In a world where even the hardiest of social presences can go up in flames in an instant, researching what your brand broadcasts has never been more important.
This is evident nowhere more so than Twitter – where the hashtag reigns supreme. It may seem like a quick-fix to jump on a trending hashtag and get your handle recognised among the masses but, unless it’s a relevant trend and you have done the extensive research, you must resist the urge.
Of course, some brands know exactly how to capitalise on a trend – Innocent Smoothies, for example, recently live-tweeted the Eurovision Song Contest, focussing entirely on humour, and ending on this beautifully honest post:
What a magical night. Remember to buy smoothies, everyone. Our boss is going to be asking some serious questions on Monday #Eurovision
— innocent drinks (@innocent) May 14, 2016
However, some brands take the lazy route of finding a tenuous link between their product and the current trend. Sometimes it’s harmless (if a little transparent):
When Habitat first got its Twitter up and running, it took to tweeting completely irrelevant posts about their sales and using whatever hashtag happened to be trending at the time. It eventually received heavy criticism after using the #Iran hashtag and using the unrest in the Middle East to try and sell furniture. Supposedly the person responsible was disassociated with the company soon after.
The following posts were attempts to capitalise on hashtags being used in relation to crises, and left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth:
Clothes store Celeb Boutique thoughtlessly threw this tweet together in the wake of the mass shooting in a cinema in Aurora.
Whereas Gap received heavy criticism after suggesting people in danger during Hurricane Sandy spend their time indoors…shopping on their website. Ouch.
The worst example we’ve seen, however, is the astronomical clanger that was the Di Giornio Pizza piggyback earlier this year.
After #WhyIStayed reached the top trend, Di Giornio posted this tweet in an attempt to join in with whatever the trend happened to be that day – a reasonable idea – overlooking the root of the trend. The hashtag was, in fact, being used by victims of domestic abuse in order to tell their story.
Rather than posting a light-hearted pizza-based tweet, Di Giornio ended up offending a lot of people.