How Branded Hashtags on TikTok could be a Marketing Game Changer

TikTok is slowly changing the digital marketing game as a platform with high reach and extremely well executed audience targeting – the sky really is the limit. With over 300 BILLION worldwide downloads, this app could be the key to marketing your business in 2022, and…it could cost you $0.

Have you ever heard of Branded Hashtag Challenges?

They’re a TikTok phenomenon and could help launch your business into the TikTok market, and the best part is this tactic relies solely on user-generated content. You don’t need to show your face or convince your employees to act because your audience will do it for you.

What is a Branded Hashtag Challenge?

Using hashtags on TikTok is very similar to how they’re utilized on Instagram — they help users find content and communities they’re interested in and can increase your post’s visibility. 

TikTok hashtags get put to work when utilized for challenges. These challenges utilize a unique hashtag to prompt users to “join in” by executing a specific action and posting their content using the hashtag.

These challenges can include recreating a viral video, executing a popular dance routine, showing off a secret talent, or sharing a personal story. Whatever the challenge, the bottom line is to have fun.

When brands sponsor hashtags, they then become Branded Hashtag Challenges. These can be an incredibly effective way to boost awareness, drive engagement, and build a bigger fanbase for your brand.

Why are Branded Hashtag Challenges Working?

It’s simple. Instead of speaking at your audience by serving up traditional ads, you’re enabling them to express themselves and engage with your brand. It effectively switches audiences from passive to active participants in your marketing.

User-generated content can be some of the most captivating and compelling marketing tools which can transform users to brand partners in the span of a 30-second video. The beauty of this platform is you no longer have to attempt to understand your users’ and create content that speaks to them– because they will create it for you.

Since TikTok is primarily based on remixing sounds and actions, you give users the ability to create freely without feeling the pressure of coming up with a completely original concept. This results in a 17.5% median engagement rate on Branded Hashtag Challenges.

How To Properly Execute a Branded Hashtag Challenge?

You need to be able to provide direction without stifling creativity. 

People think that branded content needs to be highly branded, and that’s just not the case when it comes to Branded Hashtag Challenges.

While your challenge should have a clear connection to your brand (whether that be your product or your purpose as a business), you don’t need to centre the actions of the challenge around those things.

Think of the challenge from the perspective of your consumer. What would they relate to? What would they enjoy doing? What would they share with their friends?

When creating your parameters with these questions in mind, you can avoid launching a challenge that gains zero traction.

Some examples of successful Branded Hashtag Challenges include:

1. #DoTheScottsSlide

This challenge was sponsored by Scott’s lawncare and encouraged users to perform a specific dance move seen during their Super Bowl commercial on their lawns to enter a sweepstakes competition. 

Key Aspects:

  • Specific & Recognizable Action
  • Specific Location
  • Opportunity for Prizes
  • Clear connection to the requirements & the brand

Results:

  • Over 2 billion video views in just two days
  • 1.4 million user videos created
  • 19% engagement rate

2. #LiveYourFreedom

Doritos sponsored a campaign supporting Pride Month and invited people to celebrate and live the freedom of being who they are and want to be. This challenge coincided with their limited edition Rainbow Doritos and communicated the company’s support for the LGBTQI+ community. The challenge asked users to duet and sing along with the Gloria Groove version of “Freedom.”

Key Aspects:

  • A clear connection to a cause that reflected brand values
  • Specific Audio
  • Opportunity for creativity and expression

Results:

  • 1.05 billion video views
  • Engagement rate of 14.4%
  • 17.3% increase in ad recall

3. #PerfectAsIAm

In launching their new fragrance “Perfect,” Marc Jacobs sponsored this challenge to ensure their message of acceptance and “perfect just as you are” reached their audience. The official challenge soundtrack was “Good As Hell” by Lizzo and was accompanied by a video of Rickey Thompson acting as a hype man spritzing video duetters with the perfume.

Key Aspects:

  • Celebrity Influence
  • Specific Audio
  • A clear connection to brand values/product messaging.

Results:

  • 10.1 billion video views
  • Massive lifts in brand awareness and ad recall

Conclusion

When utilized correctly, Branded Hashtag Challenges can garner great success for brands. By reviewing the above case studies and seeing how their challenge concepts connected to their brand, products, and audience, you can replicate their success for your business.

While your small business may not create a challenge that gets billions of video views – it could, and that’s the beauty of TikTok.

You can create a challenge that targets your ideal audience and let the users do the work.

Thanks for reading!