Social Media Gone Wrong – Twitter Hashtags


12.18.2012

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. According to Twitter, using hashtags correctly includes:

 

 

Unfortunately, many people misuse hashtags, abuse trending hashtags, or create hashtags that don’t exactly have the meaning they intended (you will see what we mean as you continue reading).  We will share some of those mistakes made by real companies and lessons you can learn from these mistakes.

 

Misused Hashtags

 

In 2011, Entenmann’s sent out a tweet using the hashtag #notguilty. Unfortunately for them, the #notguilty was trending due to the recent Casey Anthony “not guilty” murder verdict. The tweet caused a backlash. Entenmann’s claims that they were not trying to reference the trial in the tweet and it was completely unintentional.

 

Entenmanns Hashtag Fail

 

In 2012, the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center  was promoting a Kalahari Resorts (African park-themed vacation destination) gift package for the Sandusky, Ohio location. Their tweet included the hashtag #Sandusky. Though seemingly innocent, #Sandusky was trending due to the Penn State Jerry Sandusky scandal.

 

Sandusky Hashtag Fail

 

In 2012, CelebBoutiqe, an online retailer based in the U.K., sent out a tweet using the trending hashtag #Aurora. #Aurora was trending due to the tragic movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado. However, they used it to promote their Kim Kardashian Aurora dress. CelebBoutique said, “we didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion, again we do apologize.”

 

CelebBoutique Hashtag Fail

 

LESSON:

 

Do not use hashtags if you are unsure of what they mean! ALWAYS research what each hashtag is. A mistake can spark a backlash in the Twittersphere or tarnish your image.

 

Abusing Trending Hashtags

 

Back in 2009, Habitat UK, a furniture store in the United Kingdom, decided to hijack trending hashtags to increase the likelihood of their tweets getting noticed. They posted a series of tweets that had trending hashtags in the beginning that were completely unrelated to what they were posting about.

 

HabitatUK Hashtag Fail

 

LESSON:

 

Don’t be spammy! Habitat UK’s tweets came off as spammy and the Twitter community was not happy. If you are going to use hashtags, make sure they are relevant to what you are posting about to avoid coming off as spammy. Best practices suggest using only 2 at most!

 

Other Hashtag Errors

 

We think the following hashtag errors speak for themselves..

 

In preparation for Susan Boyle’s upcoming cd, the hashtag #susanalbumparty was selected to promote the release. After almost immediate ridicule, the hashtag was quickly changed to #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.

 

Susan Album Party Hashtag Fail

 

Research in Motion, RIM for short, is best known for developing the BlackBerry smartphone. RIM decided to tweet their job openings in an effort to recruit more people. They decided on the hashtag #rimjobs to promote their job openings. A logical combination of words, but not quite thought through all the way.. (http://bit.ly/Vebjof)

 

LESSON:

 

When creating a hashtag, use some common sense.

 

Twitter hashtags can be a powerful tool. They can make your tweets easier to find, be promotional, and the popularity of hashtags can be measured. However, using hashtags incorrectly can be not only embarrasing, but damaging to your brand as seen in the examples above. Always research what a hashtag is, avoid being spammy, and use some common sense when tweeting with hashtags. (Image sources: http://bit.ly/OSiuMthttp://huff.to/M0u4I8http://bit.ly/gxbBkDhttp://bit.ly/SSxaxh)

 

Stayed tuned for future posts on Social Media Gone Wrong from Rotten AuGratin and make sure to follow @Rotten_AuGratin on Twitter. There are many, many more examples of twitter gone wrong. Let us know your favorites in the comment box below and please share this post!

9 responses to “Social Media Gone Wrong – Twitter Hashtags”

  1. […] Don’t mislead or be irrelevant A U.K. furniture company, Habitat, experienced backlash when it purposely used trending hashtags such as #Apple or #iPhone to post about its product sales […]

  2. […] In 2012, CelebBoutique, an online retailer based in the U.K., sent out a tweet using the trending hashtag #Aurora. #Aurora was trending due to the tragic movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado. However, they used it to promote their Kim Kardashian Aurora dress. CelebBoutique said, “We didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion, again we do apologize.”  See figure 3. Source: http://www.hotpotatosocialmedia.com/social-media-gone-wrong-twitter-hashtags […]

  3. […] #Susanalbumparty: (More on this from a prior Hot Potato Article on Hashtag Fails) […]

  4. […] Social Media is done well when thought strategically and in line with your corporate culture.  Hot Potato Social Media knows how to best reach potential customers and avoid mishaps such as this.  Give us a call for a free Social Media score and consultation. Or check out some of these other social media fails: 10 QR Code Fails – How NOT to Use QR Codes Social Media Gone Wrong – Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC] Social Media Gone Wrong – Facebook Promotions Social Media Gone Wrong – Twitter Hashtags […]

  5. […] for your brand. Don’t use hashtags if you don’t know what they mean. Anyone remember Entenmanns #notguilty Tweet? It’s helpful if they are commonly used but if you serve a niche market, this might not be the […]

  6. […] based on HOW MANY hashtags maximum should appear per tweet. 2-3 hashtags maximum should be used, to avoid appearing spammy, and ensuring your hashtags are […]

  7. […] into dangerous waters. Such behaviors can spell disaster for your company account. See our Hashtags Gone Wrong […]

  8. […] can be informed of Facebook’s promotion policies. For more social media gone wrong, read Social Media Gone Wrong: Twitter Hashtags and follow @Rotten_AuGratin on Twitter and send us your best examples of social media gone […]

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by Lindsay Brown



Categories: Blog, Social Media, Social Media Gone Wrong, Twitter


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