Posts Tagged ‘hashtag’

How Not to Advertise on Twitter

February 1st, 2012 02:31 admin View Comments

oops.gifTwitter’s sponsored tweets and sponsored hashtags are cropping up more often as the social network places a heavy focus on advertising. As with any new advertising offering, we’ll learn how to use it effectively by watching the efforts of others. Advertising on a social network offers up opportunities for engagement that can’t be found elsewhere, but that opportunity comes with significant risk.

Sponsored hashtags can blow up in your face, they can be stolen by a competitor and they can be surrounded by risky UGC. But they can also very quickly achieve some great attention for your brand. Choosing to advertise on Twitter is a risky move, ripe with opportunity and danger. It shouldn’t be undertaken lightly or without serious thought.

Walgreens Can’t Buy Love

Walgreens recently purchased some love on Twitter, literally. In choosing the self-serving hashtag, #ILoveWalgreens, the company made a grievous error. They assumed love that wasn’t there.

People enjoy going out to eat, so they might love a favorite restaurant. Many enjoy shopping for clothes, so they might admit to loving a favorite designer or even a boutique store. People might even love their doctor or hairdresser, but very few people love fast food restaurants, grocery stores, plumbers or pharmacies. In these cases, you can’t buy love, but you can buy attention, and the two are different beasts.

The social media spend, designed to combat a very specific issue, was inappropriately broad and presumptive. A better case would have been to focus on the problem, that Walgreens could no longer accept Express Scripts, and choose a tag that supported their efforts there, like #freedominhealthcare or #yourscriptchoice and gave voice to a public who feels unheard and unloved when it comes to healthcare decisions.

Hulu’s Arrested Hashtag

Hulu is sponsoring a hashtag to promote their Superbowl commercial with Will Arnett. The hashtag, #mushymush, is in reference to their ongoing theme of alien world domination through excessive media intake.

While their hashtag is on point, it’s not a hashtag that is particularly interesting to their average fan. Hulu could have been more daring, and ended up with real traction had they chosen a hashtag that would really resonate with their viewers.

Because they chose an Arrested Development star, and dropped several references into the ad, they could have created buzz by pointing that out or even asking Arrested Development fans to count the number of references in the video. This, of course, would mean a heavy focus on the show and that may not be in the best interest of a big Superbowl spend. But there are many ways they could have jazzed this up, and stayed show-neutral. Hulu is staffed by a variety of cool and fun folks, as evidenced by the campaign itself. Creativity is important and #mushymush can’t have been the most interesting thing that came out of their advertising department.

They also did a poor job of communicating what they wanted. While they did get some high profile retweets, from Roku and Yahoo_Screen, many of the other dozen tweets are either done by Hulu themselves or by Hulu employees. If they asked their employees to share the video, which isn’t a bad thing at all, they should have also suggested sample copy. Their star even tweeted about it without using the hashtag, as did most of the folks who watched the video and shared it. There’s no call to action on their viral mechanism, the video. Why not end the video with the hashtag? I’m laughing, give me some instructions as to what I should do to share the funny with my friends.

Subway Offers Up a Footlong Hashtag


Photo credit Luca Falda

Unlike Hulu, who couldn’t get any attention on Twitter for their hashtag, Subway has gotten attention, but the wrong kind. Their main problem wasn’t in their choice of hashtag, it was that they didn’t gauge sentiment before they advertised on the social network.

From people angry that a $5 foot long really wasn’t $5, to employees who resent having to work at Subway, the hashtag is a busy one, rife with anger. To be fair to Subway, however, there is a solid amount of positive sentiment in their resulting tweets too.

They could decrease some of the negativity if they let Subway employees know that they are about to release a trending hashtag and ask for their support. They should also react in some way to the negatives, using Twitter. I would suggest reaching out to all of the negatives and thanking them for their feedback. Who knows, there could be some positive engagement with the brand to come from it, rather than just pulling the hashtag when the going gets tough.

