5 Best Christmas Hashtag Campaigns

Christmas for most is presents and jingles, but for social media marketers, it’s a season of frenzy.  For most businesses, the Christmas season is the most hectic and busy time of the year, and a time when sales skyrocket through the roof. The catch, however, is that during the Christmas season, the competition among brands of getting seen becomes tougher. Everyone is trying to get the attention of their audience all at the same time, and so cutting through the noise and standing out from the crowd is becoming more of a challenge – even though customers buy more than ever.

With consumer spending increasing dramatically during the Christmas season, you obviously also want to be a part of the fun, and enjoy increased sales. Like most things, though, this is easier said than done. As the competition among brands increases, you need new and unique ways to approach and reach your customers when the competition is the highest.

An effective, and often underestimated way of reaching your customers during Christmas is social media.

In this article, we’ll, therefore, share with you 5 Best Christmas Hashtag Campaigns and how you can succeed with social media during the Christmas season. With these hashtag campaigns, we’re going to take inspiration and advice, in order to leverage by the time you’re ready to set up your own Christmas hashtag campaign that yields you tremendous marketing results during the Christmas season.

The power of social media

Today, social media has become a natural part of many brands’ marketing strategies. This makes sense considering the fact that 74% of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media, according to Social Media Week.

During the Christmas season, social media is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience and convince them to buy from you, and if you aren’t leveraging it, you’re missing out on tremendous opportunities.

What’s even better is the fact that during the Christmas season, many people tend to always scout for gifts to buy to their friends and family, and oftentimes, you stand there with no clue on what to buy. As a result, many people go to social media in search of inspiration. If you can effectively reach your customers through social media during this time of year, there’s a greater chance that they’ll buy, and this is exactly what you can do with the help of a Christmas hashtag campaign.

How to run a Christmas hashtag campaign

First thing first, let’s start with the basics.

What are hashtags and how do you use them?

And maybe most importantly, how do you run a Christmas hashtag campaign that dominates and generates worthwhile results.

Well, to begin with, hashtags are ”a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.” Think of hashtags as categories for your social media posts with which you allow your post to be showcased for other people who look at the respective hashtags that you choose to use on your post. The hashtags you use should be aligned with the content of your social media post, because this allows you to reach the correct people, since, people who look at ”Christmas tree” hashtags are probably not looking for photos of beaches and blue water (unless it’s a Christmas cruise!).

A great thing about hashtags on social media is that they increase your reach and your social media engagement. The more places your social media posts are showcased on, naturally, the more people you’ll reach, and thus the better results you’ll generate.

Simple, right?

Now, when it comes to Christmas hashtag campaigns, the way you set up such is a bit different from only incorporating them into your posts. With a hashtag campaign, a specific hashtag decided and created specifically for that campaign will be used, and it will be the center of attention in the campaign.

When using hashtags like this, as part of a social media marketing campaign, you’re using the hashtag in order to engage your audience, make them a part of the campaign, and/or gather content from your audience around a specific topic.

The way a Christmas hashtag campaign is set up, and the goal of one can vary, and this is also why the Christmas hashtag campaigns that we’re going to share later on in this article as inspiration vary as well.

What hashtag to use?

When brands create a Christmas hashtag campaign or any campaign for that matter, they normally create a ”new” ”unique” hashtag for that particular campaign.

The hashtag is created to work as an album that only contains posts that are relevant to a specific campaign (in this case a Christmas hashtag campaign) and this allows both the brand and the audience to easily go through all the posts as it significantly helps with discoverability.

Second of all is that with the campaign, as a brand, you want to have a hashtag that is relevant to the specific campaign, but also that is relevant and aligned with your brand and brand name.

It’s also worth having in mind that the hashtag should ideally be short and easy to spell so people don’t misspell it.

If you create a Christmas hashtag campaign and the idea is to gather a collection of posts from your audience, using a new hashtag that is created specifically for that campaign, and which has no previous posts will allow you to get a better overview of the posts that are part of the campaign, but also to have a keyword that is actually relevant to your brand.

Also, it can be good to have in mind that since you are running a Christmas campaign, it is a good idea to use a hashtag that is related to Christmas in one way or the other, that allows people to know exactly what your campaign is about. And as with all personalized hashtags, you want to include the name of your campaign or the name of your brand.

For example, if your brand name is Apple, and you have a Christmas giveaway, it makes sense to create a hashtag such as #AppleChristmas or similar.

You’ll also see examples of this below.

Giveaway/contest

A very common type of hashtag campaign, especially during the Christmas season, is a giveaway or contest.

Now, what does this have to do with hashtags? Well, often times when it comes to this type of hashtag campaign, the hashtag is used in order to gather and collect posts from the audience and customers on one place in order to more easily get access to the posts, but also to make the campaign accessible for everyone.

The best part is that doing this will allow you to run a marketing campaign – a Christmas hashtag campaign which will bring you two or even three marketing benefits at the same time.

First off, you engage your audience and customers and make them a part of your contest. Normally, the criteria for a hashtag campaign like this, and to take part in the giveaway is that the customer has to share a picture/video of something related to the campaign, share it, and include the hashtag. This is great because it means extra exposure for you as a brand, and when people take part in your campaign, they spread the word about you and your campaign. Second of all is that the content that your audience create is content that you can use as part of your own marketing in the future because creating good content demands time and resources. What’s more, 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising.

