Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Corporations “Late” to the #Party: Overuse of the Infamous Hashtag

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Hashtags seem to be taking over all forms of social media.  Considering Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have almost 2 billion users collectively, it would be a crime for corporations not to take advantage of this free marketing opportunity.  But many wonder, have corporations taken the hashtag too far?  With recent evidence, it would seem so.


Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash sign, which become hyperlinked on social media, grouping posts with the same words or “messages” together.  Common examples are #throwbackthursday accompanying a picture from the past or #sorrynotsorry used to sarcastically apologize for a guilty act one is actually proud of.  Newly developed hashtags are now popping up in ad campaigns, storefronts, billboards and even printed on consumer product packaging.  By using consistent hashtags as part of an advertising campaign, it can extend the conversation about a product or service and reach a broader audience.  Once a hashtag is launched, corporations monitor its use and those who are using it.  They can also interact with those using the hashtag and engage users with large followings on Twitter to encourage their promotion.

Overall the use of a simple word or short phrase has become more powerful than ever, but corporations have recently failed to launch hashtags worthy of attention.  According to the Wall Street Journal, corporations like Neutrogena and Equinox gyms have recently promoted hashtags, #unseenacne and #preapologize, respectively.  Unfortunately both of these hashtags gained negative feedback for what I think are obvious reasons.  First of all, who wants to tweet about unseen ACNE?  Although the majority of social media users are young and probably victims of acne, NO ONE likes to start a conversation about acne.  Neutrogena obviously failed to consult adolescents on this one or even their own common sense.  If no one likes to talk about acne, what makes you think they will tweet about it for the whole world to see?


Now for Equinox, I will applaud them on one thing- their originality.  I have certainly never heard of the word “preapologize” and it is certainly not in Webster’s dictionary.  Unfortunately, creating a new word can lead to many confused users, as Equinox has received many direct questions about the meaning of preapologize.  It turns out that #preapologize was meant to be a copy of a previously popularized hashtag, #sorrynotsorry, but if your users do not know the meaning of your hashtag, it is very difficult for them to use, defeating the purpose of the hashtag.

Before a corporation exposes a new hashtag to the world, it would be wise for them to ask themselves this question: Would I use my corporation’s hashtag?  If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.  As corporations seem out of touch, it may be a good idea to consult the corporation where it all began.  Twitter, Inc. has a team that helps companies integrate hashtags into their marketing campaigns and tend to advise them to “tap into organic trending topics.”  By entering a conversation organically, it may seem less like marketing and more personal.  Do you appreciate corporation’s efforts in attempting to enter the hashtag revolution?  Or do you prefer they stay out of your social network?  Perhaps it’s better for some corporations to stay away from the “difficult-to-master” hashtag and focus their attention elsewhere.

Photo credit: ©

Mistaken Identity

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Your brand is no longer solely categorized by your company’s letterhead and a clever tagline. In today’s tech driven world, your brand is also based in your online identity package. Whether it is your website, your social media accounts or reputation harming product reviews; these aspects all combine to create your brand.

Netflix found this out today and may be wishing that their tech team coordinated a little bit better with their marketing team before their big product introduction today.

New York Magazine provides an explanation here.

For a large company such as Netflix, failure to secure domain names and Twitter handles prior to rolling out a new service is simply inexcusable. A quick (or should we say Qwik) scan of the most popular social media services would have found that their new brand is now represented by a stoner who cannot spell very well. Couple this mistake with the fact that Netflix has already been at the center of a lot of bad press lately and you have a serious branding issue.

This is a valuable lesson; take the time to review the web prior to going public with your new brand to save yourself from headaches and bad press down the road.

It Still Isn’t Easy Being Green

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Avid followers of Reputation Roulette may remember this post from March. We commented on the surge in the “green” products. Ultimately it was decided that the value of going green has its limits. Today the New York Times helped to confirm this.

Once successful products are losing ground at a staggering rate and new green products are having a difficult time moving into the market. Many companies are moving away from green products and back towards their traditional lines. Less money is being directed into marketing campaigns focused around co-friendly products and research to produce more eco-friendly brands.

The reason for this migration?

