You have read up on hashtags, learned about hashtag marketing, and you have even figured out the perfect hashtag for your campaign. Confident that you are well prepared, you finally launch your very own hashtag marketing campaign. But there’s one more thing that you should at least be giving a cursory thought: People can blatantly use your hashtag to post negative things. It’s called hijacking and it happens all the time.
However, the important question is how you deal with it. Maybe don’t do it the way SeaWorld did just recently. When Tweeters hijacked their #AskSeaWorld campaign with critical questions concerning SeaWorld’s treatment of animals, the pressure got too much for SeaWorld’s social media peeps. In fact, as these screenshots from Mashable show, they completely lost it:
Not only does that come across as childish behaviour, and bad digital citizenship, it’s also the worst move in regards to customer service. SeaWorld chose not to take those complaints, and ultimately their own potential customers, seriously. Instead of dealing with criticism in a constructive way they belittled people. Not cool.
Hijacked hashtag? It’s not the end of the (sea)world
Ultimately, social media opens up another way for people to complain, and companies need to be aware that customer service extends to Twitter, Facebook & Co. Granted, things rarely get so badly out of hand, but it’s generally smart to be prepared.
So here are some general tips on how to deal with customer feedback on Twitter.
Twitter is a fast tool, so monitor your hashtag, your @Replies and your @Mentions diligently and answer any questions or complaints asap. No one expects you to be on social media 24/7 but make sure you check in more frequently when you have a campaign going.
Don’t be rude
Take the complaints seriously, don’t downplay the Tweeters’ concerns. And if someone gives you positive feedback, it’s considered good form to thank them, maybe throw a favourite their way. But you don’t have to retweet every single one of the praise tweets like a robot.
Speaking of robots: Don’t be a robot
Twitter is personal, so you’d do well to approach each complaint separately. YOU might be reading the same complaint for the nth time, but each of those people have only sent it to you once. Don’t get annoyed. Reply to them all, separately, and with equal amounts of respect. Try not to copy/paste the same answer over and over again.
Claim your space
While you should listen and react to feedback in a timely manner, you are of course entitled to keep the tone positive on your own website. Using a hashtag aggregator like Walls.io will allow you to moderate abusive posts from your campaign’s microsite.
Keep your cool
Please, don’t lose your head like the SeaWorld guys did. Don’t take it personally. Instead, take a deep breath and think before you hit reply. If you feel like your head is in danger of exploding, have someone else take over for a while. They’ll come at it with a fresh brain and will be calmer in their responses.
Know when to let it go
Once you feel like someone is purposefully not accepting your reply/explanation/apology and they just keep coming back to bash you – step away. Don’t get into a Twitter war with anyone. It’s never worth it and usually does a lot more damage than good.
And keep in mind that even a complaint can turn into a great marketing opportunity. Just apply some humour where applicable, like Sainsbury’s did 😉
@TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.
— Sainsbury's (@sainsburys) January 10, 2014
@TeaAndCopy If I'm herring you right, you're looking to eel our relationship. I'll tell the store to find the shelf & fillet. David.
— Sainsbury's (@sainsburys) January 10, 2014
Actually, we think you’re pretty much ready for your own hashtag campaign now. But, just in case, we will probably continue you to give you pointers and tell you about neat little social media tricks on this very blog here. And if you’re stuck you can, of course, always holla at our Walls.io support team and they’ll help you out. And yeah, we’re on Twitter as well.
More from our series about hashtag campaigns:
- The History of Hashtags
- What is a hashtag campaign and what can I do with it?
- How to Find the Perfect Hashtag for Your Marketing Campaign
- Back up your hashtag campaign with good customer service
Pssst, you just read this one 😉