Twitter users love hashtags. Studies have shown that user engagement with a tweet doubles when it includes a hashtag, which isn’t surprising. After all, hashtags give Twitter users an easy way to participate in large discussions and connect with people who share their interests. Companies around the world have taken notice of this and used hashtags to promote their products. However, most hashtags fail to become popular with Twitter users on a large scale because they lack the right combination of actionability, uniqueness, humor and emotional connection. When designing your next Twitter hashtag campaign, take a look at these five hashtag marketing campaigns that worked and see what you can learn from them.
1. #IceBucketChallenge (ALS Association)
In 2014, this simple promotional gimmick became a worldwide phenomenon, resulting in over $100 million in donations for the ALS Association. The premise of the Ice Bucket Challenge was simple: if a person was challenged, he would be given one day to either make a donation to the ALS Association or dump a bucket of icy water on his head. People who took the Ice Bucket Challenge were encouraged to upload their videos to social media using the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge, resulting in more than two million Twitter mentions.
Would you send a tweet for a chance to win $1.5 million? So would about two million other people. In 2014, Esurance ran a commercial immediately following the Super Bowl in which they offered viewers a chance to win the prize if they sent a tweet using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30 within the next 36 hours. Many people jumped at the chance and Esurance grew its follower base on Twitter by more than 1,000 percent. The Esurance hashtag campaign was an enormous success not only because of the $1.5 million prize, but also because entering the contest required only a moment’s effort.
3.#40dollars (The White House)
At the end of 2011, a heated debate took place across party lines in the United States Congress. A Social Security tax cut, which had been enacted in 2010, was scheduled to end. This would reduce the post-tax income for an average family by about $40 per paycheck. The Obama administration, in favor of extending the tax cut for another year, took the fight to social media and asked citizens to tweet about what that money would mean for them using the hashtag #40dollars. The campaign created a strong emotional connection among Twitter users, generating over 17,000 responses. In the end, the tax cut was extended.
4.#LIVEPHARMANEX (Nu Skin)
— Nu Skin, NA (@NuSkinNA) August 3, 2014
When you begin a new workout or supplement regimen, sharing the results online is one of the best ways to keep your motivation level high. Companies that manufacture supplements love this as well, because testimonials from customers prove that the supplements produce results. In 2014, Nu Skin encouraged its customers to share photos of their active lifestyles using the hashtag #LIVEPHARMANEX, awarding prizes randomly to people who participated.
5.#FairTweets (Ben and Jerry’s)
One of the key characteristics of many successful Twitter hashtag campaigns is that they require minimal effort in order to participate. Ben and Jerry’s took advantage of this in 2011, creating a mini-site on the Web that people could use to donate the unused characters in their tweets to promote awareness of World Fair Trade Day. When users visited the mini-site to send tweets, the site would automatically append the hashtag #FairTweets and a short message supporting fair trade. In all, the campaign inspired Twitter users to donate more than 520,000 unused characters toward awareness of fair trade.