When #Hashtags Go Wrong

hashtag 2Hashtags are funny things. It’s easy to get so caught up in coming up with a few perfect words to sum up a new campaign that you completely overlook potential problems. Even breaking news stories and big brands fall prey to hashtag fails:

  • #nowthatcherisdead was intended for mentions of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher following her death. However, US audiences frequently misread it as NowThatCherIsDead, leading to false reports that the singer had passed away.
  • When The Hobbit movie was released tweets promoting the movie in Switzerland included the movie title and the country code for Switzerland (CH), leading to…#hobbitch.

Even perfectly appropriate hashtags can fail due to bad timing.  Local Kalahari Resort is located in Sandusky, Ohio and used the #sandusky hashtag to promote Father’s Day events in 2012. Probably not a good idea at a time when “Sandusky” was in the news for other (definitely not family-friendly) reasons.

With those warnings in mind, a few quick tips before you slap a hashtag on your next campaign:

  • Google it – Is the term you’re considering already associated with something? Can it be connected to current events?
  • Translate it – Does the term mean something negative in another language?
  • Drop the capital letters – If you run the term together with no capitals, can it be misread? (For an epic fail on this one, just Google “susan album party.” Susan Boyle’s PR team wasn’t having their best day…)
  • Research it some more – Run the term through tagdef.com to see if it’s already in use, and check UrbanDictionary.com for alternate meanings.

A little research now could save you from appearing in the next edition of  “How Not to Twitter.”

If March Madness was a Social Media Tournament…

I’m sure the following question has crossed your mind a thousand times this basketball season: if March Madness was a social media competition, who would win? OK, maybe that isn’t the first question that comes to mind (maybe the second), but just take a minute and think about it.

 

How often do your resort to Twitter to get an update on a game? How many times do you catch yourself trash-talking with frenemies via Facebook because, for a split second, you think you are channeling the one and only Dick Vitale?  And, how many times do you see hashtags take center stage at the bottom of TV screens and across sponsors’ banners—thank you, Gatorade and ESPN—to motivate fans from the farmlands of the Hoosier State to the stars of the Hollywood Hills to discuss, interact and share?

 

The answer is a lot, which is why Schwartz Communications, a PR technology and healthcare agency, took the liberty of analyzing the growth and power of social media surrounding March Madness with a formula I think is pretty baller. To determine each school’s Social Media Power Ranking (SMPR), the Schwartz MSL Research Group  took the number of Facebook fans for each NCAA basketball team and added the number of Twitter followers for each team’s basketball Twitter handle and then divided that number by the total number of students attending a given university (as reported by Wikipedia.)

 

It’s OK; math was never my strong suit either.

 

From there, Schwartz MSL Research Group determined the social media powerhouse that knows how to make a slam dunk in the digital realm. Drum roll, please… the 2012 March Madness SMPR champion is The University of Kansas. Hey, at least you walk away with something, Jayhawks.

 

The point of this pep talk is this: with the growth and power of social media, one can’t help but take notice and advantage of our All-American communicators—Twitter and Facebook. These two social media platforms give brands, institutions and fans a chance to take their words to the Big Dance and create a little madness while they’re at it.

March Madness 2012

 

Celebs receive “greatest love of all” on social media after their final curtain call

Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Steve Jobs and Whitney Houston were all taken from this world too soon, and the reaction to their deaths on the Internet was overwhelming.

On Saturday, the most recent celebrity death of Whitney Houston flooded Twitter accounts worldwide. According to an article, more than 2 million tweets about Houston’s death occurred within the first hour after the news broke. The tweets peaked at more than 1,000 per second. According to the infographic below, this is more than Michael Jaskson’s death, which hit 456 tweets per second. However, neither can compete with the announcement of Beyonce and Jay Z’s baby, which hit a whopping 8,886 tweets per second or Super Bowl XLVI which now holds the record at 12, 233 tweet per second. (Yes, you did read that right!)

Although there are conflicting accounts, a Mashable article states that a Twitter user tweeted about the death of Houston to his 14 followers, 27 minutes before a credible news source.

So what does this mean for news sources? Are more people turning to Twitter and other social media outlets to obtain news? Check out the infographic below from PCMag.com, created by Leslie Horn, and let us know what you think.

 

 

Leslie Horn's Twitter Inforgraphic

Twitter Infographic Courtesy of Leslie Horn from pcmag.com.

What’s so “Super” about the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl 46 LogoFor football fans, it’s a holy day. For others, it’s just an excuse to pig out and down some brewskies. But, no matter the age, gender or motive, the Super Bowl represents a profound experience that makes it an “unofficial” holiday in our American culture. As each year passes, it seems as if the brains behind the Super Bowl operations look for the next big idea to take fans’ experience to the next level.

This year, the land of Peyton Manning, Touchdown Jesus and Bobby Knight is the new home of the Super Bowl and the first-ever social media command center created by the Indianapolis Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee to provide visitors with a whole new type of game-day experience. (It’s in Indiana if you’re still in the dark with those sport references.)

The Game Plan

The new social media experience angle of this year’s big game is spearheaded by a group of individuals from Raidious, an Indiana-based social media company, who are committed to giving “Hoosier hospitality” to fans and visitors of Indianapolis by monitoring social media outlets and answering questions about local attractions, parking and other Super Bowl-related topics.

Raidious Super Bowl social media command center

Raidious Super Bowl social media command center

The social media platforms which will be monitored include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare. The command center is giving others the play-by-play now through Super Bowl Sunday.

The Drive

But, there’s more to this social media-savvy event. The command center goes for a two-point conversion with its SEO efforts, and in my eyes, really puts those extra points up on the board. Not only will the individuals manning (No pun intended, but go Giants) the center monitor conversations occurring on various outlets, they will also use SEO to highlight keywords and phrases people are searching with to obtain certain information.  According to FastCompany.com, a list of about 300 keywords will be used to monitor all social media outlets as well as the Twitter hashtag, #Social46.

The End Zone

Here’s the bottom line: it’s all about customer satisfaction, which directly relates to the individuals’ experience. No matter what business you’re in or which event you’re preparing for, you want outsiders or customers to walk away with the “wow” factor. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner when your mom seems as if her head is going to pop off faster than the cork on a champagne bottle just because she wants everyone to have a great time full of memories.

This social media command center accomplishes that same goal because it reaches out and makes a connection with Super Bowl attendees and tourists visiting Indianapolis. By serving as the scouting team, individuals are left feeling valued and taken care of because the command center has the ultimate Super Bowl playbook. The best offense is a good defense, and by being a step ahead of the game, you are almost always guaranteed to cross the goal line. So whether you’re tuning in for entertaining commercials or watching to see which team will clinch the Vince Lombardi Trophy, remember it’s all about your experience and the memories you take away.