It seems that everywhere you look on social media, you’re bound to find a hashtag. The concept was first introduced to us on Twitter back in 2007, but their use is pretty standard across the board these days. In fact, best practices on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest include posting content with accompanying hashtags, which help people sort through all “the noise” (aka: the massive number of posts that go up daily) so that they can find what they want, when they want it.
If you’re like most people, you already understand the importance of engagement on social media to drive sales, but do you know how to leverage the use of hashtags to do the same?
If not, keep reading…
OPTION 1: The Branded Hashtag
The first – and most important – hashtag you’ll create is a branded hashtag. This should be a word or phrase that represents who you are and /or what the story behind your ecommerce business really is. Choose something catchy that represents your brand. But make sure you keep it simple too. Customers won’t use it if it’s too difficult to spell or takes too long to type out. Hashtags like Charmin’s “#tweetfromtheseat”, and DiGiorno’s “#DiGiorNOYOUDINT” involved too much typing, so they never really caught on. customers
How To Use It: To Drive Sales
Branded hashtags can be used in many different ways online, including:
- Contests: Social media contests themed around holidays or seasons make great contests to expand your brand and compel both current and new customers to make a purchase. Dead Good’s #WinYourWishlist contest was a perfect example of this. The company asked customers to create a wish list with their favorite Dead Good products. Not only did this increase customer engagement but providing the SHARE feature for additional entries, increased brand awareness as well.
- Product Launches: in marketing, it’s easy to forget that your customers may not be thinking about your brand as much as you’d like them to. Using a branded hashtag during a product launch can help put your brand right out in front for everyone to see. When Oreo launched their new Halloween Oreos, the branded hashtag #OreoHorrorStories became an overnight success, and drove sales for the orange and black cookies.
- Promotions: promotions can be a great opportunity for driving customer engagement, develop new customers, and the ultimate goal of increasing your ecommerce store conversion rate, as well as the average value of a customer’s order. When Denny’s wanted to reach a younger demographic, they branded their hashtag #CollegeIn5Words to attract a college audience. It worked like a charm!
BONUS TIP: use your hashtag outside of social media as well. Start using your branded hashtag in your product packaging and email newsletters. This will improve your brand’s awareness, which in turn, will lead to an uptick in sales.
How To Use It: To Monitor Who’s Talking About You
Ever hear the saying, “To be a fly on the wall”? Well a branded hashtag is your fly on the wall. It provides you with an easy way to monitor conversations people are having about you. This gives you valuable insight on what they think about your products, and your business as a whole.
Why Is this important?
Well, wouldn’t you want to know if people are singing your products praises? And on the flip-side, wouldn’t you want to know if people were unhappy with your products, or your shipping policies? Reputation is EVERYTHING, which is why you need to make sure you stay on top of yours.
Now that we got the branded hashtag benefits out of the way, let’s take a look at how the right hashtag can help boost your sales.
OPTION 2: Hashtag Based Campaigns
Catchy hashtags can spread like wildfire (in a good way). Think about Coca Cola’s #ShareaCoke campaign. It first debuted back in the summer of 2014, and is STILL going strong. What’s the last digital marketing campaign you can remember that’s been successful for over 3 years?
What did they do right?
Coke came up with a ‘catchy’ hashtag – and then took full advantage of it through a promotional hashtag based campaign. Another great example? RedBulls #PutACanOnIt. Good hashtag campaigns build brand awareness, which in turn, can drive sales.
Think about the perks of a hashtag based campaign in terms of simple math:
Catchy Hashtag + Customers Posting & Sharing + New Audience Sharing = Revenue Boost
An added bonus? There’s zero cost involved. All it requires is a little creativity.
The right hashtag can help you better connect with your existing customer base, tap into new audiences, and build brand awareness, which is a trifecta of awesomeness for ecommerce businesses. So, if you’re looking for a no-cost way to improve your sales, put your thinking cap on – and then start typing. #goodluck