HashtagGate

It’s easy to make mistakes in this business, the trick is dealing with them effectively.

I made one myself the other day when I decided, in my wisdom, that the attendees to a couple of high-profile Scottish tweetups would benefit from reading my latest blog post. Before my rational brain had time to call a halt to proceedings, I’d already hurled the link out to Twitter, with the hashtags #EdCM and #themeet140.

This is a bad thing to do.

Within minutes I had a number of DMs and messages questioning what relevance it had. What made the whole thing so uncomfortable for me was that I didn’t have a good answer. I was just trying something out, something which I hadn’t really thought through.

There are some hashtags which are for nothing more than sharing links and pushing your own content. Loads in fact. Whatever you do, don’t confuse these ones with those which are genuinely for like-minded chat. That’s not fair to the people who use the hashtag and it certainly won’t do your reputation any favours.

In the end, I openly admitted my mistake. It’s spam, plain and simple. If I’d ignored the feedback and simply not done it again, that would not have been enough. I have a reputation of my own to protect and an apology was the only way to go some way towards a repair.

That was just one small mistake though. Imagine the carnage you are causing to your brand identity if you are constantly overstepping the mark in social media. We see it all the time, the auto-DMs, the repurposing of content, the zero-engagement approach etc.

Take my advice. Now is the time to pause and assess just what you are doing. From there work out how you can do it better. And move on.

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