A hashtag is a simple device that, allows users of sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to conduct a quick search for social posts regarding a specific topic. It can also, when utilized correctly, help brands gain recognition and a social media following while incorrect hashtag strategies could permanently damage your brand. Here are four reputation management tips you can use to get the most out of your hashtag usage:
1. Use Hashtags to Join the Conversation
Using hashtags specific to your company’s specialties can help gain new followers who search for those hashtags. You should make sure, however, that you are not devoting too much effort to a hashtag nobody searches. To get an idea of how others use a specific hashtag and how frequently it is used, conduct a quick search on http://www.hashtags.org/
2. Create a New Hashtag and Start your own Conversation
Bloggers used the hashtag “#blogchat” to organize discussions during a live event.
There are many ways brands can use hashtags to create and participate in a conversation with future customers. One popular technique is to conduct a live Q&A or chat with followers, which invites transparency while acknowledging that you care about follower concerns and opinions. Assign a unique hashtag for the event so that interested followers can conduct a simple hashtag search to locate all related tweets. As participants use the custom hashtag, many of their followers will be drawn into the discussion. Not only will this allow you to converse with new prospective customers, it will also enable you to build stronger relationships with existing customers and gain valuable marketing insights that will inspire reputation-boosting changes.
3. Know the Context
If you’re familiar with CelebBoutique’s mistaken use of the trending hashtag “#Aurora” on Twitter, you know context means everything. The boutique tweeted “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)” on the same day as the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shootings and it wasn’t long before Twitter users voiced their disgust. The firm apologized by claiming its PR team was not based in the United States and had not checked why the tweet was trending. Even after the apology, the boutique’s brand reputation continued to decline and their first page Google search results still contain multiple articles referencing the controversy. Lesson learned: know why hashtags are trending before you use them. If you are considering incorporating a trending tweet, do a Twitter search first to understand why it is trending and make sure your use of the hashtag will not offend your followers.
Celeb Boutique waited hours to apologize for its insensitive tweet, costing them major reputation damage.
4. Monitor your Strategy
Better safe than sorry, so create an escape plan in case your hashtag campaign takes a bad turn. In the #Aurora example above, Celeb Boutique allowed negativity to grow for several hours before finally issuing its apology. Another notable example, McDonalds’ “#McDStories” campaign, was quickly hijacked by negative tweets about the fast food giant. Monitoring a hashtag campaign in real time with a tool like Tweetdeck will allow your team to react quickly and cut ties with the hashtag if necessary.
Reputation911 specializes in reputation management, but we recognize that after cleaning up your first page, the next step is to keep your positive reputation intact through reputation marketing. We can help you obtain credibility in your industry by applying hashtag rules and other follower-boosting tactics to your company’s social media posts. We can also arrange guest blogging opportunities to improve your organic search rankings, social media influence, and fanbase. Learn more about our reputation marketing services by calling 1-866-MY-REP-911, or fill out the form on the right side of this page for a free consultation.