I’d take a double-edged sword over a single any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
I’ve heard brands say this many times. One example, Supportourtroops.org, said the #supportourtroops hashtag wasn’t usable because so many people had taken it and used it for their own agenda.
Nike SB launched the hashtag, #skateeverydamnday. Years later it is still going strong without any help from the brand. But it’s not Nike’s anymore, right? No, but it can be a part of the brand again.
The key is bringing the UGC back in to the brand. It’s something I do every day at Postano. We make a platform that allows brands to aggregate, curate and display UGC in their own sites and events.
So, obviously I believe hashtags can be owned. I’ve seen it happen with dramatic effect. The key is to showcase the content in highly-branded ways on owned media. Websites, jumbotrons, video, displays everywhere.
Hashtags are the thing we use to attribute our content to a brand or idea. We use hashtags to cheer and @-mentions to jeer. Brands that work with Postano are using hashtags to rally their audience behind them. We enable them to curate and ask for permission to use content. It’s really amazing.
Of course, this isn’t just a plug. I firmly believe in the hashtag and it’s ability to transform the way brands interact with their fans. If they figure it out.
For many brands, hashtag campaigns are a bust. Epic failures are everywhere. That is because they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the hashtag and how people use them to communicate.