Oh, the wonderful world of Twitter, where you have 140 characters to prove your worth. Fortunately, there are hashtags that can add depth to your twitter strategy, or horribly take away from your cause. Use with caution. Hashtags can make or break you.
#1 – Use capitals
Susan Boyle learned a valuable lesson. Your hashtags have to use capitals. Her album release party and it’s hashtag of #susanalbumparty quickly became known for something entirely different. Some people speculate that it was actually a genius ploy by Boyle’s team to gain trending status. While that might be true, it’s still not okay, and this is a perfect example of why proofreading is so very important. With capitals, it would have read as #SusanAlbumParty. Completely different party.
#2 – Research before you hashtag
The Aurora Colorado tragedy was bad enough, but when you get something trending on Twitter, people are going to misuse it. Our best advice is to research what you’re about to hashtag before you actually use it. A clothing boutique decided to tweet about the trending #Aurora but not to pay respect to the people that lost their lives. Instead, they chose to recognize a dress inspired by Kim Kardashian.
#3 – Be careful with abbreviations
Sure, we all have to fit our tweets into that silly little 140 character box before the dreaded red negative numbers, but there’s something to be said for checking your abbreviations before you let loose with a hashtag that gives a different intention. For example, a yoga company launched a photo campaign called “What the Focus September.” Personally, I think that should have read “What’s the Focus” but they’re going for a play on words. It worked. Suddenly #WTFSept popped up all over Twitter, but not for the yoga studio. Instead, people were posting their hatred for the month of September. I’m not sure what exactly is wrong with that month, but a lot of people found a lot of reasons to hate it.
#4 – Don’t put anything out there that you don’t want people to comment on
McDonalds really messed up with their campaign “McDStories.” Their intentions were to have a collection of stories from customers about how much they love McDonalds. Maybe they didn’t realize that they don’t exactly have the best public brand and that pretty awful things have been found in their food. Their campaign failed miserably and was stopped within two hours.
#5 – Don’t get political
Social media has become the ultimate political area (can’t we all just agree that enough is enough?) but there are some things that just don’t need to be said via Twitter and hashtags. A KitchenAid social media employee forgot to logout of the company Twitter account and into her personal one before posting an Anti-Obama rant. It went on the company’s account and we can only assume it cost her the job. Best practice is to just not get political.
Use Twitter with caution. Learn how to put hashtags in your tweets, and avoid the mistakes of these brands.