This means that by leveraging the user-generated content which your audience has created, you can generate even better results than with your own professionally-created content.

Lastly, by running a giveaway/contest type of Christmas campaign, you make people a part of the campaign, which tends to engage people more, as opposed to just running a campaign and marketing to people. With this method, you promote with your audience.

Have in mind that when people have an incentive, they are more likely to do something. As such, the better the incentive is, the more people will join your Christmas hashtag campaign.

User-generated hashtag campaign

Another common hashtag campaign is quite similar to the giveaway example, however, the difference is that there is no monetary price. Instead, people are meant to be encouraged to create user-generated content for the campaign for a ”sense of belonging”, but also because they get something out of it that is non-monetary.

Daniel Wellington is a great example of this. On their Instagram, they have the hashtag ”#DWPickoftheDay”. The brand encourages people to share a photo of their watches, including that hashtag, in order to have the change of being featured on their Instagram page. Furthermore, the brand has also created a particular ”fan photos” section on their website where they showcase these images.

Both of this things are great examples of incentives which are non-monetary that you can leverage for your Christmas hashtag campaign. This method, of course, brings a great exposure for Daniel Wellington, and the best of all is that it is completely free!

Read more5 Best Christmas Hashtag Campaigns

How The Infinite Agency Uses Keyhole to Run ‘Real-Time Marketing’ & Predict Campaign Success

Freddy Duran is the Social Media Director at The Infinite Agency, a cutting-edge, data-driven creative agency based in Dallas, Texas.


A strong advocate for the power of social media analytics, Freddy gives us his expert insight into *why* it is so crucial to use data to optimize social media campaigns at every stage, and how it helps to reach the right people with the right message at the right time.

“Anything that is not data backed, to me, is guesswork.”

Freddy Duran

In this article, Freddy focuses on how Predictive Analytics help you determine campaign success and pivot when needed. He also explores the concept of “real-time marketing”, using social media analytics to optimize campaigns as they run.

Predicting Campaign Success


One of The Infinite Agency’s Award-Winning campaigns ˄

One of the benefits of using social media analytics tools like Keyhole is predictive power, and “Predictions” is a feature that sets us apart.

GIF illustrating 'Predictions' tool being toggled on Keyhole

After just 7 days of tracking an active #campaign with Keyhole, you can predict campaign performance for the next 30 days.

I mean, I used to do these projections by hand and the methodology is the same, based on historical data by x amount of time, but the fact that you guys are including it in your dashboard is amazing.”

How does this work?: Our algorithm will learn key metrics about your campaign’s performance such as the number of posts and average engagements, and will then project those numbers based on its current status.

“Back in the day (and when I say that, I mean like 2-3 years ago) marketers had to know the algorithms and formulas to calculate these things by hand. Saving time by not doing these things by hand, and knowing that you still have accurate information is very valuable.”

Being able to predict campaign performance helps you know if your campaign is already set to get the traction you are hoping for, or if you need to be more proactive with your outreach to hit your goals before it’s too late.

Image of a Hashtag Tracker dashboard 'Predicting' campaign performance for the next 30 days

“In my personal experience with advertising, I have dealt with many tools. But Keyhole is the only one that is incredibly easy to use, and right off the bat I was blown away that you have built-in campaign performance predictions. That is something that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Optimize Campaigns with Real-Time Marketing


Image of Infinite Agency campaign- 3 People Popping Confetti Balloons

“I’m seeing it a whole lot lately that clients ask: ‘How can we do social listening better?’, ‘How can we be more reactive to what’s going on right now?’. Real-time trackers like Keyhole help you know how people are feeling about and talking about your brand in real time. This means that we can have real-time marketing from a brand perspective and make it reactionary.”

Image showing a Sentiment score of 98
This sentiment score from one of the Agency’s campaigns indicates healthy overall brand sentiment.

Real-time marketing entails tracking conversations as they happen on social media, and reacting to both positive and negative conversations in a way that benefits your overall marketing strategy.

For Example:

Positive posts can be shared as social proof, and you can chime in on trending topics during spikes of activity to amplify your message.

Negative Posts can be addressed right away and mediated in order to prevent a change in your brand sentiment.

This approach helps Freddy and his team optimize campaigns during their entire run.

“My life would be terrible without social media analytics tools. Being able to look at a tool like Keyhole is incredibly important because it gives you a look at not only what a brand is doing right but also how people are responding to it.

Being able to assess how audiences are feeling is the end game. Advertisement is based on happiness and persuasion, and if you can determine how people are reacting to things or how they’re talking about it, that gives you good insights into what you should do as an advertiser or a marketer, and you guys take away a lot of the guesswork in that.”

How the USTA is Leveraging Social Media to Reach the Next Generation of Tennis Players

Learn 3 of the social media marketing strategies that the USTA uses to yield incredible (700% year-over-year!) growth in content engagement.

From grassroots community tennis to the US Open, the USTA strives to grow tennis at every level.

One of the driving forces in accomplishing this mission is the USTA social media team. Led by Director of Social Media & Strategy, Qianna Smith-Bruneteau, the USTA has built a social strategy that has landed their campaigns in the billion+ impression category and that leads to a consistent 700% year-over-year growth in content engagement.

