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CVS' branded Valentine's Day hashtag transforms unlikely products into gifts

CVS is leveraging the pull of hashtags to get Twitter users in the Valentine?s Day spirit, sharing a variety of ideas for incorporating products into consumers? gift giving. 

The drugstore chain is hoping consumers will turn to its stores for this year?s Valentine?s Day shopping and is leveraging social media to make its appeal. CVS is sharing inspiration for the holiday while also encouraging users to get in on the action with the hashtag #CVSvalentines on Twitter. 

"What many marketers may not realize is that the humble hashtag is no longer a social media phenomenon," said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. "Since Google started indexing Tweets within search results last July, the hashtag has jumped the boarders of social media and is now a cross-screen Internet phenomenon. 

"It is a strategic tool for creating, tracking and alining with conversations that people care about," he said. "Also, it is an important tool for what we at mCordis refer to as directed engagement. 

"Let's face it, it is hard to be creative all the time. If you are a brand manager and someone likes the content you are sharing, then you need to make it easier for them to share it. You can help reduce the friction by providing them with a suggested hashtag to use rather than having them have to make it up themselves or not use one at all, in which case you loose touch with the conversation."

Tweeting up engagement
Twitter is an easy connection channel for brands to connect with consumers, and CVS is leveraging the line to help shoppers think of it for Valentine?s Day products. The retailer is hoping to start a conversation through its hashtag, and has created its own tweets to get the ball rolling. 

For instance, CVS shared a tweet prompting men to think of beauty products for a gift for their significant others, tweeting ?her favorite cosmetics last longer than flowers, make her a bouquet of something thoughtful this year.? The tweet included an image of a bouquet made out of paper and Chapstick lip balm. 

Another tweet inspired parents who are looking to keep their children away from sweets this year to gift them school supply products such as stickers, pens and bubbles in place of candy. The retailer shared an image of brown bag with a valentine for Alexa and around it lay scattered products ranging from heart-shaped pencil erasers and cupcake notebooks to bubbles and valentines printed pencils and pens. 

CVS is tweeting Valentine?s related content up until the holiday to ensure maximum awareness. 

Social networking
Similarly, Super Bowl advertisers raced to release ads early on social media this year as they look beyond simply redistributing content to turning it into a key engagement strategy (see more). 

Also, ESPN?s annual sports event X Games is ramping up consumer engagement on Instagram through a campaign in which user-generated content is aggregated and a link is provided to targeted users (see more). 

"Twitter helps marketers with personal communications at scale, especially in the advocacy end of the the customer journey," Mr. Becker said. "If a brand?s message resonates with an individual it will be shared. 

"Twitter make the sharing of a message extremely easy," he said. "It has a high velocity to message sharing ratio and is a perfect media for popular events, like holidays."