With the Super bowl still fresh in the back of our minds, think back to the advertisements. One distinguishing feature that almost every advertisement had was a hashtag. Whether it is #clydesdales or #betterwithmms or #infinateanswers. These tags were everywhere!
These hashtags are more than a mere blurb at the end of the commercial; they are a gateway into a conversation between the company and the customer. They allow customers to tweet thoughts about the company, the product, and even the commercial. Many of the hashtags sponsored in the commercials were meant to prompt a conversation, between customers and with the company.
For anyone foreign to Twitter, this post might sound like a jumble of made up jargon and crazy symbols. To advertisers and companies, however, it is a bridge into a whole new style of communication. Never before have companies been able to send and receive such instant feedback with customers. It allows them to take suggestions, make changes, and deal with any crisis situations, almost immediately.
One way customers can take advantage of the hashtag is by simply using it with the company’s name when they tweet about the company. Any tech savvy company will have a communications team on hand to reply and interact with these customers. I know on multiple occasions I have voiced my displeasure over a product via twitter and kindly hash tagged the company’s name within the tweet.
One unique example I can provide on how powerful the hashtag really is, is this summer, while on a road trip with some friends. We were driving through Pennsylvania and stopped off at the gas station chain Sheetz. After realizing how expansive and truly incredible the options this gas station provided with not only petrol, but food and other conveniences, my friend decided to tweet about it. He had no intentions beyond letting his followers know how satisfied he was, he did however provide a #sheetz hashtag when he tweeted it out. Within an hour or two he had a personal reply from the company twitter handle thanking him for his business and saying how glad they were to serve him. A simple act of great customer service, but upon reading it, he stated how truly blown away he was that a company would do that. Sheetz just earned themselves not only a new fan, but a great customer service story that has been retold dozens of times already.
Now my personal anecdote may seem like a very small example, yet without a reply, my friend may have just passed the next Sheetz without another thought. Their simple act earned them a great reputation not only with my friend but also with many of the people to whom the story has been told. Companies who take advantage of this have a huge opportunity to spread free word of mouth publicity from the satisfied customers. So next time you see one of these hashtags at the end of the commercial, tweet it out, you never know who might see it, and what the response will be. As for companies, start a company hashtag, or even search your company name. A simple “thank you” reply can go a long way in the eyes of a customer.
Written by Cory Adamczak
Cory Adamczak is a Senior at Canisius College majoring in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. He is also an intern at Nichols School. @adamcza2 on Twitter