More importantly, every person their content reaches is inspired by tennis-related content that is positive, motivational and inclusive.

QIanna-header

Read on to learn 3 key social media marketing strategies that Qianna’s team implements to reach their goals and guide these numbers.

1. Reach Generation Z & Millennials Through Youth Ambassadors

One of the ways that the USTA social team is engaging a younger audience on social media is by leveraging the power of influencers.

The team has built partnerships with 100 youth ambassadors who share their stories through social media, inspiring others in their age group to become involved in this sport and community, and driving home their mission.

“We have this incredible mission to inspire the next generation of tennis greats through our Net Generation brand. Leveraging social media, we have developed relationships with Generation Z and millennial audiences. We’ve assembled a movement of 100 ambassadors, the Net Set, age 5 to 19, who share their personal tennis journeys and stories on social media, and it’s through their lens that I see the magic and the mission of the organization unfold.”

Not to mention, their winning strategy has also won them several awards, the most recent being the 10th Annual Shorty Award for best celebrity & influencer campaign on Snapchat.

Bonus Tip:

Notice the USTA’s use of emoji CTA’s- calling for comment engagement by showing which emoji to use to show your support for USTA athletes/ partners?.

2. Monitor the #Conversation to Increase Engagement

Qianna’s team also maximizes overall engagement by leveraging hashtag analytics, or in other words, tracking #USOpen during the run of the event and year-round to understand how their content is being engaged.

“I never imagined during the US Open that our hashtag would enter into the billion+ impression category. Having the ability to download the content tagged with our hashtag really allowed us to identify super users and reward them with surprise and delight moments throughout the tournament.”

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By monitoring how people are engaging with your hashtag, you can identify most engaged users and the types of content they are engaging with. You can then adjust your content strategy in real time, replicating high-engagement content and delighting your audience.

“Keyhole allows us to analyze the conversations around turnkey marketing moments, and to understand the organic/earned media associated with our brand.”

3. Use Competitive Benchmarking to Inform your Strategy

Competitive Benchmarking means comparing your own performance to your top competitors’ as a way to hold your metrics to a standard.

“Keyhole.co is an invaluable tool for competitive benchmarking and seeing where we stack up in the space.”

Alt Text

With benchmarking, Qianna and her team were able to determine that they had the most engaged hashtag, #USOpen in the Grand Slam space in 2017 (US Open, AU Open, French Open, Wimbledon), which demonstrates the value of her team’s efforts within the organization.

“On the US Open channels, we had a 700% year-over-year increase in interactions and video views across the big 5. And our USTA social media channels did the most interactions and video views, an increase of over 1,200% year-over-year when compared to the other 3 governing bodies associated with a Grand Slam.”

Key Takeaways

Some key takeaways:

  • Create engaging content by partnering with influencers or brand ambassadors.
  • Monitor hashtags to understand engagement and double down on top content.
  • Use competitive benchmarking to measure your results.

That’s the USTA’s winning formula ??.

“Keyhole is an incredible tool for any social media marketer. I used it when I was head of social media at Saks Fifth Avenue, and it was one of the first tools I selected at the USTA.”

NMAAHC logo and Photo of SOcial Media Director at Museum Tour- Hashtag analytics -Cover

How the National Museum of African American History and Culture Transforms Conventional Narratives Through Social Media

Recruited before the museum even opened its doors, Lanae Spruce has become
The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s influential voice on social media.

As the Manager of Social Media and Digital Engagement, Lanae focuses on finding creative ways to take the rich stories that live within the museum walls and spread them far and wide online.

For the past four years, during a crucial time in US history, Lanae and her team have led transformational conversations about race and national identity on social media, subverting stereotypes and changing “minds & hearts”.

Quote Image: “We always think about how we are doing this for the culture. We ask ourselves, how can we create moments about African American history that will really allow people to educate themselves about the contributions of African Americans to this country and also really change minds and change hearts about what it means to be an American?”

Social Justice Leads the Conversation

One of the unique things about monitoring social media through hashtag analytics in the long-term is that clear patterns begin to emerge.

“We use Keyhole to monitor our hashtag campaigns and engagement. We also use it to find and look at our influencers, reshare content and find new stories.”

Lanae’s team (pictured below), for instance, finds that leading the conversation on issues of social justice attracts their highly-engaged audience.

IMG_8424--1-

“Through our analytics, we’ve been able to determine that we have one of the highest engaged audiences on social media in the museum industry, and that’s informed our practice directly. We’ve found that commenting on issues related to social justice really resonates with our audience. Whenever we can offer historical context for any of these contemporary issues they love it. By being timely and also by standing up for what’s right we continue to engage our followers.”

For instance, on National Watermelon Day (August 3), the team found an opportunity to subvert a common stereotype.

watermelon-enamel-pin-denim_4460x4460

“Watermelons are a stereotype associated with African Americans. What we were able to find through our research with historians here is that at one point in time, many African Americans owned watermelon farms. And it was seen as a symbol of empowerment because they were able to create their own wealth and lifestyles by buying and selling watermelons. So we were able to take a stereotype and flip it on its head.”

Tracking the Pulse

By listening to the goings-on of social media, Lanae’s team also keeps on top of fresh stories and adds their voice to relevant conversations as they emerge.

