brand name or brand name variations are a safe bet.
For example, #GrooveWithAmika is clearly Amika’s hashtag. The odds of it getting confused with someone else’s are slim to none.
3. Keep Consistent Capitalization in Mind
Capitalization does not impact hashtag usage. That's because they're not case-sensitive.
Whether they're typed like #this or #THIS, they are the same.
Capitalizing your hashtags is a stylistic choice that's totally your call. Most brands don’t but it’s situational.
If your brand uses title case or camel case (think: BrandName versus brandName), your hashtag should ideally be consistent. Check out the example below, for reference.
The same rules apply if your brand uses ALL CAPS (see NUDE Skincare below):
Your goal should be to create a hashtag that is easy to use, read and understand. This is a small detail but definitely worth keeping in mind.
How to Promote Your Branded Hashtag
Brands don’t rack up thousands of posts on their hashtags totally by accident.
Let’s say you’ve nailed down your branded hashtag but nobody’s using it yet. To wrap things up, here are some low-hanging hashtag promotion strategies for both Instagram and TikTok:
Start With Your Social Bios, Posts and Existing Promotions
If you want followers and customers to use your branded hashtag, don’t be shy about it!
Not sure where to place your branded hashtag on Instagram or TikTok? Start by putting your tag front and center in your social bios.
Coupling your hashtag with a call to action is a subtle but powerful way to drive engagement. For example, IT Cosmetics explicitly asks customers for photos shared on their hashtag.
CTAs like this can serve as a much-needed push to get people to post about your brand.
Hashtag promotion doesn’t have to stop on social media, by the way. This is especially true if you want to gather UGC and customer content through a hashtag campaign.
For example, many brands promote their branded hashtags on their website or on their email lists. Doing so consistently makes your tag can’t-miss.
Getting shouted out by brands can be a powerful motivator for promoting a branded hashtag. This highlights how hashtags can be a brand-building tool that celebrates your customers.
2. Regularly Use and Engage With Your Hashtag Yourself
You can’t expect your followers to use your hashtag if you aren’t using it on your own account.
Make sure to tack on your hashtag to relevant pieces of content. This should be common practice if you already promote your content with more general, industry-related tags (think: #beautyhacks, #curlyhair).
Another smart move is engaging with accounts that do use your branded hashtag.
If someone shouts you out or creates a piece of content featuring your brand, show them some love. A quick comment or “thank you” can do the trick. Reposting tagged content yourself can likewise invite even more satisfied customers to do the same
3. Monitor Your Branded Hashtag’s Performance
Consistency counts when it comes to promoting hashtags.
Sure, it only takes a few seconds to take one on to any given post.
Like with any other marketing strategy, you should keep an eye on your hashtag’s performance.
For example, are uses of your hashtag growing? Are you earning posts from creators and customers? Are there any viral pieces of content featuring your tag?
Keeping a pulse on your hashtag’s performance can highlight just how engaged your audience is. The more people posting positively on your hashtag, the better.
How to Get More Eyes on Your Brand's Posts
It’s easy to write off hashtags as a novelty when it comes to social media.
The reality, though? A thoughtful hashtag strategy can build awareness and provide a place for people to shout your brand out. In short, your branded hashtag can be a hub of social proof.
And if you’re struggling to earn social proof or customer content DIY, Statusphere can help.
Our turn-key influencer marketing platform matches brands with relevant creators from our vetted network. We also handle all of the heavy lifting when it come sto matchmaking, fulfillment and performance tracking.
Want to learn more about how out platform works? Get in touch with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists to see how we can help you earn on-brand content from creators ASAP.