7 ways to survive hashtag hijacking
Businesses often use a slogan or a hashtag that is very specific to their particular business (example Nike; #JustDoIt). Once a slogan or a hashtag becomes well know and popular it is often used by others for different things. This is called hashtag hijacking and it happens all the time, every single day. Hashtags are hijacked, either by accident or on purpose. Do you know what to do if your hashtag gets hijacked?
Since hashtags are not ideas or inventions subject to patent protection, and are too short to qualify for copyright protection, your best bet for securing rights to #thisisawesome is through trademark protection. Most people however simply “claim” a hashtag as their own without trademarking it, which means that everyone else is free to use it.
Here are 7 ways to survive hashtag hijacking:
1. Do your research before you start claiming a hashtag
If you want to come up with a hashtag for your business, do your homework. Make sure the hashtag is not related to another business so you don’t have to worry about using someone else’s active hashtag.
2. Really think about what you are doing if you hijack a hashtag
If you use someone else’s active hashtags you can expect social media backlash from followers that will be less than thrilled. If they are used to searching for that particular hashtag and other content starts popping up you are inviting negative comments which is probably the opposite result of your objective.
3. Be nice when you see someone hijacking your hashtag
Not all hashtags are hijacked on purpose. Sometimes it’s a simple mistake or people do not know proper hashtag etiquette. In that case, there is no reason to get upset and let is escalate. Sometimes hashtag hijacking happens by accident and often the person doing it is willing to change to another hashtag. Using someone else’s well-established hashtag can only lead to confusion for them and often they do not realize they are actually freely promoting your business.
4. Consider the option of sharing and collaborating
If you have been using a community hashtag that is broad in nature (#essentialoils for example), you may want to consider not trying to get that hashtag for yourself. Sharing the tag may end up leading to opening up new groups and finding new followers.
5. Fight back with all your might!
If you’ve spend a lot of time building your online community and your hashtag has high value to you, you have to come up with a clever strategy that involves mobilizing your fan base.
6. Surrender to the fact you lost the battle
Sometimes it’s simply not worth the battle. If you’re not up for the fight, or if the consequences created by a hashtag hijacking are just too negative to overcome, you just have to let it go and come up with a new hashtag.
7. Wait it out and see what happens
Not all hashtag hijackings end in tragedy. Often, a hashtag that’s been hijacked temporarily can be recovered. Hijackers don’t tend to stick around long term. They move on. Just keep using your hashtag and wait it out for a while.
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