Home > Uncategorized > Choose your Twitter hashtags carefully…

Choose your Twitter hashtags carefully…

In my 9-5 life I am an event manager for a local non-profit organization.  Always trying to stay hip, current and one step ahead of our ‘competitors’ (in this case competitors are other organizations our donor demographic like to support) we’ve been evolving our communication strategies with the times.  However, this event season is the first that we have adopted “Twitter” as a communication tool in the 6 month marketing plan leading up to our two large fundraising events in the spring.

Our internal acronyms for our events are ME and WDP.  ME standing for Men’s Event and WDP standing for Women’s Dinner Party.  It made perfect sense to us in July to adopt the hashtags #ME2012 and #WDP2012 for the two events respectively.  Fast forward 2 months and we have great plans for these Twitter feed, for example the Twitter feed links (and rotates) to the event home webpage.  The hashtags are printed on all our marketing materials which include 10,000 save the date cards, a 5,000 piece mailing, flyers, emails, Facebook pages etc.  Plus we hope to display the Twitter feeds on various visual displays including TV screens and huge video screens the night of the events.

But guess what has happen in the last 2 weeks?  I’m sure you know what’s coming!  A number of people have started using “our” hashtag #ME2012.  Of course I use the word “our” facetiously, no one can own a hashtag.  Right?  But what are we to do when someone whose purpose for tweeting is so diametrically opposed to our company’s mission, posts under the same tag.  I am not for one moment saying that these Tweeters are doing this deliberately to slander or even inconvenience us.  However, these tweets have a political angle (Vote for ME in 2012!) – and both the political views of these Tweeters and the sarky (and often hilarious) retorts of their opponents are not ones we would like to associated with in the great big cyber world.

While this situation is coincidental, it has made me wonder what a company response should be if and when something like this is done deliberately and with malice.  For twitter to be an honest conversation the conversation must remain open and two-sided.  As we discussed in class a few weeks ago to alter one side of the conversation is to remove the authenticity of the conversation.  But to leave it unaltered?  Why should I allow people who don’t know us to harm the reputation of my organization which is in the business of helping others?

Like I mentioned, we just discovered this over the last few days, so I’m not sure what our long term strategy will be.  But I have learned a lot for from this experience already…  Number 1, we should not look at hashtags as having a long life span.  Number 2, if you insist one having a hashtag that will have a relatively long lifespan then make is a little different and off-kilter to increase it’s chances of remaining unique.  Number 3, think very carefully about what content you want to print on 10,000 cards.

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