Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

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: ©

Ground Control to Southwest, We Have a Bit of a Problem

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Southwest Airlines has a very severe issue on their hands. Find the story here.

If Leisha Hailey’s version of events is true then this story alone would be a huge reputation issue for Southwest Airlines. But it is pretty easy for us or any business owner to say that this violates one of the central tenets of running a business, do not discriminate.

That could have been the end of the story. Southwest’s response to Ms. Hailey provided more fuel to the fire however. Before even receiving all of the facts, Southwest issued this statement;

“Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectation.”

True or not, this statement ignited a Twitter firestorm that Southwest could have easily avoided or at least, stemmed off. As a prominent business Southwest should know it is better to issue a statement of fact only after investigating both sides of the issue. We are not saying that the customer is always right but they do deserve at the least to have their side of the story heard. Even though they do say “Initial reports…”, it still appears as if they are making a statement of facts based on one side of the story. A better statement at this point would have been;

“We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to investigate their claim. We pride ourselves on our commitment to diversity and our response to any allegations of unfair discrimination.”

Instead of jumping to conclusions, that statement offers an apology and a promise to fix the issue. A much better statement but as they will soon learn, one statement will not simply make this problem disappear.

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.

Hackers, Hackers Everywhere

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Tales of hacking have taken a permanent front page location over the last few months as companies such as Sony and Lockheed Martin felt the effects of high profile hacker attacks. A recent survey found that 90% of US businesses have seen a hacking attack in the last 12 months.

Even terrorist groups have succumbed to hackers.

Individuals have felt the brunt of hacked Twitter accounts and Facebook pages.

So what do you do when you or your company is hacked?

1. Reassure

Depending on the information that was lost or compromised, you must respond to the public with accurate and timely information. Sony waited very long to inform the public of their breach and they felt the reputation consequences of that decision. Let everyone know what the issue is and how you are going to fix it early. You do not want to appear to be hiding anything.

2. Fix

The problem needs to be fixed to prevent a breach in the future. Let the public know you are fixing the problem and then fix it. If it is a security issue, fix it with new software or hardware. If it is a staff issue, then alter your staffing. At the end of the day the problem needs to be fixed.

3. Rebuild

The severity of the breach or hack could mean you may have to offer something to your loyal consumers to bring them back into the fold. Customer service is essential here. Tell your customer service staff to handle these concerns very carefully and with a smile on their faces. If your customers’ data was lost, assist them in fixing the issue. If they lost out on a valuable service, offer them a voucher or gift to refund the period they lost out on. If a claim was made from a hacked Twitter or Facebook page, distance yourself from the statement and let the public know that it was a hack.

It is very hard to avoid a hacking attack but it is not hard to develop a hacking response plan to fix the issue when it arises. Every company should have a very detailed hacking response plan to quickly respond to issues that can stem from a computer attack.

Do you have any hacking horror stories? How did you fix them?

The Weinergate Saga Continues…

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Elliot Spitzer at his post scandal news conference

Mark Sanford's international scandal left his eyes watery

This is becoming an all too common scene

Mark Sanford, Elliot Spitzer and now Anthony Weiner. The philandering pol is now the new normal in the world of crisis management. With the rapid dissemination of information through social media and 24/7 news networks, these cases can provide serious challenges to a reputation manager.

The challenge is twofold; the immediate crisis needs to be addressed and the longer term reputation issues can’t be ignored. As the leading reputation management firm in NJ, we practically have developed a sub specialty in this arena: the “I screwed up, save my job and save my marriage” public official.

As hard as it may be for any politician, honesty is the best strategy. With today’s media, no matter how air tight you think your defense is, holes do exist and people will find them. If Weiner had been honest from the start, he could have made positioning and moving forward much easier. He didn’t and now look at him.

Once their reputation is stabilized it is time to move towards rebuilding it. It is important to remember that you have been humbled by the whole process and must move forward slowly. Attending low key events and getting off of social media are a good place to start.

We know that during a crisis of this nature, when honesty and humility are replaced by lying and arrogance the reputation damage can be far-reaching and permanent for any politician.

Can Mr. Weiner’s reputation ever be improved in your eyes? Is it too little, too late?