Social media campaigns fail at all times. At fault? Hashtags are all too often just an afterthought.
Hashtags are everywhere, and they are generally awful. We give lip service to how important social media is in how exactly we market, even how, as a I society, we communicate, but brands don’t walk that walk in execution.
Consider it: How often is a hashtag too much time (taking on valuable property in a 140-character environment), misspelled or easily hijacked. Companies that spend a huge amount of time and money focusing on brand voice, an excellent site environment and a calculate inbound marketing program, make a hashtag almost on the fly, to disastrous results.
Hashtag fails abound. Because they are multiple words, unseparated by spaces or punctuation, they often times undertake unintended meanings. So, when Susan Boyle’s handlers wished to combine Susan Album Party into #susanalbumparty, they foolishly thought the sniggering middle schoolers in every folks wouldn’t be attracted to the “anal bump” part — and touch upon that, with a wholesome amount of adult snark, on Twitter.
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Just how in the event you approach your hashtag strategy?
Hashtags are brand extensions, and – if they’re successful in going viral – they’ll be the driving force behind overall brand recognition for your company. So they are an extension of your brand, a close cousin to your advertising or marketing slogan. Nike is best example, using its #JustDoIt hashtag generally in most messaging from its @Nike account. Which has spawned countless weekend-warrior athletes to use #JustDoIt if they tweet photos of their own playground exploits wearing Nikes.
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Among the best brands on Twitter is DiGiorno Pizza, which finds ways to inject its #RisetotheOccasion messaging into popular hashtags that already are trending. That usually is effective. When #SingleBecause was trending, DiGiorno chimed in with “you almost certainly forgot to get pizza at the store.” Yet, as effective as DiGiorno is, in addition, it suffered among the worst gaffes in Twitter history. The hashtag #WhyIStayed was trending, as victims of domestic violence shared their poignant stories about their abuse and lives. DiGiorno tweeted, “Because YOU’D Pizza.” The backlash was — quite appropriately — harsh and DiGiorno must apologize and admit it had no idea why #WhyIStayed was trending to begin with.
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Companies feel just like the world loves them. Truth is, even popular, heavily-consumed brands have detractors and social media is a superb place for Festivus-level airing of grievances. When Dr. Mehmet Oz made a decision to solicit Twitter questions through the #OzsInbox hashtag, doctors who had long complained about Oz’s popularity – and his method of medicine – hijacked the hashtag with comments about how exactly he was no more a “real” doctor and how he was hurting patients. Among the feedback: “Is it possible to go a whole show without mentioning ‘miracle,’ ‘toxin’ or ‘belly fat?’” Similarly, McDonald’s wished to start a conversation about how exactly its customers felt about eating there, with the #McDStories tag. It received a reliable stream of complaints, which range from fingernails in burgers to prolonged vomiting sessions – and that was just in both hours the business ran the hashtag before (wisely) pulling the plug.
The Olympics and the U.S. Olympic Committee received a whole lot of criticism if they warned that only companies that sponsored the games might use hashtags like #Rio2016, #TeamUSA and even #Olympics. Yet, that made sense: Hashtags, like slogans, can and really should be trademarked. They are your intellectual property and really should be protected and defended. This process also prevents others from hijacking your creativity as well as your brand message.
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Edit. Edit. Edit.
Yes, mistakes happen, but social-media posts have a tendency to suffer more errors than most corporate messaging. Cosmetics retailer Sephora infamously launched a hashtag around #CountdownToBeauty for store openings, but carelessness and inattention resulted in the first “o” being omitted for the campaign. That decidedly NSFW hashtag gave Sephora the type of Twitter virality it wasn’t seeking. Edit onc