Creating a successful social media hashtag campaign takes equal parts creativity, risk, and luck. This year saw its share of social media campaign winners and losers, but here we’ll focus on brands who successfully created engaging hashtag campaigns with the added bonus of boosting brand awareness.
Adidas – #ORIGINALis
Adidas started 2017 with an eye toward becoming more entrenched in the hip-hop fashion industry. Knowing that their target market of millennials spends way more time engaging with social and digital media than watching television, they embarked on an Instagram campaign using the hashtag #ORIGINALis and partnered with stars like Snoop Dogg, Desiigner, and Stormzy to promote their Originals line-up.
The Originals campaign also included a video featuring Snoop Dogg and Stormzy covering Frank Sinatra’s My Way, which won Grand Prix in Entertainment for Music at Cannes. Since its January release, the video has over 25 million views on the Adidas You Tube page.
Aligning with causes that are important their audience has proven effective for brands when done with authenticity. Airbnb chose to share a message of acceptance and connect on an emotional level with their #WeAccept campaign. The campaign featured photos and stories that highlighted and supported diversity. Airbnb also pledged to provide short-term housing over the next 5 years for 100,00 people in need and $4 million over the next 4 years to the International Rescue Committee.
Since the #WeAccept campaign was launched in February 2017 at the Super Bowl, the video has accrued nearly 5 million views. This level of engagement is an indicator that taking a stand and being purpose-driven on social media can work for brands when done right.
Influencer marketing continues to rise as an effective way to reach target audiences and build brand trust. Tarte Cosmetics sent some of their top influencers (also known as Tartlettes) on an all-expenses paid vacation to promote a product collection. The vacations were chock full of prime moments for social sharing using the #TrippinWithTarte hashtag.
This campaign served to promote Tarte products, reward Tarte digital influencers, and build community. By leveraging UGC from influencers in this way, Tarte built loyalty among some of their most vocal brand advocates while providing them with more opportunities to use the products they promote to their fans. With this campaign, Tarte expanded their reach by thousands of viewers in a relatively short amount of time.
In 2017, Heineken chose to conduct a social experiment as a means of shining a light on acceptance of people with different views. The beer company paired people with opposite political and social views for team building activities and revealed their political viewpoints at the end. The pair could then choose to share a Heineken and discuss their differences over a beer—and they all did.
#OpenYourWorld addressed a meaningful issue in a fresh and authentic way. The campaign had over 3 million views in the week after its April launch and 50,000 shares in the first month. To date, the #OpenYourWorld video has over 14 million views on YouTube.
Canadian athletic apparel maker RYU created a simple, yet effective, way to gather user-generated content from their followers through promotion of their branded hashtag, #WhatsInYourBag. They encouraged fans to share photos of what they carry in their gym bag and incentivized them with the chance to win prizes. A great example of a successful social photo contest, also leveraging Instagram Stories, RYU’s engaging campaign has generated over 32K posts and likely helped increase their follower count to over 20K.
Hashtag campaigns can serve several different purposes—often at one time. They are a great way to boost awareness by creating conversation and buzz around a topic or product. The campaigns can drive conversions by integrating shoppable content into campaigns. These campaigns also connect fans and followers so that user-generated content is easier to source and share. Brands can use these examples to create better hashtag campaigns and improve their hashtag marketing strategies.