Recently, most people have adopted the assumption that social media is slowly becoming the more popular media and that traditional media (print, Television, and radio) is dying out. But what if I were to tell you that these types of platform are just evolving the news into something bigger and better? Social media and traditional media can and have been able to coexist.
Now, this is not to say there are not some stark contrast to these types. Social media is immediate, two-way communication and it is literally everywhere. But, with everything, there are some drawbacks in allowing everyone to be writers. The credibility of the source material on social media can be called into question. Traditional media is viewed as more credible and constructed professionally for the audience. But, traditional media has to be made ahead of time and it won’t hit the audiences near as fast as social media. What has been happening is the combination of social and traditional to give audiences immediate and professional content.
Further, traditionally used to be a one-way communication platform. With the introduction of social media, a conversation can begin with stories and stories can continue to be updated. Traditional media is not the only one that benefits from this union of platforms. Social media can utilize traditional media stories and can be promoted via the traditional media outlets.
Television shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Big Bang Theory have been able to integrate social media into their episodes by posting Tweets during the shows airing and asks questions from audiences, continuing the conversation. The Big Bang Theory is going as far as can even win rewards for liking, commenting, and sharing about the show. Radio stations now promote ticket giveaways via Twitter and hold social media polls to be discussed for on-air breaks.
So, instead of thinking that having both of these mediums would result in a funeral, we should probably be planning a wedding.
Businessman drawing Hashtags concept on blurred abstract background
Hashtags are now an interictal part of any social media campaign whether you are on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. If it is done right, you can get like-minded audiences who will want to see your content but don’t know about your brand to gain awareness. Aside from that, it is a great way to continue to keep your brand relevant by relating your brand with a piece of news or a trending topic. However, some instances people have had found hashtags that seem to work perfect to their brand, but don’t take the time to find out what the hashtag is used for. This can get you publicity for your brand, but for all the wrong reason and put you in crisis mode. Here are a few examples as to what I mean:
Sometimes, it isn’t so much the hashtag’s use as it is the timing. In 2011, Entenmann’s decided to create a playful Tweet attempting to crowdsource stories of people indulging in their favorite treats and they used #notguilty in the tweet. Now, any other day would have probably been fine, but this was the exact same day as the verdict of the Casey Anthony trial. The Tweet quickly was trending before the brand could take it down and apologize to its followers.
In 2014, DiGiorno pizza made a faux pas that has been taught in Public Relations class as a cautionary tale. With the knowledge that pizza is a reason to stick around a party or maybe a reason to head to the break room, the company Tweeted out “He had pizza #WhyIStayed”. Seemingly innocuous tweet with a humorous sounding hashtag, right? Well, your decision might change when you find out #WhyIstayed is for people sharing reasons why people stayed in abusive relationships. This little gem of knowledge changed that humorous sounding Tweet into a careless use of a community hashtag that helps people in traumatic situations, and that is how it was received.
Of course, these brands have the best of intentions at heart, but even as recent as last year, we are still seeing some problems with Tweets and Hashtags. Sometimes, it’s not so much the hashtag as the message around it, take for example Vera Bradley’s #itsgoodtobeagirl campaign. By itself, the hashtag works well, but there was room for error in generalizing an entire gender this way. Unfortunately, Vera Bradley took it a step further with messages like “That moment when a gentleman offers you his seat #itsgoodtobeagirl,” which faced major criticism for being sexist.
So, as growing companies attempting to stay relevant and get our messages in front of customers, are hashtags worth it? Of course. But, it is also worth taking the five minutes to check what your hashtag is used for BEFORE sending a Tweet out, check to see if your timing is right, and knowing how you are going to frame the message.