Are Hashtags the Correct ROI?
There has been a lot of chirping on media around guaranteeing trending campaigns on twitter to large corporates. Digital agencies approach corporates to run a twitter campaign guaranteeing them X number of tweets and corresponding traction via trending hashtags. The marketing heads in such corporates get lured by the outreach guaranteed by such agencies and splash big bucks to get the digital space flooded with their campaign. But, does a trending hashtag deliver results for the brand?

The effectiveness of such campaigns is a big question! IMHO (In my humble opinion), such usiness models don’t work, either for the brands or the agencies, as they miss the critical social networking part in their hunger for social media attention. Social media enables potential and current users to have a conversation with a brand. If that fact gets overlooked in the rush to get social media influencers to engage and get the campaign trending, then the key element of connecting with the target demographics becomes a missed opportunity. Digital marketing campaigns with rich creative content, aimed at triggering a proclivity to buy the product, service or point of view or at least add on to the brand’s recall, needs to be aimed at the right audience.

The return on investment for the corporates then goes beyond the engagement numbers and over to the demographics and the quality of the engagement, as the story or narrative that got built around the trend.
Agencies that exist solely to create trends are exploiting not just the ill informed corporates but also twitter as a social platform. Though twitter is aware of such exploitation and has the necessary rules in place.
Twitter specifically states that the following behaviour could cause your account to be filtered from search or even suspended:

  • Adding one or more topics/hashtags to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search
  • Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending or trending higher.
  • Tweeting about each trend in order to drive traffic to your profile or website, especially when mixed with advertising.
  • Listing trends in combination with a request to be followed.
  • Tweeting about a trend and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
    The effectiveness of such rules on twitter and the validation of such claims is always a grey area, similar to the trending campaigns orchestrated by such agencies.

I, as an informed trainee learning the business of building brands through conversations on social media, tfeel that just minting money from large corporates for a quantitative result is not a sustainable brand strategy. Rather, the approach for a long term association with brands is to propose campaigns to narrow the gap between the brand and its stakeholders, brand consulting to achieve competitive advantage over other players in the industry and to improve brand perception amongst the target audience specifically on instant engagement platforms, like twitter and beyond.

Nishant Bindraban