The Takeaway

What we can learn here is that there is no easy ad spend. Whether you’re slapping a a vinyl cling on your car to promote your housecleaning business or coordinating a multi-million dollar ad campaign for an international beverage maker, the details matter. Creativity grabs your attention, but it’s the practical details that ensure the brand is remembered and the call to action is acted upon.

Advertising on a social network is not different in these regards, but there are parts of this ad spend that are unique to the medium. Prepare your employees with detailed instructions that recommend appropriate behavior. Choose to align with existing sentiment, and don’t make it all about your. Do some preliminary insights gathering, and be prepared to shelve the entire thing if the risk outweighs the benefits.

Source: How Not to Advertise on Twitter

Entenmann’s Hashtag Surfing Fails Hard With #NotGuilty Tweet

July 5th, 2011 07:52 admin View Comments

Twitter is virtually erupting right now with 140 character bursts of anger against the perceived injustice of the Casey Anthony “Not Guilty” murder verdict. And, as they are wont to do, some social media expert at baked goods manufacturer Entenmann’s made a grave trending topic related mistake.

Depending on what you believe, the voice of @Entenmann’s either decided it would be funny to hashtag surf on the trending #notguilty hashtag or sincerely didn’t look and just stuck a random #notguilty in a tweet about eating tasty tweets, presumably to get pickup.

This of course backfired. After follower backlash, Entenmann’s deleted the tweet and apologized,”Sorry everyone, we weren’t trying to reference the trial in our tweet! We should have checked the trending hashtag first” and then following up with “Our #notguilty tweet was insensitive, albeit completely unintentional. We are sincerely sorry.”

Oh the perils of hashtag surfing! While the company itself says the association with the Casey Anthony trial was unintentional, I find it pretty hard to believe that anyone would tweet something including a trending hashtag without looking at what that hashtag referenced first.

In any case, it looks like Entenmann’s has raised the bar for social media stupidity, taking the cup from previous #winner @KennethCole. Key takeaway for brands: Some trending topics aren’t to be tweeted lightly.


Sorry everyone, we weren’t trying to reference the trial in our tweet! We should have checked the trending hashtag first.


Our #notguilty tweet was insensitive, albeit completely unintentional. We are sincerely sorry.

Source: Entenmann’s Hashtag Surfing Fails Hard With #NotGuilty Tweet

Disrupt NYC, In Tweets

May 27th, 2011 05:20 admin View Comments

I am still recovering from Disrupt NYC. It was our biggest event ever, and we’ll be posting more videos and highlights throughout the next few days. But here are a couple of charts that give a snapshot of the activity around the event as measured by Tweets with the event hashtag #TCDisrupt (thanks for the charts, Simply Measured).

In the chart above you can see the distribution of Tweets across the three days. That spike on Day three was related to an iPad giveaway linked to people Tweeting out the hashtag, which was Tweeted out 18,177 times (and that doesn’t include tweets that used other hashtags such as #disrupt or simply mentioned Disrupt without a hashtag).

But I particularly like the chart below, which shows the distribution of Tweets with the #TCDisrupt hashtag which also mentioned the names of the six Battlefield finalists. In terms of which companies generated the most buzz on Twitter, Disrupt NYC winner Getaround garnered the most mentions with a 38 percent share. Runner-up Sonar was second with 21 percent, with the other runner-up BillGuard getting 17 percent. Another finalist, Do@, edged out BillGuard with 18 percent of mentions.

You can find videos of the finalists and all of Disrupt NYC here.

Source: Disrupt NYC, In Tweets

Visualization of Egyptian Revolution On Twitter

February 15th, 2011 02:33 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “A visualization of the network of retweets with the hashtag #jan25 at February 11 2011, at the time of the announcement of Mubarak’s resignation, is available. The data was collected using Gephi connected to the Twitter Streaming API, converting the users and retweets to nodes and edges in a dynamic network. Though the data represents only approximately 10% of the retweets, it’s interesting to see the large flow of interconnected retweets in just one hour.” I’ve attached the video if you want to watch it.

