Anyone who pays attention to current events or uses social media knows about the current Ray Rice domestic violence case. When the video of him assaulting his wife in an elevator was released on TMZ a few weeks ago, people were furious and many movements were started. The hashtag #WhyIStayed spread through Twitter where victims of domestic violence spoke out on why they had stayed with the men who abused them. One can only imagine the outrage victims felt after seeing that DiGiorno Pizza used the hashtag to advertise their pizzas.
Due to DiGiorno’s inability to do research on the hashtag before using it, the company offended many people and received many angry tweets back.
DiGiorno Pizza quickly deleted the tweet and apologized to twitter users personally, but the repercussions will stay with the company for a long time.
This is a perfect example of companies not realizing that social media is a resource to be taken seriously in this day and age. It is evident that a lot of organizations don’t properly train their social media managers or are aware of proper usage of hashtags. Hashtags can be very helpful in free advertising for a company and for developing brand image and loyalty.
Another example of a social media is this Instagram post made by Home Depot. The picture is great, but yet again, a company who doesn’t understand the purpose of a hashtag. They not only pick random “trends”, but they overuse hashtags which can be seen as annoying.
Hashtags should be used with a word or phrase that is distinct and should be used to connect the target audience together and with the company. Target did an excellent job at using a hashtag by using “My Kind of Holiday” as a way for customers to post pictures of things that pertain to the holiday season. It is a unique phrase that will allow Target to build a better image, market products and create a community within it’s customers.
Hashtags can help or hurt a company. With proper and creative usage, a company can become a leader in social media integrated brand promotion. If a company doesn’t keep up to date with how to use social media correctly, it not only could prevent promotion, it could hurt the image of the company. Customers will start to think a company is outdated or careless. Therefore, companies need to do their research. They need to hire experts in social media or go through training themselves in order to stay a competitor in an age where consumers take in most of their advertising through social media.