As #notguilty was a trending hashtag being used in direct relation to the Casey Anthony trial, Entenmann’s landed itself in a PR firestorm after this tweet. The company has since apologized and claimed the hashtag use was unintentional; however, many accused Entenmann’s of taking advantage of a serious situation to advertise its products. Only time will tell how badly this tweet will affect Entenmann’s.
Understanding how to properly use hashtags is the best way to avoid turning your company into a #hashtagfail, so here are a few etiquette tips:
Know how a #hashtag is being used
Using a hashtag correctly and in the right context will help keep your company out of a storm of bad publicity- a la Kenneth Cole. When in doubt, don’t use the hashtag at all.
Don’t invent your own unnecessary hashtags
Just as you should avoid putting out useless content, your followers will appreciate it if you avoid creating unnecessary hashtags like #iamhungry. Not only does it dumb down your brand, but it can also be perceived as a marketing ploy to enter the trending topics for no good reason.
Choose your hashtags carefully
If you decide to use a hashtag, such as for a new product you’re launching, be sure to use the right words to avoid any confusion or negative connotations. Hertfordshire Police ended up creating a bomb scare in the UK when it failed to follow this point.
Of course, the best advice I can give is to always be diligent about checking what you write before you hit the send button and to have a solid crisis communication in place for handling bad PR.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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