By Published On: October 13, 2011

It was the public relations debacle heard ’round the Twitterverse.  On the day of the Casey Anthony verdict, Entenmann’s, a company that manufactures and delivers sweet baked goods, was using the common strategy of adding trending hashtags to get attention for its brand.


Unfortunately, in this case using #notguilty about the tasty treats was linked in the hearts and the minds of people to a child’s death.  It was so intensely derided that it spawned thousands of calls for a boycott.

The most surprising part of this public relations tale of woe is that Entenmann’s had a social media agency doing the messaging and not an intern with no Twitter experience.  In fact, this was a mistake CAUSED by the common practice of using trending topics, even if irrelevant, to call attention to your brand.

To help you manage your reputation on Twitter, either on your own or with an agency, here are some helpful hints:

1. Treat Trending Hashtags with Respect

When you use a trending hashtag to promote your brand or product, make sure it is relevant, or at least inoffensive, to the people who are following the topic.  You can be creative without crossing a line.  For example #Bieber could be a fun way to promote a haircut or #WorldSeries can promote a baseball beer special in your sports bar.

Before using any trending hashtag, be sure to do your due diligence and see how it is being used that day in context.  On some days relatively innocent hashtags will take on definitions that would never occur to you unless you look.

Implementing controversial hashtags in Twitter messaging is always a mistake.  Even if your audience might find your wordplay amusing, the fallout could lead to major consequences that are not worth the short term pay -off.

2. Search Engine Optimization & Hashtag Strategy Are Kissing Cousins

On Twitter, there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to keywords in your hashtags. With all the time and energy you’ve poured into your SEO strategy, you probably have a very good idea of your targeted keywords.

Your SEO keywords will serve you just as well on Twitter.  However, you will need to be more selective in choosing your top keywords for Twitter due to lack of space within the 144 character micro-blogging limit.  We recommend testing different combinations of your keywords to see which produce the best result for your brand and/or product.

Whether you hire an agency to do your messaging or have a communications person in-house, make sure that they are utilizing the keywords and tracking their effectiveness.

3. Follow Your Own Brand

The number of marketing people who are not engaged with their brand on Twitter is still higher than those unengaged on Facebook.  We realize that Twitter can be noisy and unorganized, but doing a daily Twitter search on your brand gives you insight into your clients’ perspectives and how effective your social marketing is working on a grassroots level.

At d.trio marketing group, we are always happy to sit down and talk with you about your social media strategy and how it can fit into your overall marketing plan. Let us know if we can help!  

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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