If you’re a business owner who’s new to the world of search engine optimization and social media marketing, you probably need some help getting your feet wet. It’s easy to make rookie mistakes when launching your business on any of the commonly used social media platforms, and no platform is more volatile and unforgiving as Twitter. Don’t worry, though! With the right guide, learning to navigate and put Twitter to use for your company doesn’t have to be a process of trial and error. Today our team at Big Red SEO, Omaha’s top SEO company, is going to take a look at a vital Twitter tool, the hashtag, and show you how to avoid making some common mistakes.
What are Hashtags Used For?
To start building a hashtag strategy that works, it helps to know what they’re used for. When Twitter was in its infancy, hashtags were introduced to help users find and organize content that interested them. In essence they work like a filing system (a gigantic, messy filing system), helping Twitter users sort through massive amounts of information on the social network to zero in on the content they want to follow.
Using hashtags in your tweets is a smart way to help potential customers find and talk about your business, but there are some best practices to keep in mind that many businesses still don’t abide by. Using hashtags without a strategy can make you look foolish, or worse, irritate or offend the Twitter community you’re trying to reach. In no particular order, here are some of the worst hashtag mistakes we’ve come across that can damage your company’s Twitter credibility.
1. Not Thinking Through Your Hashtag’s Consequences
This is one of the biggest problems that new Twitter users face, and it’s not just them! Even established brands have had hashtag campaigns blow up in their faces. In January of 2012, for instance, McDonald’s decided to launch a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #McDStories. McDonald’s wanted Twitter users to share positive stories about its brand using the hashtag, but they didn’t think it through. After the tag erupted with negative stories of fingernails in burgers and other unsavory anecdotes, McDonald’s was forced to discontinue the tag.
The lesson here is that you can’t assume that people will use your hashtags the way you intend. Before you ever put a hashtag campaign into action, you need to think through every way that the tag could be misused.
2. Riding Popular (and/or Sensitive) Topics for Self-Promotion
Twitter users are a savvy bunch, and they know when you’re just using a trending hashtag to promote your brand. Take a look at this:
What do SpaghettiOs have to do with Pearl Harbor? Nothing, and this shameless plug garnered much negative feedback (rightly so) from the Twittersphere.
What can we take away from this example of a brand choosing to use one of America’s worst tragedies for self-promotion? Trying to piggyback on trending hashtags to promote brand awareness is a technique that can easily backfire. If there’s no clear connection you can make between your brand and the hashtag you want to use, and you aren’t completely sure that using it will be taken well by your audience, then our team at the top SEO company in Omaha recommends going with a safer hashtag.
3. Not Considering How People Already Use the Hashtag
Let’s say there’s a hashtag you really want to use for a Twitter campaign, so you just jump in and start using it on many of your company tweets. What’s wrong with this picture? You didn’t do your due diligence to find out a) if the hashtag was already in use, and if so, b) how the hashtag was being used.
For example, the baked goods company Entenmann’s tried using the hashtag #notguilty to promote sales of their sweet treats. Here’s an example:
This may not seem like a bad thing, but little did they know that this hashtag was already trending for a topic they definitely didn’t want to be associated with, the “Not Guilty” murder verdict of Casey Anthony. This is why taking the time to research your hashtags before implementing them in a campaign is very important. You don’t want to use hashtags that are already associated with another topic because it’s very easy for people to misinterpret your tone, and even if you don’t make the insensitive flub that Entenmann’s did, you stand the chance of having your campaign message get lost in the noise of an ongoing (and off-topic) conversation.
Contact the Top SEO Company in Omaha at (402) 522-6468
We here at Big Red SEO, the top SEO company in Omaha, hope that by showing you some of the worst hashtag mistakes we’ve come across, you can avoid doing the same things yourself. It’s easy to make mistakes if you use hashtags haphazardly, but as long as you think about what you’re doing and have a deliberate plan in place before you start, you stand much less of a chance of things going wrong.
The processes of search engine optimization and social media for business are intertwined—they do different things to increase the visibility of your business, but they do work together. Give our team at the Midwest’s top SEO company a call today at (402) 522-6468 to get started creating a solid SEO strategy to get your business to the top of the search engine rankings!