Sorry That Hashtag is Already Taken
Sometimes I think every marketers dream is to have their brand become the most trending hashtag on Twitter, so what happens when a hashtag used for one company or product ends up causing confusion with other hashtags? According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Blinded by the Blizzard of Hashtags” Neutrogena and LG USA choice of hashtags had two Twitter users thinking twice about the real meaning of their hashtags.
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash symbol # which hyperlinks to reference on social media platforms. Hashtags can “extend the conversation” online, says Alex Jacobs of DigitasLBi, furthering advertising’s reach to younger consumers who are heavily engaged with social media. Once a hashtag has launched, companies monitor posts and engage with positive responses, Mr. Jacobs says. One best practice is to interact with users who have lots of followers, known as influencers, he says.”
When Neutrogena decided to use #unseenacne “Josh Thorp, a 33-year-old math teacher saw the hashtag in a commercial for Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash and tweeted: “Neutrogena wants me to use the hashtag #unseenacne, how about #FreakingGross?” Thorp continues, the hashtag “caught my eye because I thought it was so awkward to tweet about acne, typically you’re trying to cover it (the acne) up.”
Another challenge for companies and brands is the authenticity of the hashtag since those including the hashtag in tweets usually end up coming from the company or brand staff and may include promoters and celebrities endorsing the product for a fee.
Looking to launch their ad campaign targeted at moms, LG Electronics USA used #momconfessions, and Leah Humphrey was unaware LG was also using #momconfessions and Ms. Humphrey tweeted: “I meant to spend naptime cleaning but instead I’m rewatching the first season of #glee #MomConfessions #Netflix.” Ms. Humphrey states, “When TV ads include a hashtag, I pretty much ignore it.” David VanderWaal, head of marketing for LG USA stated, “You have to engage in a way that already works organically so it doesn’t feel like you’re trying to sell something.”
But isn’t that the point for LG? You have some #greatrefrigerators and to sell and if I happen to be on the lookout for a new refrigerator, why not create hashtags such as #myfridgebroke, #newfridgeneeded, #myfridgestinks?. In the end hashtags are another way to extend your brand but be sure to do your homework to see if the hashtag is already taken and used for something other than what you intended.
What is your strategy for selecting a hashtag?
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