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Archive for the ‘social media crisis’ tag

What to do when your campaign hashtag gets hijacked on Twitter

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Be thankful that at least you are not this train conductor. (Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery)

You’ve planned a Twitter campaign, and you’ve launched it. Now you’re monitoring the conversation. People are using the hashtag! But wait, they are not using it to talk about what you were hoping they would; they have run wild and taken your hashtag with them! We’ve seen it happen before.

So what can you do? Abandoning Twitter isn’t really an option.

Obviously it’s a social media best practice to have an emergency policy in place, but every situation is unique and entirely impossible to predict. So take a deep breath, and bookmark these tips for how to deal with this kind of situation on the Twitter battlegrounds:

1. Monitor the ongoing incident: ideally you will already have this set up to track how your campaign is doing, but it’s possible users will have altered your hashtag into something else that you should also be tracking. Check out this post we wrote on Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis.

2. To respond, or not to respond? This is tricky. If you have a corporate policy in place you’re expected to follow, obviously it’s in your best interest to do that. Call in everyone in your company who can help you, but start thinking about and answering these questions on your own:

- Will responding do any good? There is a big difference between someone reaching out with a genuine complaint that you’re able to help with, and people en masse trolling your account. In the first case you obviously want to respond and make it right as quickly as possible. In the second case it might be better not to respond at all. Individually replying to every hashtag joke skewering and mocking your campaign might only serve to keep the incident fresh in the eyes of the public and tech news. Sometimes silence is the best policy to let it blow over quickly. Other times approaching the situation with a good sense of humor can win over some (but never all) of the haters.

- Should we consider a Twitter sabbatical? It might be best to lay low for several days to a week or so.

- Should we apologize? This depends on the context of the highjacking of your hashtag: are people just trying to be funny, or are they using it as an opportunity to point out a practice about your company that they don’t like? Address it accordingly.

3. Learn from it: If you’ve set everything up to monitor it beforehand, plus made the necessary adjustments once the incident took off, you should have everything you need to learn from the situation. Did a bad sentiment toward your brand already exist that your PR team should have been aware of? Was it just a complete fluke? Use the experience to craft a more in-depth social media crisis policy.

Overall? Don’t panic too much. It will be yesterday’s news soon enough, and chances are a little controversy won’t be enough to shake your most loyal brand advocates.

Written by Sarah

August 6th, 2013 at 9:29 am

Using TweetReach to monitor a social media crisis

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This has not, to put it mildly, been a good week for Paula Deen.

On Wednesday of this week- June 19th- The National Enquirer announced they had video of a deposition where Deen admitted to making racist jokes, among other unsavory allegations. (You can read more about it in The Huffington Post or TIME; NPR has a link to the entire transcript) As is now par for the course, the conversation about it exploded on Twitter.

We’ve discussed before how you can use TweetReach historical analytics to research a past social media crisis and see how it unfolded, how the parties involved reacted, and how they could have changed their decisions to better fit the situation. If you’re in the midst of experiencing a crisis firsthand, however, you can do more than panic and go silent. (A practice we do not recommend. The conversation is already happening; you should be a part of it. More on that in a minute.)

The conversation around Deen was huge: 93.7k contributors sent 233.1k tweets with an overall reach of 73.6 million. Reach spiked on the 19th with the birth of the hashtag #PaulasBestDishes, a riff on her wishing viewers “Love and Best Dishes” on her show:

PBD 1

Conversation on the 19th spiked up to 49.8M of the 73.6M total reach, or nearly 68%. 

Situations like this are not easy to approach and monitor- especially if you’re already feeling panicky- but our tools can help, and you have several options.

  1. Run a snapshot report to get a quick idea of the conversation that’s happening; this will give you a better idea of what people are actually saying, rather than what an online article might tell you they’re saying.
  2. Set up a Tracker with a TweetReach Pro account to capture all tweets around the subject moving forward, so you don’t miss any new developments.
  3. Consider a historical backfill, if the activity on Twitter came to your attention a few hours after the controversy started.
  4. Be careful and inclusive with the terms you use in your Tracker or snapshot report: Paula Deen, for instance, had a lot of people joining in the conversation but misspelling her name as Paula Dean, with an A. In a time like this it’s especially crucial to make sure you capture all the information you can around the conversation. We tracked both spellings of Deen’s name, and these other terms, including her Twitter handle, the hashtag that people were using, and her first and last name run together, an unofficial Deen Twitter handle that exists*:

    “Paula Deen”
    “Paula Dean”
    @Paula_Deen
    #paulasbestdishes
    pauladeen

You can see a full list of what you can search for on TweetReach here.

*This one didn’t include the “@” symbol because we didn’t want to catch any tweets coming from that account, only those who used the term while talking about her. 

Once you’ve gathered this information, you’ll be able to pair it with the crisis communication plan you hopefully already have outlined. If you don’t have one outlined ahead of time, you’ll be as informed as possible to act and avoid over-or-under-reacting to the situation. Are people calling for a certain kind of apology? Is there a small, but vocal group of people who are truly enraged that you can directly address? Are most people just passing the same few tweets around?

We said it earlier and we’ll say it again: the conversation is already happening. You should be a part of it. Otherwise, others will speak for you:

PBD 2

Basic tweet stats in the conversation around Deen. 

You want to respond to the conversation that’s actually happening, not one that has been filtered and presented to you through other means. While the big news and gossip sites were some of the most tweeted URLs and the top contributors to the conversation around Deen, the most retweeted tweets** came from regular Twitter users. If you were to solely go off of the information in those articles, you would be missing out on the most important participants in the conversation: the general public, which includes the people who are already your customers, who have been in the past, and whom you may hope to reach in the future.

PBD Top Contributors

 

Top contributors to the tracked conversation terms, and the top URLs shared. 

PBD 3

Arm yourself with good information, and act accordingly. It’s not something anyone wants to have to deal with, but it happens. Be prepared, and have a plan in place. We can be a part of that plan if you choose.

**We are not sharing the most retweeted tweets due to their content. You can search “#PaulasBestDishes” on Twitter to see them and others. 

Written by Sarah

June 21st, 2013 at 2:58 pm