How To Run a Hashtag Campaign

Pankaj Narang

Dec 19, 20178 min read
How To Run a Hashtag Campaign

Now when nearly all social media platforms support hashtags, most organizations are running successful campaigns that are based on hashtags, or feature one. Plenty of brands often feature a hashtag usually at the end of their advertisements. TV shows display hashtags when the credits roll, while celebrities employ hashtags to promote themselves.

In most instances, hashtags drive conversations about specific products or particular topics. However, businesses can also use them for other reasons. A hashtag can be used to market new campaigns and products, run contests and competitions, request fans to provide input regarding a new company development or to link a brand to a famous news story or item.

However, one of the best aspects of hashtag campaigns is that they are very economical or even completely free, at times. It goes without saying, the more strategically you spend money on a hashtag campaign, the greater will be the rewards.

Key Aspects to Consider When Launching a Hashtag Campaign

You must have heard of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. The list is pretty long. You have more than fifty social media outlets to choose from, so you may be tempted to set up your profile on various social networks, but it is important to consider the following factors before you start your hashtag campaign.

#1. Your Audience

Your target audience is one of the most important considerations. You will have to figure out the channel your audience is most likely to use. For example, if your business has a B2B model (that is, it sells its products to other businesses), LinkedIn is likely to be more relevant or suitable compared to Facebook. On the other hand, if your business sells its products directly to consumers, your audience is likely to be more active on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

#2. Your Resources

Who will be responsible for managing your social media plan and strategy? You must also determine the financial resources you can invest in your hashtag campaigns, which will depend on your marketing budget. Keep in mind that social media accounts with no activity are worse than having no presence at all. This factor will play a vital role in your choice of an appropriate channel.

#3. Your Plan 

Have you devised a detailed and comprehensive content plan for your hashtag campaign? Setting up an account on a social media platform is usually the easy part. On the other hand, having an effective and sound content plan to engage and connect with your target audience is often the key to a successful hashtag campaign. You just can’t develop the content without knowing the networks that you will use. For instance, post copy tends to work well on Facebook, but it may not necessarily translate into an engaging or quality tweet.

A Stepwise Guide to Start Your Hashtag Campaign

Step 1. Research Your Brand and Competitors

You will have to determine the current position of your brand on various social media platforms. It involves figuring out how influential you are on Instagram, Twitter, and other popular mediums. Who is talking and blogging about your brand and what is the context? What kind of response you are getting from your fans. What keywords are associated with your brand? These are a few vital questions you will have to answer before you start your hashtag campaign.

To achieve this, you can do the following:

  1. Measure the current influence of your brand. You will use this information for the post-campaign analysis. The influence metric should include your existing followers as well as sources and contributors. Your real-time influence can be measured by using a monitoring tool. This will provide vital information such as reach, contributors, influential users, impressions, and more.

  2. Determine what relevant keywords your brand name is associated with and compile a list. Search these keywords on the social media channel where you would be running the campaign. Knowing these keywords can help you come up with relevant hashtags, concepts, and copies for the campaign.

It is just as important to monitor your competitors as it is to monitor your own brand. This will allow you to gain a broader and better perspective of your industry and provide guidance in developing your hashtag campaign. It is not a great idea to run a campaign that is similar to your competitor’s.

The method of research is pretty simple. You will have to gauge their existing reach and following on various social media outlets, go through their copies carefully, and monitor their influencers. Analyzing the strategy of your competitors is likely to reveal valuable information that can be used in your hashtag campaign.

Step 2. Define the Goals of Your Campaign

Your campaign team should define the goals of the hashtag campaign before developing the campaign strategy and content. You can easily get caught up while driving innovation and creativity around your campaign to the point that its key business KPIs and metrics may become unclear.

You need to figure out the aim of your hashtag campaign, which could be to raise awareness for a new product, increase the number of followers, or to urge consumers to download your app. Various metrics such as the number of followers, mentions, and RTs will inevitably improve as a result of a successful hashtag campaign. However, it is vital to define your goals as it is incredibly crucial to devise an effective and sound content strategy.

For example, to accurately measure awareness, metrics such as reach, volume, amplification, and exposure will be vital. Similarly, for engagement, the relevant metrics will be the number of retweets, replies, comments, participants, and so on.

Step 3. Create a Hashtag that Resonates With Your Audience

A great hashtag is a vital element of any hashtag campaign. Without an effective hashtag, there will be no link between the generated content and the contest. In a nutshell, hashtags help to develop both your brand and contest recognition by serving as a means of sharing and driving user participation.