“I think for us we’re very in tune with the pulse side- what people are talking about right now, and how we can use that to create moments to educate the public”

For instance, Lanae shares that after the horrific events in Charlottesville last summer, her team thought a lot about the best way to respond on social media. Ultimately, they created a thread on Twitter that spoke about the history of terror for African Americans in the United States immediately following the civil war period, “during reconstruction”.

The impact?

“We got thousands and thousands of retweets, and Twitter created a stand-alone moment for that particular Twitter thread because it was so important and it led the conversation for what everyone was talking about at that time.”

Image Capture of the NMAAHC Twitter Moment on August 17,2017 "Historical Examples of White Supremacist Intimidation Provide Context for Today"
Click this image to see the Twitter Moment

Of course, the NMAAHC is in a unique position to lend their voice to this conversation, both as an educational institution and as experts in African American history.

“I remember one of my peers asking me, how can a museum tweet using #BlackLivesMatter? The answer is: because we directly have collections and exhibitions and programming that support the issues there, and as long as we are able to offer context on these issues we are doing our job at the Smithsonian as an educational institution.”

The Power of a Post-It

The intention that Lanae came to this job with has continued to inspire an approach to social media that transcends common marketing objectives. Far beyond any metrics or KPIs, the NMAAHC is leading an important conversation online.

Sticky note reading:'How do we honor African American experiences outside the common narrative?'

“I think for me one of the things that really drew me to the role is that my boss at the time posed a question to me that has stuck with me throughout this role (I still have the sticky note from our conversation!):

‘How do we honor African American experiences outside the common narrative?’


This question has since driven this team’s approach and guided how they choose to communicate online, the types of stories they highlight, and the content they create.

“I really thought about that: how can we create an impact and tell stories about LGBTQ African Americans, about the contributions of women and children during the struggle for African American civil rights?”

Key Take-Aways

The NMAAHC team has done extremely well through their social media channels, launching social campaigns like ‘Our Hidden Hurtstory’, daily ‘This Day in History’ content posts, and creating unique hashtags like #APeoplesJourney and #OurNationsStory that have, for instance, been used by 4 US presidents to date.

They are using social media differently, and in all their conversations they are reaching audiences with a message that is educational, progressive, and inclusive.

Using social media analytics, and specifically, hashtag analytics to monitor their conversations, they have created an approach that furthers their mission while also highly resonating with their audience.

We are thrilled that Keyhole is part of the mix that helps this museum regularly create significant conversations that move the needle.

Using Popular Hashtags To Grow Your Business

Do you use hashtags — catchy, attention-grabbing conversation anchors that people want to be associated with? If not, you can learn how here.


Hashtag 101– If you already know what hashtags are, skip this part and proceed to advanced hashtag uses below.

How hashtags work: When you use a #hashtag, you are adding your post to a list of all other posts that use this tag on that social platform.

For example, if you post a picture of your dog with #puppy in the caption or description, your post is now grouped with all other #puppy posts. Whenever someone searches #puppy on instagram for example, they will see all #puppy posts.

-puppy


Popular hashtags are a major deal. They engage social media users on a higher level.

No wonder Instagram images or videos with at least one hashtag generate 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags, and tweets with hashtags receive 2x more engagement than tweets without them.

2x-twitter-engagement
Image source

This doesn’t mean hashtags are an automatic ticket to social media success, but they can and do engage people by allowing them to become part of something larger than themselves.

Hashtags impart a sense of belonging — and encapsulate people’s beliefs, cultures, and professional brands. In an article on Salesforce, expert digital marketer Ann Smarty listed three hashtags that people follow for news on social: #twitternews, #socialmedianews and #socialmedia.

When people use or follow hashtags like these on social, they get to feel they’re a part of some huge; that’s the power of hashtags.

There are two main ways to use popular hashtags to grow your business:

  • Start your own branded hashtag and make it popular. Or…
  • Latch onto already popular unbranded hashtags and exploit them to grow your business. The three hashtags I mentioned from Ann Smarty are good examples of unbranded hashtags.

I’ll be sharing how to use these two different hashtag types to grow your business in this post.

Ready?

Let’s begin with unbranded hashtags.

These are usually popular hashtags that weren’t necessarily started by your brand.

They’re often industry hashtags like #marketing, event hashtags like #SXSW or day-related hashtags like #MusicMonday or #TuesdayInspiration. These are the basics. Tagging your posts with relevant industry, event and day-related hashtags will help you be a part of key conversations for your brand.

Here are three more advanced strategies for using unbranded hashtags to grow your business:

1. Look out for CTA (Call-to-Action) hashtags

Just as its name implies, CTA hashtags encourage people to take an action. Example: #BeYourOwnBoss or #StartABusiness.

These hashtags tend to work well because they encourage people to participate in something fun or rewarding — and everyone likes fun and rewards. More importantly, they persuade people to take an action on your tweets or posts.

You want to look for popular CTA hashtags that are related to your brand or product and engage prospects with them. These hashtags are especially rampant on Instagram and Twitter.

