Insights
Establishing Brand Image by Using Hashtag

Recently, an article was forwarded repeatedly on social networking websites, and its contents were about the huge impact on the public caused by the service suspension of social networking app Instagram. Despite the exaggeration contained within the article, it humorously reflected the true reality, i.e. the public is becoming increasingly attached to social media.

 

In mid-April, Instagram suspended its service for three hours around midnight, during which period many users around the globe complained incessantly on Twitter and microblogs. In the age of "Feeding the Mobile Phone First" before dining, some netizens said that during the period of Instagram service suspension, there was no way to upload and share meal photos, causing a great deal of upset. Some netizens in Mainland China even worried that if Weibo and Taobao also suspended their services, life would become indeed very boring.

 

Judging from the netizens’ comments, we may infer that changes in the public's life habits have forced social networking and even daily life to depend on different social networking apps.

 

Today Twitter, Weibo and Facebook all have hashtag functions, which can help netizens easily find the hot topics the public are discussing or monitoring. The use of the Hashtag is very simple; you only need to add any key word after the “#”, and the key word will become a hyperlink. Even if netizens don't know each another, they can find others with common interests through this function. Social media no longer just consists of familiar friends. Topics or incidents of public concern become tools to attract wider attention, thus the usage of hashtag has developed a new life attitude.

 

Many brands discovered this opportunity, and formulated promotional strategies using Hashtag to combine themselves with the social life of the public. For instance, when one uses Hashtag to mark a brand slogan and friends do so concurrently on social media, directly spreading the info, one will be rewarded with gifts or prize-draw opportunities. Some sports brands have used Hashtag as a slogan on different printing and online advertising. By taking advantage of celebrity association, they invited them to use a Hashtag on social media, and in this way triggered topics encouraging the public to spread the promotional information. This successfully created a new wave of interest, and led to the "screen removing" phenomenon. This strategy successfully established the brand's image as an industry leader, and successfully increased the social trend of jogging. It also prompted the brand to continually expand followers by following a strategy dominated by social media, enabling a wide engagement on the promotional and brand information.

 

Since social media and the public are so closely associated with each other, any promotional strategy may lead to positive and negative responses. The brand itself also needs to take notice of the opinions of any netizens, and promptly gives response to enquiries and complaints. Only in this way can it avoid wanton dissemination of negative info, but instead effectively establish and maintain the relations between the brand and customers, enhance brand image and increase exposure rate.

 

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