Your 5-Minute Guide to Branded Hashtags on Instagram

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Samantha HackettDigital Marketer at Kicksta

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Hashtags have been around for years and play a significant role in social media. If you're looking to increase brand awareness or improve engagement, branded hashtags on Instagram can help you achieve this.

Article 5 Minutes

Branded hashtags on Instagram are an effective way to promote your brand, find content inspired by your business, and build a community around your brand. Just as hashtags are an essential part of any social media campaign, using branded hashtags is important to reach a bigger audience and improve brand awareness.

What are branded hashtags?

Branded hashtags on Instagram are hashtags that are unique to your brand. This can include your:

  • Tagline
  • Company name
  • Brand identity
  • The name of a campaign or product

Increasing engagement on Instagram is all about connecting with followers and building lasting relationships. Developing branded hashtags gives users a sense of belonging as they can tag their posts with them, immediately becoming a part of your campaign. An effective branded hashtag campaign also gives users a voice and the opportunity to connect with like-minded Instagrammers.

Why you need to use branded hashtags

As hashtags already connect Instagrammers with new content, using branded hashtags helps to do so in a way that’s unique to your brand. Hashtags act as a call-to-action to encourage users to interact with brands. In using these hashtags, brands give consumers their calling card to remember them.

Hashtags are a proven way to boost engagement with their Instagram followers. Likewise, using branded tags promotes your brand while driving your engagement further. Followers that love your brand and want to connect with you can do so using this hashtag. Similarly, they can stay up-to-date with your latest content as well as connect with your community.

For example, Audi’s Instagram campaign used the branded hashtag #WantanR8 to inspire fans to share it, letting the brand know how badly they “want an R8”.

Audi Instagram hashtag R8 Campaign

As Audi connected with several Instagrammers that used the hashtag, many were able to test drive the R8 for a day. Talk about user engagement!

Tap into user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is another angle to consider when creating a branded hashtag. Instagram is all about high-quality, innovative content. While it's important to create strong content for your brand, don’t overlook using UGC.

With a strong branded hashtag campaign, you’ll find that your followers and fans will be inspired to create their own content. Encourage these Instagrammers to include your hashtag so that you can share the content in your feed as well.

One UGC campaign that was highly successful is Lush Cosmetics.

Lush Cosmetics UGC Campaign

It’s no secret that Lush has diehard fans that love to post about their products on Instagram. Using the hashtags #lushie and #lushlife, loyal customers all over the world share their favorite skincare products and self-care routines with the brand and other Lush lovers as well.

This type of successful UGC campaign gives brands like Lush access to thousands of videos and posts that they can later repost on their site, connecting with followers and adding great content to their feed.

Track what people are posting about you

Creating the perfect hashtag that takes Instagram by storm starts with a lot of brainstorming and creativity. The best-branded hashtags are a clever play on your brand’s name that simultaneously encourages the user to take action or endears the user to your brand.

The best-branded hashtags are unique, catchy, and memorable. For example, #ShareaCoke by Coca-Cola encourages users to take action, all while promoting the soda.

Coca-Cola Share a Coke Instagram Campaign

Consider your audience

How do your users typically engage with your services or products? How do you want your audience to interact with your brand? Answering questions like these will give you a better sense of the direction you should take with your branded hashtag.

Be concise and simple

Another tip to remember when crafting your branded hashtag is to keep it simple. Hashtag campaigns work best when they're concise and to-the-point. This makes it easier for followers to use, and also copy and paste or type in themselves.

Make it memorable

The most successful branded hashtags are those that are the most memorable. This can be done by making them humorous and catchy. Consider turning your hashtag into something that capitalizes on a popular trend.

For example, with #StayatHome trending, adding your brand to “#StayatHomewith___” is an excellent way to use a trending hashtag to your advantage.

Promoting your branded hashtags

The next step in making your branded hashtag successful is to find ways to promote it. In addition to including it with your posts, your hashtag should be transformed into a thoughtful campaign that connects with users, encourages them to create user-generated content, and improves brand awareness.

1. Instagram Contests

With Instagram contests driving engagement 70% faster than brands that don't hold them, using branded hashtags in this way can lead to a trending campaign. This can help you:

  • Gain new followers
  • Increase engagement
  • Improve brand loyalty

Start a contest by asking your followers to share your branded hashtag as an entry. Once it ends, simply scroll through the posts tagged with your hashtag to find the winner.

2. Add it to your bio

With just a few seconds to catch the eye of a future follower, including a branded hashtag in your bio is an essential way to promote your latest campaign while giving Instagrammers a look into other content tagged with the hashtag.

In addition to adding a clickable hashtag to drive traffic from your bio, including the branded hashtag will help other users find you as Instagrammers search popular hashtags. Your profile will pop up based on what tags you’ve used in your bio.

3. Incorporate it into all marketing material

The best and most effective branded campaigns use their branded hashtag in all marketing materials. The more your hashtag is seen, the better your brand awareness and brand recognition will be. 

Be sure to use this across multiple platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. As these keywords serve to connect with followers across social media, they also drive traffic to our site. The more your branded hashtag is seen, the more eyes will be on your campaign.

For example, the Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign took over the Internet in 2014. In addition to launching the campaign on Instagram, #LikeaGirl made it to ads, news stories, and even household conversations.

Always Like a Girl Instagram Campaign 2014

Conclusion

Like regular hashtags, branded hashtags are a powerful way for brands to share new services and products with their customers, connect with followers and fans, find user-generated content, and improve brand visibility and awareness. Use this guide to inspire you as you create and promote your next branded hashtag campaign.

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Samantha Hackett

Digital Marketer at Kicksta

https://kicksta.co/

Here at Kicksta, our passion is to help companies grow their presence online and kill it in social media. Learning how to use branded hashtags is crucial for this process, and we want to help you get there!

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