Example: Call-to-action hashtag #tagafriend skyrocketed Twitter engagement for Chocolate Picture:

Choc-pic-tweet

Of course, it wasn’t just the #tagafriend hashtag that drove this level of engagement for the brand. Chocolate Picture added some other hashtags and, perhaps more importantly, asked tweeters to follow and RT to get a chance to win the contest promoted in the tweet, which contributed to the success of the tweet. (Note: while hashtag functions are available on most platforms, they are particularly effective only on Twitter and Instagram)

The CTA hashtag #tagafriend, however, encouraged people to take an action — tag their friends.

-tagafriend-tweets

Plus, the CTA hashtag exposed the tweet to an audience that follows the #tagafriend hashtag and who may not have heard about Chocolate Picture before.

2. Twitter trending keywords and hashtags

Twitter gets over 300 million users per month, and the platform has a section called Trending. On a smartphone, Twitter Trending can be found once you click the search tab in your Twitter app. And it’s either on the left or right side of your desktop screen.

twitter-trends

These keywords and hashtags represent what people are talking about at any given time on the platform. You can see how this easily creates an opportunity for you to chip in your tweets on the matter discussed, and expose your brand to a new audience.

How you chime into these trending conversations, however, can make or break engagement for your tweet. Your tweet needs to be timely and relevant to the topic being discussed. Any irrelevant or untimely tweets will be ignored by tweeters and get buried under other tweets.

This doesn’t mean you can’t participate in conversations outside your industry; you can, but you need to ensure it’s relevant to the topic being discussed.

Example: when #FashionWeek was trending, sometime in 2013, cookie brand Oreo sent out a tweet with the hashtag:

oreo
Image source

Oreo has nothing to do with fashion or Fashion Week; they’re clearly not a clothing brand, but they promoted their brand using the hashtag while making sure it’s related to the topic being discussed. Pretty clever.

Remember, Twitter trending tweets can stop trending at any time — they might be popular anywhere between minutes to a few days. You want your entry into trending conversations to be relevant and timely.

Another classic example is how duo music band Facing West took advantage of #MusicMonday on Twitter. The band used the hashtag to promote their new song on a Monday — March 5 — when the hashtag was trending:

Facing-West

This exposed their brand and music to a new audience and enthusiasts who follow the hashtag.

Twitter users use the Twitter Trending to stay abreast of what’s hot right now. They want to be in the know and not the last person to hear about some hot news. Do your brand a huge favor by chiming in on trending conversations and taking advantage of the lively engagement there.

3. Popular niche hashtags

Hashtags are crazier on Instagram than they are on Twitter, or any other social platform for that matter.

“…consider using popular hashtags like #tbt (throwback Thursdays) or #instagood (a showcase of a user’s best photos) to attract new followers. — Bryan Kramer

Using more than two hashtags on Twitter can make your engagement rate plummet. But on Instagram, the more hashtags, the merrier your engagement.

Head of Social Strategy at Canva, Peg Fitzpatrick, recommends adding your hashtags in multiple comments under each Instagram post:

You can use up to thirty hashtags on each post. I’d recommend sticking to three or four in the comments and then adding more into a comment below. It seems strange, but this is acceptable on Instagram.

If you want to use eleven hashtags in total per post, that works best on Instagram.

Enter niche hashtags. These hashtags are often used by people who are not just in your industry, but are in the same niche with you.

For example, #foodstagram is used by everyone and every business in the food/restaurant industry on Instagram. But a niche hashtag in the same food industry would be narrower. Take #foodblogger; the hashtag is apparently used by food bloggers on the platform, not every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the industry:

-foodblogger--2-

Instagrammers who are interested in seeing pictures from food bloggers — but not restaurants or random food lovers — they’ll use the #Foodblogger hashtag to narrow down their search that finds just the food bloggers they’re looking for.

Your industry hashtags are often used by everyone in the industry, so they naturally get more impressions than niche hashtags. But you want to use niche hashtags to engage with your own target customers.

To see what hashtags are relevant to your specific industry of brand, tools like Keyhole can be very helpful. You can insert a trending #hashtag or keyword into our tracker, and the Word Cloud feature within the main dashboard will show you what other hashtags or Keywords people are using along with it.

For instance, our WordCloud shows that when using #foodblogger, people also use these hashtags:

word-cloud

Now, branded hashtags.

These are hashtags started by your company. You know, the one you can lay a 100% claim to and enjoy all the benefits.

Branded hashtags don’t have to have your brand name in them, even though they sound like they should. But they should be related to your product or campaign name — so customers can link the hashtag to your business ultimately.

And if done right, they can become very popular hashtags that will take your brand to a higher level. Here are three strategies for growing a business with branded hashtags.

1. Require customers to use your brand hashtag to qualify for entry to promos and contests

This is one of the most common hashtag marketing strategies out there. You start a contest and require target customers to use your hashtags in their posts to qualify for the contest.

It’s like you’re starting a party and you’re asking everyone to come and eat. Everyone loves free food and drinks, right? That’s the idea.

Where it gets a little difficult is coming up with the perfect hashtag that people can relate to your business. One of the most successful branded hashtag so far is #ShareACoke — though, it wasn’t exactly a contest as we’re discussing here.

-shareacoke-ig

Three things make this hashtag awesome:

  • The hashtag is simple, which makes it memorable.
  • It clearly flaunts the brand’s name.
  • It’s a call-to-action (CTA) hashtag — as it encourages people to take an “fun” action, share a coke.

