Social Media Blog

#ThanktheQueen – what happens when you lose control of your hashtag

Posted by Rita Khodeir on 24 Sep 2015

Many businesses decide to engage with their target audience by way of creating a particular trend topic on social media platforms. Whilst it is a great opportunity for businesses to develop a personal relationship with the public, as we’ve seen far too many times before, there is a significant potential for it to backfire.

#Thankthequeen was a twitter hash tag created by the UK Daily Telegraph to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s record breaking reign of 63 years. Tweeters were encouraged to express their gratitude to Her Majesty, with the best tweets rewarded with publication on the Daily Telegraph’s website. Whilst the intention was to praise the Queen, online trolls quickly hijacked the discussion, turning the hashtag into an opportunity to poke fun.

Some took the opportunity to criticise the Queen’s age…

 

Other’s condemned the privileges of royalty…

 

Some even weren’t sure what they were thankful for…

 

And the rest missed the point completely…
 

So what can be learnt from this #socialmediafail?

  1. Consider your audience – Hash tags on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook (if settings are public) and Instagram can be accessed by anyone. You may think you are targeting a specific audience, but in reality you are broadcasting to anyone with Internet access. Consequently, the possibility of attracting unwanted attention is significantly greater.
  2. Keep up with trending topics – In the above example, the Queen and her social media team played no hand in the Daily Telegraph’s stunt however, it was her image alone that was damaged. Keeping up-to-date with trending topics is important so you know what is being said about your brand. Early intervention is vital in ensuring that further damage to your brand is not likely. Remember it is not always your own actions that threaten your brand!
  3. Think twice before starting a discussion – Is the discussion you’re hoping to achieve likely to cause controversy? If it is more than what your brand can withstand, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue it.
  4. You’re not always in control – As illustrated in the above example, the Daily Telegraph had positive intentions in the creation of the #ThanktheQueen discussion but rapidly lost control of the situation. The Daily Telegraph were unable to cease the posts or trending topic on twitter.

This #socialmediafail is a timely reminder that what is written on the Internet, has the potential to stick around for much longer than you would like it to.

If you’re unsure about how to engage with your online following, or you are looking to protect your business' reputation on social media, contact our Social Media and Digital Law Team: