Consumers Respond To #Hashtags, Not @Handles

Markters are still navigating how to best use social media to connect with consumers, and as it turns out, hashtags are more effective than handles. 

Within the conversation space for U.S. retail brands, there is a massive preference among consumers to use hashtags when discussing fashion. According to Digimind’s newly released Retail Industry Report, 96% of total U.S. retail brand mentions on social are from consumers using a brand’s hashtag, over their handle at 4%. Among global brands, the distribution was similar: 91% of posts included brand hashtags, while only 9% directly tagged brand handles.

The research also revealed that brands should actively monitor social media and shouldn’t assume that consumers will tag them if they’re happy, upset or simply have something to share.



For brands, exclusively measuring customer feedback and public perceptions through direct tags and mentions is not only inefficient, but ineffective. For a more complete understanding of how consumers are discussing products, brands must engage with consumers using compelling hashtags that resonate with their target audience. 

For example, West Elm asks its customers to use #mywestelm to share how they’re incorporating the brand into their home, offering consumers a way to engage/provide feedback and express their style at the same time.

The study assessed global market trends as well as user conversations or interactions with U.S. and Canadian women’s fashion companies on social media from March 17, 2018 to March 31. These brands were broken down by global and North American focus. Global brands were H&M, Mango, Toyshop, Uniqlo and Zara while regional brands were Anthropologie, Express, Gap, Loft and J. Crew.

Rather than sticking to a simply comparison analysis of these brands, this report highlights the trends among women’s fashion brands based on social media conversations across Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. These trends include crisis communications for fast fashion, corporate social responsibility and integrating influencers across marketing campaigns.

Share of voice within the conversation space for women’s fashion was fairly evenly distributed, with Gap taking a 28% majority at 6,683 mentions followed by Express, J. Crew, Anthropologie and, lastly, Loft. 

An analysis of top trending topics highlighted the rising popularity of social marketplaces like Poshmark — an online shop and social networking site where users can buy and sell clothes and connect with others with similar fashion senses. #Shopmycloset, a hashtag popularized by social marketplaces like Poshmark is used among users to promote their styles and has been adopted by many fashion influencers and bloggers. 

This rising trend in encouraging a circular economy within the fashion industry became more clear with subsequent analysis of consumer perceptions regarding the fast fashion industry and related sustainability concerns, according to the report.

Through social media listening, brands can identify additional trends that pop up post-purchase. The perfect example of this for women’s retail is the rise of circular economies with Poshmark. With an insight-driven marketing approach, social listening and analysis is a powerful tool for fashion brands to head in a highly competitive, consumer-driven industry, according to the report. 

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