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How to Win at Hashtags This Holiday Season

Hashtags are everywhere across social media, and with good reason: Researcher Dan Zarella found that tweets containing one or more hashtags were 55 percent more likely to receive retweets than those without hashtags. For business, this means wider exposure, more brand familiarity and a greater ROI. This holiday season, integrate hashtags into social content, holiday deals

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and seasonal promotions to grow your brand and your bottom line.

When to use hashtags

Seasonal events naturally lend themselves to hashtags because they create a spike in conversation around the topic, Twitter notes. From Thanksgiving (or this year’s Thanksgivukkah) to Christmas, the holidays are a time when people reconnect with friends and family, strategize about gifts, have holiday parties and meals, and increase their activity on social media. Likewise, cultural events, including sports playoffs and awards shows, increase the dialogue around current events and lend themselves to promotions. For holiday seasons and cultural events, stick with commonly used event hashtags, such as #Thanksgiving, #SuperBowl and #Christmas instead of making up your own variations. You’ll have more content views by doing so.

Try hashtags for promotions, including sweepstakes, discounts, free shipping offers, BOGO, giveaways, photo contests and action-driven contests. For these events, brand-specific or product-specific hashtags make sense to take advantage of buzz and grow your brand reach.

Companies like Macy’s have Black Friday headquarters pages on their websites, where consumers can browse discounted products, learn about upcoming promotions and get excited to shop. Consider adopting a similar strategy this holiday season. With all of these promotions and giveaways, make a master list of campaigns you’re running, and their hashtags. Advertise all of them on your website or in your social media accounts.

How to use hashtags

Consider the following strategies for using hashtags successfully:

  • Create a custom hashtag for photo contents — Cookie giant Oreo launched an Instagram photo contest that pitted cookie fans against cream fans. In just three days of #cookiethis or #cremethis photos, Oreo gained 85,000 Instagram followers.
  • Create a custom hashtag for “pin to win” contests — Sephora recently concluded a Pinterest “Pin It to Win It” contest that required a custom hashtag. The user has to pin her favorite product and use the hashtag for automatic entry into the giveaway.
  • Advertise holiday deals with sales-specific hashtags — Hashtags like #bogo, #blackfriday, #cybermondaydeals or #save20percent, #coupon and #deal appeal to shoppers looking to save. As you run holiday promotions, use sales-specific hashtags to widen your audience. Since these hashtags are specific, vary your usage or combine multiple hashtags per post to attract the most viewers.
  • Integrate brand hashtags into all content — OnSharp recommends promoting any commonly used brand-specific hashtags through online channels to help increase customer awareness and generate buzz. Include your hashtags in seasonal greeting cards, email newsletters, print marketing materials, blog posts, web content and other areas to enforce consistency and create community.
  • Track success with analytics — Running analytics on your social media helps you see exactly how viewers found your content. Some hashtags that
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    seem like a great idea may not work, while others can work very well. Refine your social media approach with analytics to enjoy greater success.