When Piggybacking on Trending Hashtags Goes Wrong

Twitter marketingWhen it comes to social media sites, Twitter is in the top three with Facebook and YouTube. Anyone who's serious about promoting a business, product, service, brand, etc. knows that Twitter is a powerful tool for advertising. One great feature that Twitter has is hashtags. These are clickable words, phrases or sentences that begin with the pound (#) sign. They're great for organizing content and following real-time discussions on a particular topic.

However, not everyone recognizes the power of hashtags when it comes to marketing. They can help you reach out to users outside of your current set of followers. They can also help brand your product or service in a unique way. Many companies and organizations have benefited from the attention generated by their hashtags that became popular enough to fall under Twitters "Trending Topics" section.

But you don’t have to wait for your own hashtags to become a trending topic. One popular tactic marketers do is to use trending hashtags to drive attention to their own product or service.

A word of warning: Piggybacking on trending hashtags, when not done right, can bring negative attention that can hurt whatever it is that you're promoting. Look at two of these well-known hashtag mishaps and learn from their mistakes.

1) After the recent Colorado theater shootings, users went on Twitter to express their horror and sorrow over the tragedy. #Aurora quickly became a trending topic as people posted tweets relating to the incident. Then this tweet appeared:

highjacking trending hashtags