You can learn from this and make an effective and memorable hashtag for your business. Make it reflect your brand name clearly, make it simple and make it a CTA — you know, like #DoSomethingFun.

To get even more juice from this, you can ask contest participants to tag your business handle in their entries.

This may reduce the amount of people participating in your contest since you’ll be stressing them more by asking them to do more tasks. But you’ll be getting more bang from your investment — 54% of users surveyed by Twitter reported that they had taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets (including visiting their website, searching for the brand, or retweeting content).

In plain English, you get more ROI when users tag your brand in their entries for your contest or promos.

2. Ask event attendees to share, using your hashtag before and during the event

If you’re organizing an event, you can create a hashtag and ask your event attendees to share the post on social using your event’s hashtag. Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios says it’s best to announce your event hashatag right at the start of the event:

“Tell the audience about it before the opening keynote.”

This means that you must have planned this hashtag ahead of time — it should have been ready long before the event day. In fact, planning it out long before the D-day gives it greater chance for good publicity.

Before the popular Social Media Week starts in every country, the #SMMW18 hashtag always has enough time to get in the hands and consciousness of people. Perhaps that’s because the hashtag has been planned and publicized months or weeks before the event starts.

And it’s one of the main reasons why virtually all marketers in many countries don’t miss out when the event date finally hits.

event-hashtag
Image source

The beauty of this is that once multiple people start tweeting with your hashtag during an event, Twitter notices the spike for that hashtag and adds it to their Trending list — which exposes your hashtag to Twitter users who like hot news.

This means more people will be seeing your hashtagged posts. It can lead to a massive explosion and brand awareness for you. And you may also attract people who haven’t heard about you or your hashtag before. They can become curious as to who you are why you’re trending on their Twitter.

3. Get people to like your hashtagged tweets and posts

Social networks want to feed their users with the best content their platforms offer. And it’s the same for your business. You want your best content consistently visible for optimal customer engagement.

Google, Youtube, and most other platforms also operate in this way. They all have top posts in a category on their platforms so more users can find them. When your tweets or Instagram posts get significant engagement, they are ranked in the top sections of the platforms they’re on for the hashtag(s) they contain.

For example, if your your post on Instagram with #musicmonday gets healthy engagement, say 200 likes and 20 comments, it can get ranked on the top posts section of Instagram.

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If you’re already a popular brand, your hashtagged posts will naturally get hundreds and thousands of Likes or Favs, retweets, and replies in no time. And this will move your posts to the top sections of social networks. And, to amplify your reach, you may use influencers.

But if your brand is not so popular yet, you need to go to a little more work. You especially need influencers who will spread the word about your brand and hashtag. Ask your network — existing followers, customers and friends — to Like your posts so they reach more people.

Conclusion

Popular hashtags are a big deal. They raise an entire village of brand advocates, like what’s happening with Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke today.

The drink company is still enjoying all the brand awareness and sales that come from the hashtag, as many of their customers are eager to take fancy pictures with a bottle of coke and share it on social using the hashtag. It’s the same for every other brand that has worked to create popular hashtags.

Businesses that latch on to unbranded hashtags they didn’t create themselves also enjoy some level of success as seen with the Oreo example above. In the end, whether you create your brand hashtag or latch on to unbranded hashtags you didn’t create, your business is bound to see an uptake in engagement and sales if you hit the right combination.

Take a chance and experiment with hashtags. Learn to capitalize on what’s trending and help your business by becoming part of the hashtag trend.

Keyhole Social Media Listening Academic Research Insights

University of Idaho Professor Uses Keyhole to Gather Live Info on a “Huge Scale”

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Now let me tell you about Dr. Blevins’s research.

We all remember the Women’s March of 2017. It was one of the largest demonstrations in US history, with millions of people marching in the US alone, and hundreds of other marches happening around the world.

It quickly became a source of interest for many. How did a movement with no defined goal or governing body make such an impact, mobilizing millions? This is what Dr. Blevins sets out to answer in her paper “The Women’s Convention: Reclaiming a Movement”.

Image of a Women's March

In it, she explores how the Women’s March movement was able to gather much-needed resources through social media, ultimately allowing it to scale to the Women’s Convention of 2017.

Using Keyhole, Dr. Blevins analyzed the posts being made by the Women’s March Facebook page, noting what posts were being shared with the intention of gathering resources for the convention.

Image of Keyhole tracking the Women's March Facebook

She also tracked the overall impact of #WomensConvention on Twitter and Instagram, analyzing overall reach and impressions.

Image of Keyhole tracking #WomensConvention

As she shares within her paper:

“During the same two month spread that this paper focused on for official posts from the Women’s March Facebook page, there were 85,867 posts tagged with the #WomensConvention hashtag. Those user posts had a reach of 142 million unique users, and made over 456 million impressions.

Those metrics are almost impossible to manage using traditional media tactics, especially for decentralized, activist organizations and movements.” (Blevins, “The Women’s Convention: Reclaiming a Movement”)

She shares with us that many researchers are not yet using tools like Keyhole to gather data in this way, but this is a change we will likely start to see in the future.

“A lot of social media researchers gather data manually. Mostly because most of us come from a social science background and we’re not used to being able to use a lot of software. This idea of being able to gather live info on a huge scale is something we are not used to.”

