12th Sep 2016

#SuperLoadMyPhone: When Hashtags Go Wrong

Promoted hashtags, Twitters newest ‘thing’ where businesses or organisations can promote their desired hashtag so that it spends all day at the top of the trending topic list. For the most part these promoted hashtags are a really great idea and not only raise awareness of a certain promotion or event, they can be a fun and engaging way of interacting with others and getting involved. 

A few weeks ago, Vodafone UK decided to promote the hashtag #SuperLoadMyPhone along with their Super-loaded sim deal and boy did it go wrong. Within hours of the hashtag going live it all started to go pear shaped, with unhappy customers around the country using the hashtag to essentially complain about their services, their phones and taxes. 

It’s not the first time a hashtag has lead to embarrassment for a business, instead of creating a positive buzz and it surely won’t be the last time, let’s look at how these hashtags can go wrong so that your business isn’t left ashamed.  

Out of context 

Like the mentioned hashtag and many beforehand, it’s not uncommon for a company to use a hashtag that can, and probably will be, taken completely out of context. If a hashtag can be taken out of context to mean something it doesn’t or can be used against your company then it’s more than likely going to go pretty wrong. There’s nothing worse than trying to create hype around your business with a hashtag and the people of the internet taking it to a whole other place.  

Hashtag Highjacking 

This doesn’t necessarily related to hashtags that companies have created, instead referring to topics that might be already trending which anyone can get involved with. Not every hashtag out there will be fun and games, there are likely to be many out there relating to politics, the news and other more serious topics which your business shouldn’t get involved in. Do your research before using the hashtag, you don’t want to highjack a serious trend in order to promote your business. 

Spelling errors

Hashtags are specific, there’s no spellcheck option, what you write is what you get so it’s important you double check what you write before you send it out. Whilst the lack of spell check is great when it comes to giving you the freedom of writing what you want, it can also be a bad thing when it comes to sending out a misspelled hashtag which ends up being useless.  

It doesn’t make sense

Sometimes hashtags just don’t make any sense, be it through a spelling error, through a misuse of a phrase or a simple misunderstanding of how hashtags work there are a few ways that a hashtag can stop making sense. Unfortunately if it doesn’t make sense to one person, it’s probable that nobody else will understand it either, meaning nobody will find the hashtag and it will be redundant. Try and find out if your hashtags already exists or if there’s another more popular trend that you can make the most of.  

It’s too long 

If a hashtag is too long or too specific you can guarantee there will be nobody out there looking for it. Tweeting something that is too specific to your business or to your personal situation stops your hashtag being relatable and sharable. Hashtags are supposed to be short and snappy in order to fit in with Twitters 140 character limit, you don’t want to limit what you can tweet about by taking up space with a long hashtags.

Hashtags can be effective ways to reach your target audience as well as reaching out to new audiences. However, without the correct amount of research and understanding they can cause huge problems. It’s all about planning, plan what you’re going to say in advance and be sure to double check thoroughly to see if your hashtags could cause any issues in the long run. 

Article By
Sarah Seymour,
Published: 12th September, 2016
Categories: Marketing

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