More and more, it’s up to brands to create their own buzz. For you, this means that no one is going out of their way to build brand awareness for your brand—it’s all on you. One route that today’s brands are taking is social media marketing with hashtags. Is this approach right for your brand? And if so, how can you enact a hashtag campaign that will effectively build brand awareness? Join us to find out.
How to Build Brand Awareness with Hashtags
There are plenty of companies out there who have done this the wrong way (Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nationwide Insurance to name a few). There are also plenty who have done it right (like Dove and Domino’s).
All brands that start a hashtag campaign have hopes that their message (and therefore their brand) will go viral. In truth, few do. Here are the lessons you can learn from the ones that have done hashtags well:
- Establish mind share first. In essence, your hashtag campaign should have been alive and well, existing just below the surface of your brand, for years. You should have built your brand using values associated with this hashtag campaign, so when you finally launch it, your brand awareness will be high enough, and reputable enough, to support it. A new hashtag campaign from a new brand rarely works. You need credibility. You need trust. You need a solid reputation.
- Know how your brand is perceived. You’ve heard us say it before: Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what consumers say it is. Hashtag campaigns to build brand awareness are perfect examples of why this is so important. If the cause that you choose doesn’t closely align with the public’s perceptions of your brand, a disconnect will be felt and the campaign will never get off the ground.
- Demonstrate your brand’s values. The cause that you will support with a hashtag campaign must be in direct correlation with your established brand values. Otherwise, the public’s rubbish alarms will sound…loudly. Think authenticity and determine what will feel authentic to both you and your target audience. Again, any disconnect with the cause will be miserably evident in the results of your campaign.
- Do it for a good reason. If your campaign is trivial or too broad in its scope, it will not be taken seriously, people will not take the time to engage with it, and you will fail to connect on an emotional level with the people who are most important to the success of your brand. Study your audience. Find out what they want the most and then deliver it to them on a silver hashtag platter.
- Use visuals and other marketing techniques. Often, brands assume that a phrase connected to a hashtag is enough to spark interest. To the contrary, your hashtag campaign will be far more successful if its publicity exists outside the social media realm. Take it outside—let it run, let it explore, expose it.
- Be a leader, not a follower. Jumping on the trend bandwagon with the intention of reaping associated attention is a poor move for any brand. There are two reasons for this: It is unlikely that your brand will be able to closely align itself with the cause, and hashtag campaigns should be designed to last for years (not just until the dust settles from the latest news hype).
Anyone can start a hashtag campaign, in an attempt to build brand awareness. However, without some serious audience study and proper strategy, your hashtag campaign could go the tragic way of most.
Take the steps necessary for making your hashtag campaign successful. Contact How to Build a Brand at +44 (0) 208 123 6776 for more information on building brand awareness through social media.
For further brand awareness help or advice, please get in touch with us on [email protected] and get your daily branding tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/HowToBuildABrand.