Let me be clear. Successfully hijacking or newsjacking (our internal definition – attempting to tie or take over a current news topic for the purpose of marketing your brand or cause) a hashtag is not easy, but neither is social media. Many will and can take on sharing a popular hashtag with the hope of going viral. However, experts know most things posted by novices and even experts will not make it outside of their current active fan base, especially when the fan base is initially small with no engagement from influencers. Often times the social share one does, will not be shared to the point of great success. To make matters worse, doing it wrong accomplishes viral status, but in negative ways. In fact, the real challenge of hijacking a hashtag is not being trolled after attempting to be relevant.
Now with that said, I know these little truths will not stop non-experts from trying to hijack a hashtag.
Truly the following tips are not just for making a slam dunk with hijacking a hashtag like a boss, but for being successful in getting your content shared online. Whenever items we share online for customers fall flat, I can 85% of the time tie it back to skipping one of the three principles below.
Generate good content. You cannot merely copy the original topic or post. You must create the series of clever words or images tying your brand to the hashtag. Remember the slam dunk Oreo made during the Super Bowl? Original good content for a current new story.
Be authentic. Imagine the National Rifle Association suddenly taking an interest in climate change or abortion rights. Some things just do not fit. People will not positively bite on your posts that are not authentic to your typical statements or mission. Be true to your voice and vision to dominate your real interests.
Stay relevant. Don’t pick topics not related to your industry. For instance, with McDonald’s #AllDayBreakfast, Denny’s and IHOP showed they were not impressed in a cheeky manner that had great publicity success. A plumber attempting to jump in and take over the interest of fans from either of these restaurants would more than likely be ignored or even worse trolled for attempting to jump into the mix.
While it is not easy to knock it out of the park on social media, you at least have access to news 24/7 to try, try, try again. (Please note: I would not recommend focusing only on pushing someone else’s story, but to make your own like a real boss.) Again, be prepared for backlash if you get it wrong.
So, are you ready to hijack a hashtag or two? Do you have a story to share on your past experience in doing so? Share your experience below and you could possibly be included in a future post.