For Dr. Blevins, however, using Keyhole has proven to exponentially increase the amount of data gathered. She also shared with us that our historical offering was particularly useful, especially “at a price point that an academic can afford” (historical offering= gathering old posts that were shared on social).

“The ability to gather data like that is something I’ve never seen before. Being able to actually see that data with discourse and seeing attitude [Sentiment] is really unique. I really appreciate that as a researcher. From a couple of months of using Keyhole I have enough research and raw data that I could get sufficient publications written to get tenure.”

Overall, working with Dr. Blevins has helped us understand how Keyhole can be successfully applied as a research tool, an exciting use that we can’t wait to see more of.

As Dr Blevins shares,

“While this software is usually used by advertisers as part of their in-depth social-media analytics, it holds valuable insights for social media research as well” (Blevins, “The Women’s Convention: Reclaiming a Movement”).

Keyhole Social Media AnalBottleRock

How BottleRock Music Festival Amps Up Influencer Engagement with Keyhole

BottleRock is a Napa Valley music festival that aims to bring together the best of Napa culture- wine, music, food and more wine, in true Napa fashion.

At BottleRock - two hands holding wine glasses

“When people come to Napa, the first thing that they think of is great wine. What goes along with great wine is great food, and what pairs perfectly with food and wine is music. Add beautiful rolling hills, vineyards, and world-class hospitality and you have what we call BottleRock Napa Valley.”

-Jasa Laliberte, Marketing Manager.
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The festival was originally started in 2013, and by 2015 was selling out. This year, with an impressive lineup, festival tickets sold out earlier than ever before.

Image of a Bottlerock Concert Performance

“We really focus a lot on customer experience, paying particular emphasis to our 4 different levels of VIP and providing an all-around amazing experience for the concert-goer from start to finish. In the same way that Napa provides such amazing hospitality, we try to do the same thing at our festival.”

Why Keyhole

The marketing team at BottleRock accomplishes some pretty awesome feats through our tool year-round. Check it out! They include:

Finding Influencers

Image of the Cocktails Fans Platinum Lounge at BottleRock

Jasa’s team is able to regularly find and engage artists and influencers they didn’t know were speaking about BottleRock through Keyhole’s Influencers* tab.

*Tell me more: The ‘Influencers’ tab in Keyhole shows top users engaging with your hashtag or keyword, allowing you to engage with them and their content directly from the platform.

“Before Keyhole, I wasn’t seeing some of the bigger accounts that were talking about us. I just never knew they were out there being a positive influencer for us! So now I’m definitely looking into those people. We have kind of a daily ‘a-ha!’ moment with Keyhole.”

Identifying Trends by Tracking Hashtags Year-Round

According to Jasa, Keyhole’s biggest impact is saving time by clearly depicting cross-platform data.

We asked Jasa what she did before Keyhole, to which she laughingly replied, “Well, I had lots of spreadsheets!”

“The biggest thing that’s been helpful for us is being able to actually see our overall impressions online. The data was on different platforms and we were not able to see what other people were saying about us very easily. Now we are actually able to put a number and a statistic behind it.”

By tracking relevant hashtags and keywords year-round, Jasa’s team is also able to identify relevant trends as they happen, and adjust their strategies and event accordingly.

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“The biggest things are the analytics behind it, the numbers. We’ve tracked hashtags for the last 5 years, but we’ve never done it all year round–so it’s been beneficial for us to see different trends and quantify them.”

Optimizing content

Lastly, Keyhole helps with content creation by giving insight into the types of conversations users are having.

Keyhole’s word cloud for the ‘Napa’ Keyword tracker shows what else people discuss when talking about Napa online.
Image of Keyhole's Related Topics word cloud

“It is influencing our strategy. As we are moving to figure out specific copy and content, we are looking at what we’re putting out there in terms of hashtags and keywords, and figuring out what themes and trends we are seeing…what is being engaged with the most. We try and find that theme and replicate it.”

Results

Overall, Keyhole’s data has helped BottleRock’s marketing team save time and simplify their processes, allowing them to focus on what’s most important: creating unforgettable festival experiences and selling out year after year.

What can Keyhole do for you? Sign up for a 3-day free trial and find out!

Feature-Stories-Keyhole-Customer-Success-Hero-Stories-Influencers-Social-listening-easy-reporting World Elephant Day

How #WorldElephantDay Uses Keyhole to Help Find Investors

“Media plays an impact, we had 1.6 billion impressions on #WorldElephantDay. Now, we have to find a way to turn that engagement into funding and sponsorship so that it can continue to help the elephants”.

Every August 12th, the world gets together to save elephants for #WorldElephantDay. The annual awareness campaign, which began in 2012, was created by documentary filmmaker Patricia Sims and her colleagues.

“When I started to learn about elephants, their intelligence and their emotional capabilities, I learned also about how complex some of the issues that affect them are, and decided it was important to bring the world together on finding solutions. That’s what inspired me to create World Elephant Day,” shares Patricia.

Today, Patricia continues to lead this annual campaign as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the World Elephant Society, a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity organization that supports World Elephant Day as well as its website and related events.

WED-image of Patricia

Patricia amplifies World Elephant Day through Keyhole year-round by a) finding and connecting with influencers and b) easily collecting campaign data to help secure investors and sponsoring partners.

