The usefulness of hashtags has not gone unrecognised. Whether you are a brand or an influencer, hashtags are key to a successful strategy. The #ShareBlackStories hashtag returned for its second iteration this year during Black History Month, which was intended to help Instagram audiences engage with Black art, culture, and history in a contemporary manner.
So far, the adoption of the hashtag has been remarkable. It has garnered more than 34,000 posts on Instagram and an audience of 717 Million people.
In this article, I will be (1) analysing whether this hashtag managed to reach its goal i.e. “to encourage diverse Black voices to express themselves and share their unique perspectives” on Instagram, and (2) explaining how this strategy can also be employed by brands to amplify their own brand awareness strategies.
👀 Adoption of the Hashtag
A good hashtag is one that is positively adopted. Here are some simple ways to tell if your hashtag has been successful:
1 – The posts that contain the hashtag record a very high number of impressions or reach.
Unless you are subscribed to an analytics platform which gives you access to hashtag adoption statistics, the best way to gauge how well your hashtag is doing is to monitor the statistics on your own post.
The higher this number is, the more exposure your hashtag is getting. Click here to learn more about how to read and understand Instagram Post Insights.
2 – Celebrities or macro influencers use your hashtag.
Billy Porter’s tribute to Black History Month and his Emmy win for his lead role as Pray Tell on POSE charted an Engagement Rate of 5.35%, which is double the average engagement rate for celebrity influencers in the US.
Here is his post:
3 – It appears on (or at least near) the top when you search for it under ‘Tags’ in Instagram’s search bar.
This means that amongst all the hashtags that contain those keywords, yours is trending the most. What’s even more significant is that the majority of the posts under the hashtag are directly related to the tag, as opposed to spam / miscellaneous content.
4 – There is a clear peak in adoption.
This is what happens to viral content. The hashtag picked up very obviously in February (owing to Black History Month), but we can see from the chart below how it continued into March. We’re only in the first week and already the hashtag has an audience of more than 11 Million.
How did they achieve this? Read onto the next section to find out.
💡 LOVE WATTS x #ShareBlackStories
It’s important to acknowledge that your hashtag will not go viral without a precedent. A brand collaboration, a sponsored post by a macro influencer / bunch of micro influencers, or a brand-related event is necessary to get the word out.
In order to maximise exposure for #ShareBlackStories, Instagram collaborated with @love.watts and held an event at the Watts Empowerment Centre, featuring the visionaries behind Netflix’s Strong Black Lead. By hosting an event so central to Black History, and using the hashtag as both a draw to the event as well as a tool to spread awareness, #ShareBlackStories was able to go viral and sustain a real impact.
The LOVE WATTS official Instagram account has also used the hashtag multiple times, which further exposes it to all their 1.9 Million followers. Getting key figures or accounts on Instagram to use your hashtag can really give it that necessary thrust forward.
📢 Amplifying Black Voices
Apart from Billy Porter, there was a great deal of content accumulated under the hashtag that paid tribute to black-ness, in one way or another. Take a look at some of them below:
1 – Shea Moisture, a haircare company founded by two Liberian women
2 – BOTWC, a Black history & excellence site
3 – Ashlee Marie Preston, from Strong Black Lead
4 – Therapy for Black Girls, mental health resources for black girls
…and so many more.
🎯 Hashtags for Brands
In summary, how can brands emulate what Instagram did with #ShareBlackStories?
- Host an event or spotlight a collaboration with a macro influencer that can serve as a ‘hashtag announcement’ and what it signifies — for brands this could be a capsule collection, the launch of a new product, a seasonal giveaway etc.
- Work with micro and nano influencers to use the hashtag in their posts and stories for maximum exposure.
- Ensure that your hashtag isn’t too generic and therefore doesn’t accumulate spam content.
- Repost organic content from other accounts that have used your hashtag to incentivise further adoption.
In line with sharing black stories and achievements, check out our other related articles: Top 10 Black Beauty Influencers and 4 Inspirational Black Influencers on Film and Instagram.
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