TikTok Hashtag Challenge: How to Boost Brand Awareness

To best define it, a branded hashtag challenge is where a brand asks users on the platform to perform certain tasks and to tag them using the requested hashtag.

TikTok has been in the mix for a couple of years, though it didn’t really start booming until 2019. Now there are influencers on the platform with a bigger following than the more established platforms. Who would have thought? 

As TikTok is now one of the most discussed platforms, brands from all industries want to snag a piece of the pie for much-needed engagement. This is also a platform known for trumping others when it comes to media engagement. Compared to Instagram, for example, TikTok has an average engagement rate of 9.38% versus Instagram’s 7.2% for users with fewer than 1,000 followers, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. As its followers rise, TikTok will likely continue to lead social media platforms in engagement. 

What is a TikTok Hashtag Challenge?

The question becomes: how does a brand successfully advertise on TikTok? The most successful way is through the TikTok hashtag challenge, a branded hashtag challenge where a brand asks users on the platform to perform tasks and to tag them using the requested hashtag. Followers will use the challenge and its link to the brand; the brand can measure success by analyzing how the hashtag is used. 

Other social media platforms allow hashtags, but we’ll show you why your brand should get involved with TikTok’s hashtags, as well as the best practices other brands have used to be successful using the hashtag challenge. 

4 Reasons Why Brands Should Partake 

Aside from engagement being a huge factor in the social media space, there are several other benefits that TikTok has, which provide genuine results. With that being said, it’s certainly not cheap to launch a branded Hashtag Challenge, so take a look at TikTok’s ad costs before planning your campaign. The following is a few of the wins marketers seek in their strategies: 

1. Increased Conversion

This is arguably the most beneficial part of a marketing campaign. Without conversions or sales, there is no success in business. When viewership and engagement increase, larger conversion rates are likely to follow.  

2. Genuine Marketing

Brands are not the only entities using the hashtag trend. Familiar faces such as influencers and upcoming content creators are also executing these campaigns. And unlike many company brands, they can use creative ability in a way that suits them. 

3. Videos Play Automatically

Unlike other platforms, marketers don’t have to wait to see if a user will click on a video. It starts automatically when you scroll, which increases opportunities for the user to become engaged with the content. 

4. Ability to Reach New Markets

TikTok has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times, so each video is an opportunity for exposure to millions of views from across the world. This is an effective and inexpensive way to reach new target markets while retaining the current one.  

5 Hashtag Challenge Best Practices 

There is no secret sauce to the hashtag challenge, but there are a few strategic elements that could help your brand reach new heights. When a brand decides to incorporate the hashtag challenge, these are a few additions your brand should consider including in its strategy: 

1. Set Clear Rules

With a hashtag challenge, the creativity is largely left up to the creator. That doesn’t mean everything goes, however. Be sure to include guidelines that support creators with topics that are welcomed, or elements that are appropriate for the brand or platform. 

2. Align with Influencers

If brands are reaching out to influencers through TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, these influencers should align with the brand exclusively. Otherwise, this could seem confusing and ingenuine to the viewer. If a user is always telling viewers how much they love Starbucks, but then they launch a challenge with Dunkin’, it becomes obvious their only real interest was a paycheck and they don’t really support either.  

3. Promote the Challenge

Though a hashtag challenge is already promoting the brand, you should also put effort into promoting the promotion itself. This increases the chance that the campaign will obtain the desired exposure, engagement, and/or sales. 

4. Make the Challenge Original to your Brand

Brands that have been successful are the ones who make sure their challenge has an original element that makes users think of the brand as a result of the challenge. Commit to researching how the brand can stand out from its competition, and bring customers to make the ultimate purchasing decision.   

5. Gain Inspiration from Others

It is important for brands advertising on TikTok to be original, but it’s also a great idea to see how others have been successful and learn from it. Taking notes on the actions and the reactions of your competition’s followers could help with the development of a new challenge. Take a look at these top TikTok ad examples for inspiration.

Successful Hashtag Challenge Campaigns

When brands follow the featured strategies like the above, they can often find success in whichever TikTok hashtag challenge they use. These are some of the brands that were able to strategically use hashtags effectively in challenges.  

  • Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile 
  • Pepsi’s #PepsiCanBalance 
  • Guess’ #InMyDenim 
  • Aerie’s #AerieRealPositive 
  • Chipotle’s #GuacDance 

Each of these brand’s established their challenges within the names of the hashtags. Some were able to incorporate their brand names, and all were able to produce an action in the challenge that became interesting and fun for users. As seen, brands from all different industries such as fashion, food, and even dental care can participate in hashtag challenges to create engagement.  

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