How Using Hashtags in Your Social Media Posts Can Get You Free Ice Cream


The title of this post sounds funny, but it’s actually kind of true.

The hashtag, formerly known as the “pound sign” for us old school folks who only know it as the opposite of the star key on a corded telephone, has evolved and taken on a new identity in this age of information available at our fingertips. If you have remotely used any social media website, you’ll notice many posts contain a word or phrase preceded by the hashtag. For social media newbies, the hashtag’s purpose is to group together conversations of a common topic and make them easier to find by users.

In this case, the Howard Johnson Plaza Tampa Downtown’s use of the #CoreTour hashtag brought the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream truck to their hotel. The famous ice cream maker gave out free samples of their brand new core flavors on their nationwide promotional tour.

So how did a little ol’ hashtag do all that?

It all started with the morning Facebook browsing session by H.I. Development’s Creative Marketing Specialist, Kimberly Moore, to see what was current (or, “trending”), and if anything was worth re-sharing. She came across a post by another community page mentioning that if you were to go on Twitter and “tweet” to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Truck (@BenJerrysTruck) with your desire for the truck to visit your office but you had to include the hashtag, “#CoreTour” in the post. Ben and Jerry’s obliged and on Monday, May 12, the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck set up an appointment to visit.

This social media campaign arranged by Ben and Jerry’s is a great example of just how effective social media can be in advertising. Kimberly shared the news with all the followers on the Howard Johnson Plaza’s page, other business pages and people commented, liked and shared the post, showing it to all of their followers. She also shared the information on Twitter, where the post was “re-tweeted” and “favorited,” all creating multiple stories, or virality.

“It’s basically just a big chain reaction,” explained Kimberly. “One one person likes it, all their social media following sees it, then if someone from their following re-shares, their following sees it and so on. The more times any action is taken up on a post on a social media website, whether it be a share, a like, a comment, a favorite or a re-tweet, it’s all generating more and more exposure. I’ve noticed we’ve gained some followers in an organic fashion (non-paid advertising) due to the popularity of the Ben and Jerry’s truck paying us a visit.”

And just think, it all started with just one little “pound sign.”



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