The use of hashtags as a political branding strategy / El uso de los hashtags como una estrategia de marca política

Lluís Mas Manchón, Frederic Guerrero-Solé



Political brands are using Twitter intensively during campaigns. The objective of this study is twofold: to build a theoretical framework to pose that the use of hashtags can be a brand strategy; and to analyze how political brands are effectively using hashtags. First, drawing on the social identity approach, this article argues that brands are becoming social identities enacted through horizontal user-to-user relationships. Second, a sample of a million tweets from the last two Spanish elections in 2015 and 2016 is collected to analyze the type of hashtags posted by politicians and the networks of interaction. Results show that political brands mainly used three types of hashtags: party, candidate and branded hashtags; and mainly interacted with their own hashtags. This can be considered as a traditional brand identity strategy. However, a brand community strategy would be more aligned with the horizontal and top-down nature of social networking sites as well as with today’s all-encompassing political debate. Political brands should foster a co-creative brand identity process to build more effectively the organization’s meaningful values.

Keywords: political brands, hashtags, brand community, social identity, Spanish elections


Las marcas políticas están usando Twitter intensivamente durante las campañas. El objetivo de este estudio es doble: diseñar un marco teórico para plantear que el uso de hashtags puede responder a una estrategia de marca; y analizar cómo las marcas políticas están utilizando efectivamente los hashtags. En primer lugar, basándose en el enfoque de identidad social, este artículo sostiene que las marcas se están convirtiendo en identidades sociales promulgadas a través de las relaciones horizontales usuario-usuario. En segundo lugar, se recoge una muestra de un millón de tweets de las últimas dos elecciones españolas en 2015 y 2016 para analizar el tipo de hashtags publicados por los políticos y las redes sociales. Los resultados muestran que las marcas políticas utilizaron principalmente tres tipos de hashtags: hashtags del partido, de candidato y de la marca; y principalmente, interactuaron con sus propios hashtags. Esto puede ser considerado como una estrategia tradicional de identidad de marca. Sin embargo, una estrategia de comunidad de marca estaría más alineada con la naturaleza horizontal y descendente de las redes sociales, así como con el debate político que hoy en día lo abarca todo. Las marcas políticas deben fomentar un proceso de identidad de marca co-creativa para construir eficazmente los valores más significativos de la organización.

Palabras clave: marcas políticas, hashtags, comunidad de marca, identidad social, elecciones españolas.


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