How to use hashtags with your contest or campaign

When it comes to advocacy marketing, hashtags are an effective and simple way for you to both increase customer engagement and get great stories from your community.

But before we dive into everything you need to know, you really need to watch this Jimmy Fallon sketch with Justin Timberlake about hashtags…because, it’s kind of amazing.

Alright, then. So, let’s dive into everything you need to know about using hashtags with your campaign.

1. Tips for Using Hashtags:

If you’re not up to speed on hashtags, here are a few great resources to help you get up to speed about the do’s and don’ts of hashtags. Kuno Creative has a great article, in which they share a few basic rules for brands to follow when using hashtags – you can check it out here.

Hubspot also has a great article on The Rules of Twitter Hashtags and also include 7 different examples of both positive and negative uses of hashtags.

Once you’ve got handle on that, we can start to discuss how you can get your customer advocates to use hashtags as part of you customer storytelling campaign.

2. Tie your hashtag creatively to your campaign:

In just a minute, we’ll be talking about all the ways in which you can use your hashtag to promote your campaign, but suffice it to say…there’s a lot. So, if your hashtag is going to be getting so much airtime, it’s worth the effort to make a statement with your hashtag.

It can be unique, and it can reflect your brand personality, as you can see in a few of these examples:

  • #DareToBare: Bare Snacks mission is to strip away the artificial by creating delicious, undressed snacks gone simple. When they thought of their hashtag, they thought about how to best spark an authentic dialogue with their community. Their answer – start a conversation centered around authenticity and boldness, by using the phrase #DareToBare. It’s a great tie in to their product, and very true to their community.
  • #AdvocateU: Social Chorus is a pioneer and trailblazer when it comes to advocacy marketing, as their platform makes it simple for employees to become brand ambassadors. In addition to a great platform, they provide their clients with an incredible knowledge base. So, when it came time to decide on their own hashtag, they thought about their Advocate University – or #AdvocateU. It’s simple, it short, it’s memorable, and it drives home the thought that they are in this to study and learn the best way to build an advocate marketing program.
  • #BeerResponsible: Anheuser-Busch InBev is known for their amazing beverages, but they’re also known for their commitment to keep their community safe through responsible drinking. When it came time to develop a hashtag for their campaign, they had fun with #BeerResponsible – encouraging their community to Be Responsible, but not forgetting the beer.

When you go to think of your own hashtag, think of your brand attributes, how you communicate with your community, and what your hashtag says about your relationship with your community.

3. Use your hashtag everywhere you interact with your customers:

Anytime you’re displaying stories from your customer advocates, you also have the opportunity to collect new stories from your community. So make sure that you include your hashtag wherever you display these customer stories.

One example is Mountain Hardwear, which collects amazing stories of outdoor adventure in their #FindingWinter campaign. You can see how they highlight this on one microsite associated with this campaign, so that their brand ambassadors can share their story on their site, or on a social network.

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Another great example is Bare Snacks, who added their hashtag to their product, in addition to their digital presence. It’s a great way to get more eyeballs, and ultimately more customer advocate stories.


Wherever you interact with customers, make sure to use your hashtags to drive more participation.

4. Add a page to your .com:

If you’re going to be aggregating these customer stories, another great idea is to make sure you add a community section to your .com. For Bare Snacks, their #DareToBare because – it’s a no brainer add-on to your campaign.

We hope that these spark more ideas for you about how, where, and when to use these stories.  Interested in learning more? Check out our webinar on The Science of Storytelling to learn more about how you can get started, or check out our Customer Storytelling Campaign Checklist to learn more about what you can do to get started today.