Monday, January 8, 2018

Ten Useful Brand Marketing Hashtags

Thanks to social media, hashtags have become an excellent marketing tool when reaching out to customers and potential customers. Whenever a hashtag or number sign (#) is inserted in front of a word or phrase, it brings attention to the word or phrase and facilitates online searches. Hashtags have become useful throughout social media but are most widely used on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus.

According to Wikipedia, a hashtag "makes it possible for (people) to easily find a specific theme or content...If promoted by enough individuals, a hashtag can 'trend' and attract more individual users...Because of its widespread use, ‘hashtag’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014."

While there are countless marketing hashtags, here are ten focused on branding and brand-building:

[1] #BrandExperience
When talking about the impact a brand makes on its customers, fans, or stakeholders, the term is brand experience. A positive brand experience can create a customer for life, and by contrast, a negative brand experience can be a brand’s worst nightmare due to the power of word-of-mouth marketing. All brands should focus on their brand experience, and always walk a mile in their customers’ shoes. Use this hashtag to showcase your overall brand experience and to attract more fans, followers, and customers.

[2] #BrandStorytelling
What story does your brand tell? Consider Apple, Tiffany & Co., and Amazon. What are their stories? Their mission statements easily tell their stories. Use this hashtag to tell stories that will engage your followers and fans.

[3] #BrandPositioning
Is your brand an industry leader or a follower? How do you position your brand in the marketplace? Consider Avis and its tagline: “We're #2 – We Try Harder.” Avis may not be the biggest car rental agency, but its tagline sticks out. Consider the Energizer Bunny – who doesn’t think of the pink bunny when a wireless mouse or keyboard needs new batteries? And while the golden arches of McDonald’s appear on almost every corner around the world, Burger King’s emphasis on bigger and cheaper hamburgers have developed a large following. There are advantages to being #2. One advantage to being #2 is the ability to create unique product specifications and/or packaging since no one expects you to be different. Other advantages include the ability to tweak pricing, the ability to align or partner with totally unconventional companies or brands, and the ability to change packaging or advertising just to see how consumers react. Use this hashtag to explain your brand positioning and how you excel – wherever you fit into your industry.

[4] #BrandStrategy
According to Bernadette Jiwa (@bernadettejiwa), “We think our job is to change how people feel about our product or service. But, in fact, our job is to change how people feel about themselves when they use that product or service.” Use this hashtag to highlight some aspect of your brand marketing strategy.

[5] #BrandPromise
What is your brand’s competitive advantage? Do your employees know, and can all of them clearly articulate your brand promise? From the CEO on down, commit to delivering your brand promise to customers. Use this hashtag to highlight your brand promise and show how you deliver.

[6] #BrandConsistency
How do you present your brand to your target audiences? If you have a tagline, specific colors in your logo, or words that represent your brand, all must be included on a consistent basis whenever talking about your brand. If you’re inconsistent, not only will you confuse your audiences, but you may lose customers. Use this hashtag to demonstrate ways that your brand is consistent.

[7] #BrandVoice

How does your brand speak to all of your audiences? Do you use industry-specific jargon? Are you formal or informal? Are you consistent with your brand voice throughout all social platforms? Consider these questions as you build and maintain your digital brand. Use this hashtag when something you post/say is in line with all your other brand assets.

[8] #BrandRelevance
How relevant is your brand? While it may be top of mindshare to your employees and key stakeholders, it may not be well-known outside of your circle of influencers.  Use this hashtag to demonstrate the strengths and unique attributes you contribute to your industry and the community-at-large. You may be surprised by how your brand recognition grows.

[9] #BrandIdentity
According to David Aaker (@DavidAaker), “An extended identity can help a brand break out of the box…consider the strategic role of the Wells Fargo stagecoach in the brand’s awareness level.” Use this hashtag to explain elements in your brand story, as well as your values and culture.

[10] #BrandAmbassador
Today, every employee has the potential to represent your brand. Therefore, leaders must ask, “Do employees have enough information to explain our competitive advantage? Can they articulate the brand promise in one or two sentences? Do they know who handles customer service complaints or press inquiries?” If the answers to these questions are no, then ask yourself this important question: How can my employees be enthusiastic brand ambassadors? The answer may force leaders to create a culture where innovation is promoted and recognized, where questions are answered, where good work is rewarded, and where leadership is transparent. Engaged employees will emerge – people who will live and breathe your brand on a daily basis. Use this hashtag to provide assistance to create brand ambassadors – and to highlight and thank your existing ambassadors.

On a related note, there are two other hashtags that you should also keep in mind. #EmployerBranding is useful when looking for top quality candidates. Show job applicants that your company, business, or nonprofit cares about employees by being conscious of your employer brand. And #PersonalBranding is an important hashtag because every individual is a brand and has something unique to offer.

I’d like to end with my favorite quote about branding. Ken Peters (@brand_BIG) said it best, “Advertising shouts at you. Marketing talks to you. Branding connects with you.”

What do you think? Chime in with your fave brand marketing hashtag.

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