Hashtags are currently used by both big and small businesses to garner more followers and customers as well as immediately improve their standing in the industry.
There are several advantages that come with hashtags which will push your company to new heights. However, some companies had to deal with horror hashtag experiences after these invited the exact opposite impressions of what they envisioned.
The McDonald’s hashtag is probably the most classic example of how hashtag hijacking can turn your marketing scheme into a complete nightmare. The hashtag #McDStories was created with the intention of bringing in loyal customers of the most famous fast food chain in the world to share their great moments at the restaurant.
#McDStories was supposed to promote the widely popular Happy Meal. Instead, people started to hijack the conversation by talking about their worst experiences in the restaurant and posting all the negative feedback that they could imagine. McDonald’s immediately removed the hashtag upon discovering the damage.
British singer Susan Boyle’s marketing team decided to rely on social media to spread publicity regarding her latest album. However, they only noticed the odd construction of the hashtag after it was posted.
Within a few hours, the conversation was filled with jokes and offensive tweets from online users. They immediately removed the hashtag and apologized for the wrong misinterpretation.
Gloria Jeans created the hashtag to hopefully let others know about its community efforts and advocacies. However, online trolls found an opportunity to darken the café’s reputation by sharing that the business is homophobic and should not be supported.
Many complained about the bad-tasting coffee and discouraged others from patronizing the café. Gloria Jeans immediately removed the hashtag upon realizing the hijacking experience.
Urban Outfitters tweeted that regardless of how the terrible storm may be blowing in some parts of the United States, their delivery service remains impeccable. People saw it as a sign of insensitivity and began attacking the company. The company apologized for its posts. The lesson here is how businesses should never take calamities lightly.
Another company also made the mistake of taking disastrous moments lightly when Celeb Boutique posted that #Aurora is trending well because of their Kim Kardashian-inspired #Aurora dress. This was just a few days after the massacre happened.
The company immediately apologized and shared that it should be excused since it wasn’t based in the United States. Online users didn’t take the apology well and bashed the company for several days after the post.
Newsweek released an issue in 2012 with the words Muslim Rage on the cover. It invited social media users to share their insights and opinions on Muslim culture and practices. However, the conversation quickly invited racial tweets and even funny comments about the Muslim community. Newsweek didn’t comment about the hashtag.
There are several lessons to learn to prevent hashtag hijacking. Always be careful when discussing sensitive topics and study the market first before coming up with a great conversation topic.