Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary looks at all the words that have been created throughout the last year and chooses whether to include them or not due to how much of a part of our vocabulary they have become. Perhaps one of the most famous recent inclusions is the word hashtag which has only been created through the rise of the social media site Twitter. Although this is an online site, the word has made its way into society in spoken form and is now being used all over the world.
Hashtags have become a new way of interacting through different medias and have made it possible for people to interact with their friends, famous people and even television programmes, instantly. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing and sometimes the hashtag has chosen to bite back. Due to the instantaneity of this so called harmless symbol (#), Twitter disasters have been numerous and it is very difficult to remove all trace of them once the damage is caused.
So with that in mind, here is a #awkward list of examples not to follow.
Susan Boyle – This is the perfect example of a high profile use a hashtag that went hilariously wrong. Susan Boyle was launching her new album and planned a party to celebrate. All sounds harmless enough doesn’t it? Not when you choose to use a hashtag that creates uproar because of the way it looks when the words Susan album and party are joined together.
I won’t write the full hashtag used because this is a family blog post but it’s not too hard to see if you look hard enough.
Starbucks – The main aim of a hashtag is that when people use it, their tweets will go straight to one feed and you can read them all at once; but there are downsides to this too. If you are planning to display these on a big screen without screening them first like Starbucks did then you are just asking for trouble.
The coffee chain asked their followers to tweet goodwill messages to get people in the Christmas spirit but the feed was hijacked and was soon awash with people using the hashtag to slag off the company and its recent tax problems.
President’s Choice – This example comes from the Canadian supermarket chain and is an example of totally misjudging the use of a hashtag. Companies sometimes choose certain hashtags to take advantage of whatever’s going on in the news which will give them more exposure, but not all news stories should be used in this way.
A number of brands including President’s Choice stupidly chose to use the hashtag #Sandy during last year’s horrific hurricane which, as you can imagine, didn’t go down too well.
Celeb Boutique – This final example is to show that you should always, always, ALWAYS think before you tweet. The excitement of Twitter obviously got to someone working for this UK based clothing company and they showed a display of ignorance that had many people all over America fuming.
Having not learned about the events that happened the night before in the Colorado town of Aurora, a tweet was sent out stating that the reason why #Aurora was trending was due to the popularity of the company’s Aurora dress. Sadly and after a significant backlash, it was soon discovered that it obviously wasn’t.
If you are worried about social media getting you or your company in trouble then there are plenty of UK SEO companies that can offer their services in social media management to help you. The hashtag has become an important part of the marketing and PR industry in the 21st century but it should always be used with care because some of them have sharp teeth and will bite back.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Chris Mayhew works for Marketing By Web and is determined to get people using social media in the right way. This SEO agency based in Bristol will provide experienced services in PPC, SEO and social media management.
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