Influencers: As the campaign has gained traction over the years, it has become globally recognized in the elephant conservation movement. Patricia shares that, as a result, influencers and organizations often use the campaign’s hashtag year round in connection to other elephant conservation movements, sponsoring programmes, and more.

By using Keyhole, Patricia and her team are able to easily identify top influencers engaging with their hashtag, and directly reach out to them to amplify their message.

“Influencers have really helped us with growth- when you can target them specifically, it can help get your message out so much more effectively,” tells us Patricia.

Data for Investors: Patricia’s team works with Keyhole to help identify campaign reach, engagement, and growth, easily organizing all this data and helping Patricia present it to potential collaborators and sponsors.

“With the data collected using Keyhole I turn engagement into action, drafting reports for potential partnerships and funders that demonstrate our growth, reach, and impact.”

Result

Keyhole has helped World Elephant Day get more value out of its social media presence.

In 2018, Patricia and her team will use this data to create a more formal brand strategy, taking advantage of the large brand impact her campaign has in the conservation space to attract sponsors and partners to support the World Elephant Day campaign and her organization year-round.

WED-image of Elephants
*All images courtesy of World Elephant Society

Billboard Customer Success Story Event Monitoring Event Reporting Insights

How Billboard Uses Keyhole To Boost The Hot 100 Festival

The Challenge

When Billboard was planning its first ever Hot 100 Music Festival, the internal team needed help with their social media strategy. It was more important than ever to identify key influencers and a social measurement of success.

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How Keyhole Helps

1. Using Social to Track Marketing KPIs

With Keyhole, Stephanie and Katherine can easily track real-time data and post engagement. This allows them to choose event partners strategically and measure success metrics, such as the reach and engagement, of their digital campaigns and events.

  • Follower growth before and after influencers are engaged
  • Type of content fans love
  • Fans’ reactions and sentiment to the posts
  • Who to partner with to drive most fan engagement for Billboard

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2. Capturing Buzz in Real-Time

Stepping into work every morning, social chatter around trending artists is on the social media team’s radar. Using Keyhole’s alert feature, Billboard can find out who’s mentioning them on social media. The ability to get real-time alerts and insights on these social conversations provides immediate value.

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3. Easy Reporting to Show Your Impact

Katherine needs to provide high-level reports to business partners and executives. Using Keyhole, she can pull together meaningful metrics with just a few clicks.

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Event Sponsors Love It!

For the 2016 Billboard Women in Music Awards, the social team tweeted video clips from the event post-broadcast, and successfully garnered engagement from an extended millennial audience who might not have tuned in on traditional TV.

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Event sponsors loved it as they were targeting the millennial audience specifically.

In Stephanie’s words, “The ease of Keyhole is extremely valuable to social media managers.”

Reuters Customer Success Story

Why Reuters Reporter Turns to Keyhole to Craft Data-Driven Stories

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Melissa Fares is a social media reporter for Reuters. Based in the New York office, she covers stories that affect — and are affected by — social media trends. She uses Keyhole analytics to track breaking news, develop story ideas and supplement articles with comprehensive data.

Why Keyhole

Melissa wants to find out which hashtags and keywords were trending in relation to breaking news stories, and this task introduces a set of challenges.

  1. As journalists compete to break news while social trends rapidly grow and pass, Fares needs a tool to monitor online conversations in real-time. Platforms that don’t offer live tracking can’t keep up with a newsroom’s fast pace, she says.
  2. Covering state-, national- and international-level news creates a need to know where social media trends develop and gain steam.
  3. Unravelling the context of social media trends is what helps Fares add detail to her articles and think up other story ideas. Therefore, she not only needs to monitor online conversations but also track related hashtags and keywords while identifying influential users.

Keyhole helps Melissa by:

List of how Keyhole helps Melissa

“I really do value Keyhole. It was one of the first platforms that I came across for navigating the social Internet, and it’s proven to be highly user-friendly and a pure joy to use. I even use it in my free time.”

Developed New Story Ideas

“Keyhole has taken me in a lot of directions that other platforms haven’t,” says Fares.

The tool identifies the most popular hashtags and keywords used with your tracked terms. This feature helps Fares find new trends and track data associated with them, helping her either craft stories or add more detail to articles.

“It points me towards the side conversations that are being held, helping me understand why they’re related… We’re always interested in taking the story further and investigating how people are reacting to what’s being said,” she adds, “That’s where Keyhole has been super, super useful.”

Wrote Articles Using Keyhole Analytics

Fares has used Keyhole data to write stories ranging from the health effects of bacon to the United States presidential election — one of the most popular being about Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban.

By tracking hashtags and keywords relating to the Republican candidate, she identified which five states were talking most about the ban.

“It’s interesting to know that California was talking so much about the ban. Why California? We don’t necessarily know, but without that information from Keyhole, there would have been readers who might not have related to the story.”

Collected Social Data in Breaking News Situations

“(Keyhole) is everything a journalist wants to use in a breaking-news situation since it’s quick and easy to use,” says Fares.

Inputting a keyword will quickly generate data by analyzing a sample of relevant posts, updating in real-time. Unlike other tracking tools, there is no need to authenticate your Twitter or Instagram account. You also don’t have to fill out a complex form to start your search.

“You want to spend time on Keyhole. It’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Get Started Today

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