Posted by 360 PSG | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-02-2012-05-2008
Have you harnessed the power of hashtag marketing to promote your brand via Twitter? It can be a handy tool that “tags” a tweet and allows searchers to find it more easily. While it can be very rewarding to run a successful campaign, it’s also easy for your plan to backfire.
What are trending topics?
Twitter’s help center explains:
“Twitter’s Trending Topics algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help people discover the ‘most breaking’ news stories from across the world. We think that trending topics which capture the hottest emerging trends and topics of discussion on Twitter are the most interesting.”
Why use hashtags?
First, Twitter redesigned their website last year to highlight key services, one of them being hashtags. At the top of your Twitter home page there are three large icons: Home, Connect, and Discover, which all allow for more fluent navigation of the popular social media website. On the side, you’ll see the most popular trending topics for specific locations, e.g. Los Angeles, New York, or the United States.
Apple recently announced the latest version of OSX, Mountain Lion, with Twitter integrated into many Mac programs like Safari, iPhoto, Photo Booth and more. That means even more tweeting in the near future, so getting a jump start on developing your social media marketing campaigns is a good idea.
Second, hashtags give users a way to interact with your brand by referencing a specific topic. Back in 2010 retail giant Target used hashtags to promote their #blackfriday deals, giving away $25 gift cards and offering special deals through their trending topic. But hashtag topics don’t have to be promotions. According to Carmen Hudson, CEO and co-founder of Tweetajob, between 300 and 500 jobs per minute are posted on Twitter with hashtags like #jobs or #salesjobs. Of course with the saturation of job postings on Twitter, hashtags should only be used to supplement other job resources like your Job Board.
Hosting an upcoming seminar on Social Media Basics? Why not establish the hashtag #socialmediabasics to allow guests to live-Tweet your event. Then anyone not attending the event can easily search for highlights from your event by plugging #socialmediabasics into Twitter’s “Discover” section.
Finally, hashtags are a cross-platform tool. Hashtags are not exclusive to Twitter; they can be used to promote brand unity across popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest just to name a few.
Now, The Bad
McDonald’s recently made headlines with their hashtag campaign, #McDStories, which garnered some bad press. Intended to help spread positive experiences at McDonald’s locations around the world, #McDStories was hijacked by angry patrons and used to share unpleasant dining experiences at the fast food chain.
It started innocently with tweets like, “Meet some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day #McDStories”. However McDonald’s hashtag campaign quickly turned into an ugly bashtag campaign with tweets like, “One time I walked into McDonald’s and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up”. Oops.
The lesson? Know your brand. McDonald’s has to know that they have just as many detractors as they do supporters. They set themselves up for failure and had to quickly pull the plug on their #McDStories campaign.
Avoid making a similar marketing gaff by identifying your intended audience. It’s important to believe in your product and trust that your audience does too. However, before launching a hashtag campaign, really think about what you’re trying to accomplish. If there is any chance that your positive message could be spun in a negative way then consider a different marketing strategy.
As a final note, having a unified brand across all social media platforms is extremely important. Make sure your new Twitter page reflects your current color scheme, logo, and website address. Had the same homepage for a few years? Consider a Twitter page redesign.