Hashtags make the world go round…at least on social media. They inspire trends and make them go viral. Remember how viral the #IceBucketChallenge got several years ago? That wouldn’t have caught on as much as it did without the hashtag to tie it all together.
This is exactly why hashtag campaigns are such a crucial part of a brand’s social media marketing. In this post, we give you reasons why you need hashtag campaigns on social media. We also give you a list of eight of the best hashtag campaigns in recent years so you can take inspiration from them.
8 Best Hashtag Campaigns on Social Media and Why You Need One:
What are Hashtag Campaigns?
Hashtag campaigns are exactly as the name suggests–they’re social media marketing campaigns that are promoted using a specific hashtag. Usually more brand-specific than generic, these hashtags are used to tie the campaign’s content together. In some campaigns, audiences are also encouraged to use the hashtag to create user-generated content, which has the potential to exponentially grow the campaign’s visibility.
Benefits of a Social Media Hashtag Campaign
If you haven’t run one yourself, you’re probably wondering why hashtag campaigns are such a big deal. Why do you need to start a hashtag campaign of your own? To answer your question, here are three key benefits you can enjoy from a social media hashtag campaign.
Generate Tons of UGC
If you’re encouraging people to use your hashtag, you have an opportunity to generate tons of relevant user-generated content. This saves you heaps of time and effort in creating your own content to promote the campaign. Instead, you’ll have people doing the hard work for you while simultaneously helping to promote your hashtag.
Grow Your Reach Exponentially
The more people use your hashtag, the more exposure it’ll bring for your brand. You get to grow your reach exponentially by getting your hashtag in front of your followers’ audiences. In the process, you also get to raise brand awareness and bring more visibility to your brand and its products.
Boost Your Sales
Growing your reach means you get to reach more people who might be interested in buying your products. As such, hashtag campaigns can indirectly inspire purchase decisions and help you increase your sales.
8 Recent Hashtag Campaigns that Drove Impressive Results
Now that we’re clear on the benefits, it’s time to find some inspiration in existing hashtag campaigns. Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful social media hashtag campaigns that were launched in recent years.
1. Adidas – #HereToCreate
The #HereToCreate hashtag campaign was launched in 2018 in a bid to inspire creators from around the world. When the campaign was initially launched, it was intended as a promo for the 2018 Boston Marathon, where 30,000 videos were made for participating athletes.
This hashtag has since been used as a way to tell inspiring stories of Adidas employees. The brand even roped in influential personalities like Pharrell Williams, Dua Lipa, and Lionel Messi to push the campaign in front of a largescale audience.
Today, over 700,000 posts have been created with the hashtag on Instagram. This speaks volumes about the popularity and reach that the campaign had.
What made it work: The campaign focused on inspiring others and telling inspirational stories, which easily caught on with the audience. Plus, the presence of influential faces further helped to amplify the impact.
2. Apple – #ShotoniPhone
Apple’s #ShotoniPhone campaign has been one of the longest-running hashtag campaigns that continue to see significant usage even today. Mostly focused on Instagram, the campaign is intended to inspire iPhone users to get creative and share their photography with the world. People use the hashtag to share amazing phone photography that showcases the potential of the iPhone camera.
Moreover, the widespread use of the hashtag also inspires others to participate and bring even more visibility to the campaign. In fact, Instagram has seen more than 26 million posts created using the hashtag.
What made it work: The campaign solely depended on UGC, which encouraged more participation from others. Photos shared using the hashtag helped to showcase the product’s potential, inspiring other iPhone users to get creative.
3. Chipotle – #ChipotleLidFlip
Upon analyzing their data, Chipotle found that they had a significant concentration of Gen-Z customers. So to better resonate with this audience, the brand decided to launch a TikTok hashtag challenge. They started the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge, with content creator David Dobrik helping to kick it off.
This kickstarted a trend of TikTok users attempting the same stunt and using the hashtag #ChipotleLidFlip. It became a viral sensation on TikTok, with the hashtag garnering more than 335 million views. Additionally, it also drove significant downloads for the Chipotle app as well as delivery orders from a Gen Z audience.
@daviddobrik #ChipotleLidFlip @chipotle #ad ♬ Flip - Future
What made it work: The brand used data to inform its decisions on which platform to use and which audiences to target. Plus, involving a popular content creator helped to really get the campaign going, eventually resulting in it going viral.
4. Dove – #ReverseSelfie
Dove is known for their highly impactful hashtag campaigns designed to challenge existing beauty standards. Previously, the brand had already made its mark using campaigns like #InMyOwnSkin and #SpeakBeautiful. In 2021, the brand launched another viral campaign addressing how the pressure to look perfect on social media is hurting girls’ self-esteem.
The brand created a short and powerful video of a girl reversing the process of posting a highly edited selfie. The video ended with a short message about how social media pressure is harming the self-esteem of girls. It encouraged parents to “have the selfie talk today.” This video received 12,000 likes on the brand’s YouTube channel. The campaign also caught onto platforms like Instagram, where the hashtag has been used in thousands of posts.
What made it work: The fact that the campaign stood up for a cause was a key reason why it had such a significant impact. It picked on a pressing issue that the audiences of today are currently dealing with.
