What can we learn from the best hashtag #uckups?

‘Scuze the inappropriate hashtag but wanted to bring such matters to your attention. Hashtags have gained superhero status and powers on social media, drawing the crowds faster than a speeding bullet. So what happens if we get our hashtag strategy epically wrong?

Whether the context of a hashtag gets misinterpreted, it falls into the wrong hands or it’s simply broadcast at an unfortunate time for a brand; they can become headache inducing fails that can go instantly viral for all the wrong reasons. Here are 3 hashtag fails from big brands to remind us all of us lesser mortals what not to do:

Consider what you post when there is negative press about your brand

Vodafone’s #MadeMeSmile Christmas time campaign was well intended and was to reward lucky tweeters that shared “smile inducing” moments with a handset for Christmas. Unluckily, the hashtag was hijacked by people protesting about an unpaid £6bn tax bill.

How would we fix this? ‘Erm cry? Actually probably best to employ a very good crisis PR team and actively deal with it. Things will get emotional but go with it. To ignore people’s engagement would be far more detrimental.

Keep your personal and company social media accounts separate

This hashtag disaster is less well known than the others but certainly one that caught our attention (along with everyone elses). The #gettngslizzerd hashtag was not planned. An employee at the organisation tweeted it accidentally using the company account, saying she was looking forward to a beer-filled weekend.

How would we fix this? As the American Red Cross did, own up, apologise and delete. Then, use another account, device, even person to post your personal stuff. Especially on a Friday.

Create hashtags that can’t be misconstrued

Finishing on the old favourite. #susanalbumparty was used to promote an album release party for Susan Boyle.  Enough to make anyone squirm in their chair. Say no more.

How would we fix this? Get the person with the filthiest mind in the office to double check all hashtags and use capitalization where need be.

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