However, creating a hashtag that resonates with your audience may be tricky. If your contest has a specific timeframe, and you want to come up with a hashtag that is catchy and unique, then it should be:

  • Short

  • Memorable

  • Relevant

  • Rare

  • Universal, an online management company, developed an engaging and effective hashtag, which was used for their #MyMintMoment contest. This contest was successful for various reasons, one of them being its brilliant hashtag. #MyMintMoment was short, simple, memorable, and easy to comprehend. It resonated with the audience and had a plain and clear theme.


Image Source: - Twitter

Step 4. Execute the Campaign with Your Team and Influencers

Similar to a fundraising campaign, it is important to get your team and influencers on board. Get in touch with your influencers and marketing partners, especially those with a massive following, and request them to tweet, post or blog about your hashtag campaign. It could be as simple as offering them sample text or other content that they can easily copy and paste.

Another good idea is to invite input and participation from your team and community. Hashtag campaigns are fun because anyone can become a part of the conversation. To boost engagement and responses, ask your fans some relevant questions. This will not only drive engagement and participation but may lead to some useful insights regarding your audience as well.

Step 5. Boost Your Hashtag Campaign

There are several ways to boost your hashtag campaign. Some of them are discussed below.

#1. Run Sweepstakes to Boost Audience

At times, offering a valuable reward can help promote your hashtag campaign and allow it to gain some traction. You can run sweepstakes on Instagram or Twitter by requesting people to like and share your post. Choosing a random winner from various participants is important. To ensure your winner is random you can use various online tools. For instance, here's a perfect example of running a sweepstake.


Trending hashtags are hashtag topics that have become quite popular. When people talk about what is trending now, they are usually referring to trending hashtags which are getting the most attention at that time. Trending hashtags tend to change in real time. For example, top ten trends may come and go within a matter of minutes.

So, whenever you spot a hashtag trend that is relevant to your campaign, make the most of it. With a trending hashtag in the content updates, you could easily get your message across to a wide and massive audience. Your content updates will be seen by people other than your followers and fans, and it is completely free. The #TravelTuesday hashtag campaign run by Insider certainly follows all these suggestions.


#3. Amplify Your Message Using Tweets And Contests

You can market your contest with promoted or regular tweets to reinforce your campaign’s message with several targeting options available on Twitter. Furthermore, you can customize your promoted content's audience as well to get optimized results. Promoted tweets on Twitter are an ideal means to amplify the reach of your contest. It is cost-effective and may go a long way when used correctly. Simply go to to start with Twitter ads and promote your content.

#4. Use Images, GIF, and Videos

You can use images, GIFS, and videos to promote your hashtag campaigns. Their use is often based on humor, but you can use them the way you like. They are especially effective if you want to interject some light-hearted comedy in the campaign. These images and GIFS are more engaging and eye-catching compared to text and are likely to stick in your audience’s mind for a long time, adding more traction to your hashtag campaign.

For instance, you can see how Taco Bell uses GIFs, photos, and funny quotes to grab their audience's attention on Twitter.


Twitter’s data and analytics team also dug out the following statistics (from thousands of verified users and by studying 2 million tweets) to confirm the power of visuals:

  • Photos provide an average of a 35% boost in Retweets.

  • Videos get a 28% more boost.

  • Quotes get a 19% boost in Retweets.

Step 6. Measure Your Growth Using A Tool

As we have already listed the various metrics that you intend to concentrate on, now is the time to find suitable tools that can capture your metrics, and just start measuring.

In many cases, social media platforms themselves offer some analytics. If that is not the case, you will have to use other third-party tools or apps, and you can even develop a tool with APIs. If you are not certain about the choice of tools for different channels, you can either ask others or perform a Google search which will fetch you dozens of options. Some popular third-party tools are:

  • Tweetchat: The tool provides a real-time stream of tweets having your hashtag to help you interact with other users.
  • Socialert: Track and Analyze hashtag campaign and get comprehensive insights like top tweets, reach, influencers, and more.
  • Woobox: It can be used to organize hashtag contests regarding your campaign.
  • Mention: To obtain crucial information related to your top content in hashtag campaign.

Most social media analytics tools usually work in real-time. Therefore, it is better to plan and set up suitable tracking tools before the start of your campaign. This will make accessing relevant data easier during and afterward. For example, on Twitter, it is very time-consuming to access tweets that are more than a couple of days old. Also, it is difficult and less reliable compared to gathering and archiving tweets in real time. So, set up the tools of your choice before the campaign begins.

If you have a question, feel free to drop a comment below.

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social media marketing enthusiast, Pankaj is determined to shape his ideas into perfect products. CoFounder of Socialert - Twitter Analytics Tool, he believes in coming up with engaging tools to redefine the face of digital marketing. Know more about him at his blog