Top 10 Hashtag Campaigns of 2018 (So Far)

When Chris Messina first suggested hashtag use in 2007, social media executives deemed the idea too “nerdy” to work on a mass level. Spoiler alert: they were wrong! Hashtags are now an integral part of social media platforms and an indispensable tool for brand marketers.

Why? Because producing great content only matters if people can find it. With 95 million new photos and videos posted on Instagram every day – let alone other popular networks like Twitter and Facebook –visibility is not guaranteed. Fortunately, hashtags serve as an indexing system to make your brand’s valuable content more easily discoverable.

By categorizing each post with a keyword or phrase, users are able to come together around an organization, product, event, or even a feeling. As Messina says, “The tags that trend or appear popular in search results drive participation, awareness, and, as a consequence, shape the contents of millions of people’s thoughts,” so it’s important to get it right.

Here are ten hashtag campaigns that rocked the Internet in 2018.

1. #FamilyGreatly (Kraft)

Usually, Super Bowl commercials feature celebrities, with film shoots and editing completed weeks in advance. This year, Kraft Foods took a DIY approach, crowd-sourcing content from fans themselves. “Why just watch the commercials when you could be in one,” the brand tweeted.

A handful of social media influencers began spreading the word a few days before the big event. On Super Bowl Sunday, fans would simply need to upload a photo or video showing “how you family” with the hashtag #FamilyGreatly or #KraftEntry. The brand would then select entries from Twitter and Instagram, quickly prepping a 30-second ad to air during the game’s second half.

Kraft’s brand messaging centers on the idea that parents don’t have to be perfect to be great, so a rough, on-the-fly commercial from the brand itself is a brilliant match in tone!

2. #StacheForCharity (Guinness)

Over St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness invited social media followers to raise a glass to good beer and friendship. For every fan posting a “self-grown and groomed, drawn-on, or Guinness-enhanced” mustache with the hashtag #StacheForCharity, the brewer donated $1(up to $100,000) to the Guinness Gives Back Fund.

“We are proud to be part of such an enduring tradition that celebrates Irish heritage and, when it comes down to it, the power of friendship,” a company statement read. “The Guinness ‘Stache is a great way to bring that to life in a fun way for a great cause.” If only giving back to the community was always this easy.

3. #SkyMilesLife (Delta)

Delta Air Lines reached new heights this spring. In launching the first Instagram-fueled travel engine, the company enables visitors to explore thousands of destinations through the eyes of other travelers. Search for a location, things to do, or type of vacation, and see a stunning gallery of user-generated content. A quick click on a photo, and consumers can learn more about the destination and easily book a flight to the nearest airport.

While most submissions are pulled in through the #SkyMilesLife hashtag, Delta also encourages travelers to share photos directly on the website, making this one of the smoothest lifestyle e-commerce experiences on the Internet.

4. #WhyWeWearBlack and #TimesUp (Golden Globe Awards)

In the wake of Hollywood scandal, guests of the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards arrived in black – a symbol of solidarity with the discrimination and sexual harassment many women in the entertainment industry experience. A-list actors and actresses set social media ablaze in the hours leading up to the event, asking followers to wear black in solidarity and share stories and pictures using the #WhyWeWearBlack and #TimesUp hashtags. The campaign followed closely on the heels of the #MeToo movement, which went viral in 2017.

Millions joined the cause, making this one of the most powerful conversations to take place on social media.

5. #InItTogether (LinkedIn)

Traditionally used for professional networking, LinkedIn is one of the newest social media sites to adopt hashtag capabilities. But instead of bragging about its latest, greatest features, LinkedIn put the spotlight on users by asking, “What are you in it for?” As members shared what motivates their work, LinkedIn listened and learned. The #InItTogether marketing campaign then showcased how the company fits into the lives of real people around the globe – not just white-collar businessmen, as is the LinkedIn stereotype, but also teachers, chefs, cowboys, musicians, and even a mixed-martial-arts fighter.

Whether featured in ad copy or not, LinkedIn members appreciated the invitation to tell their stories and to share and connect with others across social platforms. As a result, the hashtag campaign not only builds loyalty among members (thanks to its inclusiveness) but also boosts LinkedIn’s credibility as an evolving brand.

6. #BeyondFiveStars (Uber)

At founding, Uber set out to change the way consumers think about transportation, inviting users to meet people, and be a person. The brand’s attentiveness to humanity carried over into this year’s #BeyondFiveStars campaign. Uber simply encouraged riders to share a compliment with drivers who go the extra mile and post stories of exceptional service online. The result is contagious enthusiasm. These personal testimonials present Uber not just as a quick way to get around town, but as a way to add joy to the journey.

7. #HereToCreate (Adidas)

Nearly 30,000 runners participated in the Boston Marathon, and, hey, no sweat, Adidas produced a customized video for each athlete within hours. Using data from RFID-enabled race bibs and video captured by a 20-person crew, the legendary footwear brand wove together the story of each runner’s performance with scenes from the course.

With hours of reaching the finish line, athletes could access personalized footage on an Adidas microsite. By incorporating social sharing links, Adidas empowered runners to easily post their videos to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – with the #HereToCreate hashtag, of course. Lining up 30,000 brand ambassadors in a day? Impressive move.

8. #TeamVisa (Visa)

Branded as the official payment technology of the Olympic Games, Visa also sponsors a global line-up of athletes through its Team Visa program. During the 2018 Winter Games, the company maximized digital exposure by posting stories of #TeamVisa athletes along with trending hashtags like #PyeongChang2018.

Jumping in on a trending topic takes great care, but Visa found a natural fit with current events.Plus, since featured athletes also shared the posts to their own followers, Visa earned a huge social footprint.

9. #JetBluePieInTheSky (JetBlue)

Pizza delivery went transcontinental with JetBlue’s “Pie in the Sky” marketing campaign. The three-day program allowed Los Angeles residents to order legendary New York style pizza and track flight-delivery online. Pizzas sold out within seconds each day, but celebrity influencer Spike Lee helped generate further buzz with a promo video detailing proper pizza eating technique.

In the end, the brand’s “Pie in the Sky” idea became reality, earning more than 567 million impressions and 6,000 social shares within the month, plus 105,000 visits to the microsite over the campaign’s most active three days.

10. #IHOb (International House of Pancakes)

IHOP is known for being in the breakfast business, so when the brand tweeted a name change to IHOB, pancake enthusiasts went berserk. Behind the scenes, the plan was just to get people talking about the restaurant’s new line of burgers, but first, the company invited frenzied speculation on what that “b” might mean. There were 1.8 million mentions of IHOB on Twitter, 86,000 tweets per hour at the peak, and, AdAge reports that, “In the U.S., the chain held the No. 1 spot (IHOP), No. 2 (IHOB) and No. 4 (International House).”

The company eventually let customers in on the joke, announcing the switcheroo was simply a marketing ploy to draw attention to other menu offerings. And while IHOP quickly resumed its regular moniker, the social media universe is still reeling from its wild ride.

Done right, hashtag campaigns can generate buzz, and increase visibility of content.

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 7-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!

Join the world's most sophisticated social marketers

Ready to unlock your fan content? Get a demo of TwineSocial.