Source: Visualization of Egyptian Revolution On Twitter

Instagram Taps Hashtags To Bundle Pictures; Brands Quickly Jump On Board

January 27th, 2011 01:00 admin View Comments

Did you come to the Crunchies? If so, did you use Instagram to take a picture? If so, did you hashtag it with anything? If you did, you helped create something cool, you just didn’t realize it.

One of the things that makes Instagram great is its simplicity. You take a picture, add a filter, upload, and then off you go to explore other pictures in the stream. Unfortunately, unless you happen to be looking at the stream around the time a picture is taken, you may never see it. Sure, Twitter, Facebook and other integration points help with this somewhat, but there simply hasn’t been a good way to surface older pictures on Instagram before. A new feature launching today may change that.

Instagram is launching hashtag support with the latest version of the app today. Users of Twitter will be well aware of the hashtag phenomenon, but it actually could end up being more useful in Instagram. The idea is the same: you tag any picture you take with a hashtag you want in the caption or comments for that picture. For example, a couple weeks ago I was on a wine tour in Napa with some friends. Many of us were using Instagram, and began using the #winowagon tag to mark our pictures (classy, I know). This allowed all the pictures to be grouped together and reside on their own special page laid out as small square thumbnails (see image above).

In other words, hashtags on Instagram give you a way to create photo albums. But they’re photo albums that anyone can add any picture to in realtime simply by tagging them. This is particularly useful for events, such as the Crunchies. People didn’t even realize they would be grouping photos together by using the hashtag, they were simply using them to send to Twitter. But now, thanks to this latest version of Instagram, there is a nice Crunchies album (below) to explore on Instagram.

You get to these albums by either clicking on the hashtag under a photo, or there’s a new search area in the profile tab of the app. Each hashtag also has its own RSS feed associated with it, so you can subscribe to certain tags you’re interested in.

And while this is a cool feature for users, brands may love this even more. Already at launch, Charity: Water, Brisk Iced Tea, NPR, Photojojo, and @joshjohnson are all using hashtags for various branding campaigns or events they’re running. For example, at SXSW this year, Brisk is offering to feature the best Instagram photos on their cans. If you use the hashtag #briskpic, you’ll be entered to win. As we’ve previously noted, brands are quickly starting to utilize Instagram in interesting ways.

Personally, I’m just excited that the #winowagon will now live on forever.

You can find the latest version of Instagram here in the App Store.

Source: Instagram Taps Hashtags To Bundle Pictures; Brands Quickly Jump On Board

Apple Buys HP’s Old Campus, HP Buys The Twitter Ads For #Apple

November 30th, 2010 11:47 admin View Comments

Last week, revealed that Apple made a massive land purchase near their current headquarters in Cupertino, CA. They actually bought the old HP campus, which the electronics giant announced they were moving out of to consolidate their offices in nearby Palo Alto. So perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that HP bought something of Apple’s today: their hashtag on Twitter.

Okay, Apple doesn’t technically have any rights to a hashtag containing their name on Twitter. In fact, maybe HP is targeting people tweeting about the fruit. Yeah, right.

As you can see here, the HP Official Store has paid to promote tweets with links to computer sales they’re having to people searching for Apple. They have a group of rotating tweets they’re promoting, but all point to sales they are having at the HP online store — a store which couldn’t look more different from Apple’s.

This kind of rivalry targeting is done all the time on Google and other search engines, but it seems to becoming more of a norm on Twitter as well. A few weeks ago, we saw competing ads on Twitter from Microsoft and Google for mobile.

I wonder how newly prolific Twitter user and Apple executive Phil Schiller likes them apples?

[thanks Kevin]

Source: Apple Buys HP’s Old Campus, HP Buys The Twitter Ads For #Apple