Social Media seems to have turned a lot of what I considered the creative world of business into extreme short hand and taking the path of least resistance. And who can blame businesses for this? I certainly see no fault in trying reach your target audience in the most effective, be it cost or result based, way possible. But the press release, brand identities and marketing strategy all seem to be defined by what comes after this symbol:
The hashtag has really become the basis for how companies try to engage their audiences. It strikes me as the most embraced portion of the social media formula. Whenever I see a new campaign form for businesses it seems to start around the hashtag. It’s not a poor strategy. It engages audiences and its an effective word of mouth tool. It does have it’s risks however. The McDonalds campaign that used the hashtag “#McDStories” wasn’t an ill-conceived idea. Let your customers tell their stories. When you consider how many people go to McDonalds on a given day, month or year you’d think there’d be extremely creative and entertaining adventures that could challenge the screenplay for the next Harold & Kumar movie. That wasn’t precisely what they got. Instead the campaign backfired and instead of positive tales that could fill a book they received horror stories that could fill volumes. That’s what makes the realm of social media such an engaging one. Your audience can and will decide what your hashtag campaign is despite whatever your intentions are.
So while Press Releases, Advertising Campaigns and Brand Identities are being thought up in 160 characters or less, the art form is still there. However instead of a creative writing test to determine who they hire, businesses may want to consider employing Ju-Jitsu experts, because social media, in a major way, is about directing they masses’ momentum. You have to be careful now when you think you have a knock out idea, you aren’t instead lining yourself up to a punch to the gut.