The Challenge of Hashtags

29 Apr
April 29, 2014

For anyone on Twitter today, the funniest hashtag going was #askDerekAcorah. Although Acorah has since said he had nothing to do with it, and thought it just as funny as everyone else, it highlights the pitfalls of trying to build interaction around a brand or personality based hashtag.

It seems every other week, we watch the Twitterverse turn on a person or organisation who hasn’t thought through where it could go wrong.

Last week, the NYPD ran foul of some of their citizens with the #myNYPD campaign (and it appears they are about to make it worse…)

A month, ago, Jenny McCarthy made the mistake of trying to build a conversation around #JennyAsks

The list goes on – #askJPM, #QantasLuxury, #McDStories, to name a few.

No one brand has a 100% happy customer base, and Twitter is a megaphone¬†in equal parts for the fans and the detractors. Hashtags on Twitter had their origins with the users (it wasn’t until two years after Chris Messina suggested it that Twitter began to¬†hyperlink them to bring conversations – and criticisms – together), and that balance of power has not shifted.

As a rule of thumb: 

If you know your customers have pain points Рand most brands do Рthen focus on building an effective customer service strategy through the platform, rather than trying to generate engagement and buzz for the sake of it.  Delivering exceptional value for customers by addressing their needs will drive awareness in itself.

PHOTO – Theo