5. Fitbit – #FindYourReason
In a bid to inspire people to find a reason to get fit, Fitbit launched the #FindYourReason hashtag campaign in 2017. The campaign revolved around inspiring stories of people who overcame heart-wrenching challenges–both physically and mentally. It kicked off with five cinematic documentary-style videos that featured Fitbit users who found a reason to push through the health obstacles they faced.
Fitbit further encouraged other users to share their own stories using the hashtag #MyReasonIs. This would give them a chance to be included in the campaign. The campaign saw participation from thousands of users across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Even the #FindYourReason hashtag has been adopted by the fitness and motivation industry, garnering more than 41,000 posts on Instagram.
What made it work: Telling inspirational stories of real people helped inspire others to participate. It gave them a reason to make a real difference in their lives by showing the challenges that others have had to overcome.
6. Frank Body – #thefrankeffect
Frank Body took the social media world by storm with their relatable and authentic marketing that resonates with the target audience. The brand launched #thefrankeffect hashtag campaign encouraging customers to share their experience using their products through social media. This hashtag is included in the brand’s packaging to get it in front of more customers.
The brand reportedly has more than 100,000 customer-generated images under this hashtag and another brand-specific hashtag, #letsbefrank. This campaign stays true to the brand’s goal of turning customers into representatives and product ambassadors. It’s helped Frank Body to generate highly valuable and authentic UGC that would allow them to win the trust of other consumers.
What made it work: The hashtag is very brand specific, making it more challenging for others to piggyback off its popularity. Most of the content that lives under the hashtag is related to the brand.
7. KFC – #UnboringMornings
When KFC Singapore introduced a new breakfast menu in early 2022, they needed to change people’s perceptions and prove that KFC could make a great breakfast. While it’s not out of the ordinary to have KFC for lunch or dinner, it won’t be the first thing that comes to mind for breakfast. That’s why they launched the #UnboringMorning hashtag campaign to “change the status quo.”
They created a series of fun and quirky videos to accompany the hashtag portraying the new breakfast menu as a game-changer. The videos were then shared across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. KFC even went so far as to create an entire Spotify playlist titled #UnboringMorning to help push the campaign in front of an even bigger audience.
What made it work: Pushing the hashtag through multiple platforms helped to maximize its reach and get it in front of more people. The brand got creative and put together a Spotify playlist to further promote the campaign.
8. Red Bull – #DanceYourStyle
To promote their annual Dance Your Style competition, Red Bull launched a campaign on TikTok to raise awareness and drive more participation. They hosted a branded hashtag challenge encouraging users to participate and show off their best dance moves. A jury would then select eight finalists from these participants, who would have to compete with eight wildcard dancers to get a chance to compete at the 2021 World Final.
When the campaign was launched in 2020, it generated a whopping 7 billion views and 1 million submissions. It also saw significant engagement, with the user-submitted content generating a 14.94% engagement rate.
@noelgoescrazy With my bro @avemoves at RedBull Dance Your Style! 🔥thanks @redbullgermany 🏾 #danceyourstyle #fyp #fürdich ♬ Can Can - Rias Orchestra & Helmuth Brandenburg
To this day, the hashtag continues to see significant usage across major social media platforms, mainly for content related to the event. On Instagram, for example, more than 20,000 posts live under the #DanceYourStyle hashtag.
What made it work: The campaign challenged people to get creative and show off their best dance moves. It also rewarded them with an opportunity to win something big, which further drove participation.
Best Practices to Run a Hashtag Campaign
Excited to start your very own hashtag campaign on social media? While the examples above may inspire you, you can’t just start a campaign on a whim. It takes a bit of planning and organization to ensure that your hashtag campaign generates results. Here are a few best practices to get you started.
Focus on a Specific Goal
Make sure you’re working towards a specific goal, so you know exactly what to focus on. Perhaps it’s to raise awareness about a new product or to drive participation for an upcoming event. Or maybe you want to use it as a way to collect feedback on an ongoing basis. Regardless of the specifics, start with a clear definition of what that goal is.
Craft a Brand-Specific Hashtag
It’s important that your hashtag is a bit brand specific than generic. This is a great way to ensure that the campaign helps you raise brand awareness. It also prevents others from piggybacking on the success of your campaign.
Get Help from Influencers
At the start of the campaign, getting influential personalities to promote the hashtag can help to really kick it off. It helps you to exponentially grow your campaign reach and instantly bring it in front of a massive audience. This increases the chances of your campaign succeeding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hashtag campaigns effective?
When run strategically, hashtag campaigns can be an effective way to raise brand awareness, grow your reach, and drive conversions.
How do you choose a hashtag for a campaign?
Choosing a hashtag for a campaign involves using something that’s original and easy to understand. Moreover, try to make it less generic so people can’t piggyback off the success of your campaign.
How do hashtags grow audience?
Hashtags can help grow your audience if your campaign encourages your audience to use the hashtag. When more and more people use your hashtag, it brings visibility to your brand and further encourages others to participate. This contributes to better brand awareness, helping you to grow your audience.
What are some successful hashtag campaigns?
Adidas’ #HereToCreate, Apple’s #ShotoniPhone, Chipotle’s #ChipotleLidFlip, and Dove’s #ReverseSelfie are some successful hashtag campaigns.
Does my campaign need a hashtag?
While your campaign can exist without a hashtag, it helps to have one that will help tie your campaign’s content together and make it easy for people to discover your social media posts.