The Royal Bank Of Canada and its Hashtag #someday

hashtagThe best way for big brands to communicate with their existing customers and with potential new customers is via social media. The dilemma for big brands is that social media are all about individuals connecting with other individuals.

The Royal Bank of Canada had the idea of connecting with people by asking them to express what they hoped to do someday. There are a number of social media they might have used.  Let’s examine their possible choices and review how well they did in practice.

Big brands and social media

The only effective way for a big brand to connect with individuals is to create some online page that individuals wish to share with their friends.  The most popular social media is Facebook and it is possible to create a company page. Unfortunately such pages are not very visible in Facebook unless you promote them by paying out cash to Facebook. The Royal Bank was probably correct in not pursuing this option.

Big brands and YouTube

In some ways, YouTube offers the best opportunity for a big brand that wants to spread a message. Professional videos are expensive but they are the best way to create something which has the possibility of going viral. In other words people may share these videos with their friends if they are sufficiently intriguing. One of the most recent  successful examples of this approach is the WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving video.  At this time, this has received 36,393,595 views.  If you have not seen this video already, you can check it out here:

Unfortunately on YouTube there is already a video by The Strokes titled Someday.  It has received 12,161,956 views.  That is formidable competition for that keyword, someday, so the Royal Bank was undoubtedly correct in not trying to create a video that would hopefully go viral.

Working with Twitter

The only other social media that has a huge audience is Twitter. Unfortunately any Twitter user sees a fast-moving river of messages from a large number of other users that they may be following. It is very difficult to become visible in such a flood. The best one can do is to use a keyword that people might search for in Twitter. This is where hashtags can be very effective. You create a hashtag by choosing your keyword and adding # at the front. The Royal Bank therefore decided to go with the following hashtag, #someday.  They encouraged users to follow @rbc_canada on Twitter and to write a Tweet that would set out their #someday Wish.

rbc someday As encouragement, they might win a $100 Visa gift card in an online contest (pdf).

Using hashtags on Twitter

Although hashtags seem to be very straightforward it is important to Use Hashtags Effectively to gain the Greatest Branding Benefits.  This involves the following seven steps.

  1. Research Appropriate Tags
  2. Find Related Tags
  3. Check The Spelling
  4. Ensure You Don’t Piggy Bank On Other Campaigns
  5. Test Your Hashtags
  6. Start Hashtagging
  7. Track Your Own Results
This is where the Royal Bank may not have put insufficient effort. Step 4 is critical in ensuring that your efforts will stand out from the crowd. Someday is a very widely used keyword. Many of the tweets that use that hashtag such as the following relates to the video by BLD titled Some Day on YouTube, which has received 26,883 views.

#someday videoIf the Royal Bank had hoped to be visible on Twitter, they may well be very disappointed at being lost in the crowd.

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