This shift has little to do with wanning support for the green movement. It has a lot more to do with lacking amounts of disposable cash. If grocery shopper buys all green products they can expect to pay significantly more on their total bill. During the boom times this was ok. It is the small price you pay for saving the environment. Remember, green marketing capitalizes on empowering people’s purchasing decisions?

Now when wallets are a little lighter, paying more for a product for the same results of a lower cost alternative seems backwards. People are willing to be green to an extent. Higher cost green products like all-electric cars and green appliances are becoming harder to move as a result of their price tags. These recent develops show that Kermit was definitely right, it isn’t easy being green.

Reputation in the Age of the Global Village

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

A modern company can have branches and affiliates scattered all over the world and in some cases, their internal communication structure and strategy is just as scattered. Each of these branches may be organized differently and have a different market focus. This does not mean that their external and internal communications impact your reputation any differently.

We have had many clients come through our doors asking us to help their reputation in the wake of a reputation disaster. So for the sake of argument let’s say that an international company has just faced a massive recall of a brand new product. Millions, even billions in revenue may be on the line. Investors are angry. The public is asking questions. They’ve removed every mention of this product from their website and press materials.Out of sight and out of mind… or so they thought.

What they forgot about was their European affiliate that was very proud to announce this product to the world only a few months ago. Directly under the press page of their website is a plethora of information on the recently recalled product including all the excited introductory press releases and marketing materials.

This makes it very hard for your company to get distance from a product when a simple Google search can easily bring the past back to the public’s attention at any time. It is called the world wide web for a reason. Anyone from anywhere in the world can search for your company and with a little time dive deep into all of its international and national branches. This is why effective internal communications are just as important as external communications. By coordinating the internal communication response throughout your company you can face the public with a new face and a fresh start.

Getting More Face Time with Facebook

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Many businesses must inevitably have the conversation as to whether or not Facebook is a part of their marketing future. Before you dive into the world of Facebook it is a great idea to develop a strategy based around these crucial questions.

What do you want to accomplish with Facebook?

Answering this question is the first and most important step in forming your developing Facebook strategy. Like any marketing technique, without a plan it will be ineffective and a waste of time. .Some have used Facebook as an alternative form of a company website in order to get their contact info out to the public. For some companies this may be enough. Other companies use Facebook as a marketing tool drawing new customers in and enhance the experience for their existing customers.

How will you accomplish this goal?

Now that you have a goal in mind, the next step is implementing it. There are many successful examples of local companies using Facebook pages. Quick Chek, based in New Jersey, has a great example of one.

Quick Chek uses theirs as a marketing tool. They frequently engage their fans with daily questions and reward the best answers with prizes from their stores. They also deliver a great experience for their fans through giveaways and coupons for free coffee and food. They are using their Facebook to drive sales and give their fans a great experience every time they click on the page.  They also have set up a dialogue with their fans, even responding to customer service queries using it. This public interaction with unhappy customers shows everyone that Quick Chek is responsive and willing to help.

Your company, depending on the size and type, can make this type of impact with Facebook. You must be realistic in your goals though. If your company is tiny, it would be unrealistic to expect you to develop a Facebook similar to one used by a large company like Quick Chek. You can still, within your means, create a meaningful Facebook experience for your current customers and help forge a relationship with prospective ones.

Who will be responsible for the upkeep on the Facebook?

The worst thing you can do with Facebook is turn it into a hindrance for your company.  It is very important to have regular upkeep of the page. It looks bad to start it with great ambitions and then stop using it. We have seen many companies using Facebook come through our doors with pages containing wrong addresses, zero current information  or underutilized fan bases. It is very important that you are willing to perform basic upkeep on the Facebook page to ensure that it is still a valuable marketing tool. Imagine how it looks to a prospective customer if their point of contact with you is an out of date Facebook page.  If you cannot find anyone to perform basic upkeep,  maybe Facebook is not for you.

Do you have a social media policy?

You must establish a protocol for Facebook. As you would with any external communications, there must be a policy in place regarding who can use it, when they can use it and what the rules are for use. This will go a long way to protecting you and your company in the case of a mistake or a rogue employee.

Answering these questions will help you develop your company’s Facebook strategy. If you still have questions and are looking for Facebook or other social media marketing strategies, a call to Evergreen Partners, Inc. can answer all of your questions.