How to combat #BlueMonday by nailing your hashtag strategy

It’s here! Blue Monday – a phrase first coined by Sky Travel in a 2005 press release –has since taken on a life of its own. Blue Monday is a day in January (usually the third Monday of the month) that is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Sky Travel claim they used an algorithm to figure this out, but the accuracy of it is debatable. What’s not debateable is the popularity of the hashtag #BlueMonday on social media.

Hashtags in content marketing

Hashtags have come a long way since their beginnings on IRCs (Internet Relay Chats – basically the first live chats) and are now used pretty much everywhere. Popular social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook all use them.

For marketers, hashtags make it easier for a relevant audience to find you. They are a good way to gain more likes, gain more followers, raise awareness of your brand and ultimately make more sales.

Hashtags for marketers can be used in several ways.

Brand hashtags can raise awareness of your business. These are usually your company name or a tagline that is unique to your company. For example, sportswear brand Nike could use #Nike or #JustDoIt.

Campaign hashtags can generate interest in your current marketing campaign in the short term. In this case, Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign, which saw the company print names on bottles and cans, encouraged consumers to ‘share a Coke with **insert name here**.

#BlueMonday is a great example of a trending hashtag. Trending hashtags are often associated with a public holiday (#Christmas), high-profile news story (#Brexit) or a hotly anticipated entertainment or sports event (#GBBOFinal).

Be on trend

Marketers can make great use of trending hashtags as they can be seen by anyone looking for that hashtag. This can extend your posts’ reach beyond your fans and followers. They’re also a great opportunity to humanise your brand, allowing you to engage with a topic to showcase your personality and sense of humour.

Biscuit brand Oreo is perhaps the master of this, utilising events such as the Super Bowl #blackout (‘Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark’) and #FashionWeek (‘Why all black? Because all white was sooooooo last week) to raise awareness of their tasty treats.

Brands have been using #BlueMonday for things like:

• Encouraging action. Why not beat the blues by starting a new hobby? Why not learn to drive? How about you book a holiday to cheer up?
• Raising awareness. Mental health charities and those that help the aged use the hashtag to let people know about their work.
• Increasing engagement. Combat the blues by sharing your images/stories/etc. with us.

Mining for ideas

Using trending hashtags can work the other way, too. Marketers can use them to inform their content. If you’re struggling for a blog topic or an article idea around a particular theme or topic, why not do a hashtag search to see what people are saying?

Think about: What questions are people asking? Can you answer them? Are the conversations positive or negative? Can you change that? Who is using the hashtag? Can you create content to target them?

Tips for using trending hashtags

  • Only engage with the hashtag if you can make it relevant to your business. Oreo can jump on lots of things because everyone likes biscuits, right? But make the link too tenuous and you will be ignored.
  • Don’t over-use a trending hashtag. You don’t want to be seen as spam.
  • Search hashtags before using them to make sure they are unique, relevant and not creating an embarrassing association, linking you with something you don’t want to be tied to.
  • Be quick to use trending hashtags because, as the name suggests, they change regularly.
  • Choose your trending hashtag wisely. To make the most impact, you want a hashtag with several thousand mentions. Several hundred is too few – you won’t reach anyone. Several million is too many – you’ll get lost in the noise.
  • Monitor trending hashtags. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Google+ display them, but there are also websites that help you find out what’s trending, too. A quick Google search is always worthwhile.

With this in mind, make your #BlueMonday a little less blue by getting your hashtag strategy on track. And make a date for your diary – the happiest day is allegedly somewhere between 18th and 24th June, or midsummer in the Northern hemisphere.