3 Simple Mistakes that Kill Social TV Promotions with a Single ‘#’ Hashtag

Social TV Hashtag FAIL

…And how to avoid them.

It’s a fact that nearly everyone knows what a ‘#hashtag’ is, and that nearly everyone uses one.

But… not everyone knows how to use them correctly – especially when it comes to promoting a TV programme or running a social media campaign.

3 Common Social TV Hashtag Mistakes

1) Not having one –It seems overly obvious, but not using a Hashtag to promote your project means missing out on a direct-to-audience model of advertising and closes the door on a whole world of audience engagement.

How to avoid this – One of the many benefits of the Hashtag is the simplicity of placing ‘#yourhashtag’ onto an advert/poster/video/ website etc. Find where most of YOUR audience is (or will be) and make sure the Hashtag reaches all of them!

Case Study – According to Nielson, the 2013 Superbowl (a televised American Football event), pulled on average 108.7 million viewers, and generated over 26.1 million tweets from 5.3 million people during airing. However, in terms of Superbowl Ad spots (the Holy Grail for Brand Advertising) 58% of televised ads contained a Hashtag; meaning that a specific Hashtag reached 108 million people! 41% of the ads also contained an URL; however, there was a 42% increase in tweets for ads containing a Hashtag.

2) Choose your name wisely – The simpler the better! Again, this may seem obvious, but the Internet is literally swarming with Hashtag names gone wrong, and, unless you intentionally want to use this for comedic effect, you don’t want your Hashtag to be remembered for the wrong reason.

Case Studies – The obvious example here is the infamous #susanalbumparty (intended to promote Susan’s Boyle’s album), but other unforgettable examples include #Penisland (actually a stationary shop “Pen Island”) and #PowerGenitalia for an Italian based power provider (although this was later revealed to be a spoof). The point, however, remains valid.

How to avoid this – Other then PROOF READING your Hashtag name, care should be taken to ensure that the name relates well to the campaign and clearly defines the outcome of the Hashtag, as seen in #13hourdevour example in the next point.

3) Not fuelling audience activity – It is unreasonable to assume that an audience will see your Hashtag, and continue to engage with it with no benefit other then to share their own opinions about your campaign. They need more! They need something YOU have given them to engage with, and buzz about to their friends. Do not create a Hashtag for the sake of it! Make it serve a purpose.

How to avoid this – Use a Hashtag to fuel a conversation, or poll, ask the users to submit a photo or video, or for full effect, use the Hashtag to organize an EVENT. Rally your supporters in a community-based event, a public screening or a Q&A with the cast. Whatever it is, make sure your audience ENGAGES with the project!

Case Study – In anticipation for the latest season of Hannibal, on Feb 23rd 2014, NBC in association with Netflix, organised a 13-hour binge-watching event, which encouraged fans to watch the entire first season of the show in a single sitting. The event was organised around the Hashtag #13hourdevour and fans were encourage to tweet their support throughout. The event also consisted on live Q&A with the lead actor, conversations with the show’s producers, and competitions to win several signed scripts.  The event quickly became a “Trending” topic and engaged thousands of fans.

Choosing Your Weapon

There is a war being fought everyday on social media by broadcasters and television producers alike; and the Hashtag has become their weapon of choice.

Do you know of any common Hashtag Mistakes or examples of #genius? Or maybe you just know more examples of Hashtag name fails… like #NowthatCHERsdead/ #NowThatchersdead and the classic #therapist…

Drop a comment and let us know.

Lee Robinson
About the author

23yr old film nerd, comic book and video game geek and all round Transmedia Fanatic…Oh, and I also have a 1st degree in Media, Writing and Production. More here...
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