Hashtag campaigns can go viral quickly if enough social media users jump on the bandwagon. When brands are able to come up with a hashtag that captures the interest of audiences on social media platforms, the results can be phenomenal for their marketing. However, not just any old hashtag is going to produce these kinds of outcomes.
To learn about the best hashtag campaigns of 2021, check out the examples members of Forbes Agency Council share below. These campaigns generated real interest and captured so much attention that the organizations behind them were able to sit back and watch as legions of followers and fans spread their message for them. See how they did it to inspire the freshest and most captivating hashtags for any social media marketing campaign.
Peloton’s #TogetherWeGoFar is, in my opinion, the best hashtag campaign. The hashtag encompasses the vision, value, mission and the “why” for the digital fitness company and its members. It is a part of any campaign the company does and is supported by initiatives that translate this insight into action: members supporting each other, the company supporting the community, and both the company and the community, together, supporting charities and causes. – Hamutal Schieber, Schieber Research
#MeToo became a movement. Though not a brand campaign, #MeToo became a social movement against sexual abuse and harassment, and it offers many insights on what defines effectiveness. It broke through silence and gave people a voice (including many influencers and celebrities). It is personal. The hashtag is simple, short and the name of the movement, and it translated well into dozens of other languages. – Jim Heininger, Dixon|James – Rebranding Experts
#RebuildTheWorld reemphasizes Lego’s mission to “inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.” Lego’s utilization of branded content is especially meaningful in a year filled with uncertainty. The brand has inspired creativity throughout the campaign, and it also promotes inclusivity and unity with product lines such as “Braille Bricks” that are designed to help children learn Braille through play. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
Tim Hortons’ annual #SmileCookie campaign saw great success, with the coffee chain raising millions of dollars for hundreds of local charities. Aside from the feel-good factor that comes from charitable campaigns, this hashtag did well because it perfectly taps into consumers’ desires to embrace the local community, presenting the company as a brand that understands its customers and one that supports its local neighborhoods. – Lisa Montenegro, Digital Marketing Experts – DMX
Working with healthcare and health IT clients, the most impactful use of a hashtag I have seen is #PhysicianBurnout. Never before has clinician mental health been more important: More than a third of physicians and other healthcare workers have experienced burnout due to the pandemic and administrative burdens. It’s important to use hashtags not only to create media buzz but also to generate real awareness of important issues. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications
One campaign that comes to mind was #WombStories by Bodyform, purely for its ability to make people notice. Given the noise in the market on every topic, brands are struggling to make a mark. But Bodyform did it creatively and impactfully. People either loved it or hated it, but they were definitely not apathetic. And unlike getting responses from trolls, it got some powerful and genuine reactions from the audience. – Rohit Kumar, Zensciences
Uber’s #BeyondFiveStars campaign was an impressive one. The company leveraged its brand awareness while recognizing exceptionally performing employees. Very smartly, Uber motivated its drivers to do their best in the hope of getting featured in these posts by the customers. Not only did this manage to improve its service, but it also got the target audience to understand how good the drivers were! – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team
I love seeing brands connecting with people on a deeper, more emotional and personal level these days, and I have to give congrats to Aerie’s #AerieREAL campaign. The company not only executed a smart campaign but also went viral by integrating the right celebrities and social media influencers across all platforms (mixed in with music) to generate solid content and promotion for the brand. – Zack Teperman, ZTPR
The #AdultSwimChallenge on TikTok is not a branded campaign, but it organically got TikTokers to make their own versions of Adult Swim’s station identifications (ads). The community latched on to the simple style and dry humor Adult Swim uses in its identifications. Everyone wanted to participate. And it cost the brand zero dollars and paid billions in brand love. – Libby Brockhoff, Odysseus Arms
The #KnowOCD campaign by NOCD is a great example of a hashtag that plays on the name of the brand behind the message. This campaign’s deployment was strategic, as the brand timed it to line up with Mental Health Awareness Month. The hashtag acknowledges one the most common barriers to treating mental health, which in turn brings attention to NOCD from one of its largest target audiences. – Tellef Lundevall, Accelerated Digital Media
With the rise in popularity of the fried chicken sandwich, KFC’s usage of #NationalFriedChickenDay this year was a clever one. Hashtags create brand awareness and make it easy for users to engage with your content. Plus, national days are likely to trend nationally on Twitter. This was the right place and right time for this campaign. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing
My favorite hashtag of 2021 was #LetsDoLunch by Domino’s Pizza. This campaign attracted thousands of people on Twitter because users got a discount on their next pizza when they used the hashtag in their tweets. It got customers involved with the brand, increased the company’s presence on social media and was a unique promotional giveaway. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
Successful hashtag campaigns focus on both the messaging and those who are participating. Campaigns that are easy for anyone to participate in yield the best results. The media kit for #HispanicHeritageMonth in 2021 offers content tailored to businesses, organizations and individuals who want to participate. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design