The Danger of Hashtag Hijacking and How to Prevent It

If you read our  blog on hashtags, you know that hashtags are essential in social media and provide your brand’s with the ability to find prospects, develop relationships, and make sales. Although implementing hashtags into your social media is important, a good hashtag can be used in a poor way if individuals “hijack” your hashtag.  In this blog, we define hashtag hijacking, discuss the causes of it, and tell you three ways to prevent a major hashtag hijacking scandal that could have a negative impact on your brand.

What is Hashtag Hijacking?

When a hashtag is used for a purpose that was unintended by the creator of the hashtag, negatively impacting your company, event, or brand.

What Causes Hashtag Hijacking?

Internet “Trolls”

The most common type of hashtag hijacking comes from attention seeking people, commonly referred to as “trolls”. You may have seen this on Twitter. People who take a hashtag and distort its meaning to promote some “junk” offer that is completely unrelated to the hashtag. These trolls like to use multiple popular hashtags in their tweets so that they are more likely to get visibility in Twitter searches. The “hijacking” refers to stealing your well intensioned audience and redirecting their attention to their cause.

Businesses typically run into internet trolls when they’ve set up a hashtag for an event or contest. While this can be an annoyance, trolls who abuse hashtags don’t cause major problems. This is because they tend to move on to another hashtag to gain more exposure after just a short time. If the troll is very persistent and does the same activity over and over again, you can report them as spam to Twitter. Twitter defines activities such as posting links with unrelated tweets and posting repeatedly to trending topics to get attention as spam.

“Haters” of Your Brand

The second kind of hashtag hijacking can have a far more serious impact to a brand’s reputation. This occurs when a hashtag is created by a brand to gain positive PR, but is “hijacked” by “haters” of your brand. These negative individuals use hashtags to to attack the business in a nasty, rude or sarcastic way.

Examples of this include the #ILoveWalgreens campaign and #McDStories. Both are examples where people used the hashtags as a platform to vent about their issues with the companies and share their grievances.


Hashtag Hijacking Preventiom

Avoid Controversial Topics

  • Before creating a hashtag, play devil’s advocate. Think of every possible way this hashtag could be taken out of context and used to your disadvantage.

Make Your Hashtag a Statement NOT an Open Ended Questions

  • Make your hashtag a statement rather than a question. For example, #MarkSmart is a much better hashtag than #WhyILoveMakersInc. #WhyILoveMarkersInc gives people an open invitation to use sarcasm, so #MarkSmart is a much better option.

Monitor, Monitor, Monitor!

  • Sometimes even the best thought out hashtags can be taken over by internet trolls or haters. It is important to monitor hashtags and intervene if someone is using your hashtag to trash your brand or “spam” up your hashtag feed
  • With all Internet activity and negative comments, crisis communications tells us to react quickly, address the issue with sincere interest and try to solve the complainants problem in a fair and transparent manner.

For help with social media strategy and implementation, contact us at (330) 963-3664 or

Trade Show Preparation 101 for Manufacturers

How planning produces results and return on investment


Trade shows and industry conferences provide manufacturers with a platform to show prospects, customers, and industry media their entire line of products and services n a short amount of time. It is important as manufacturers to utilize this opportunity and use it to their advantage. Preparation, like most worthwhile endeavors, is key to increasing profitability and productivity during a trade show. At Felber PR & Marketing, we have years of trade show execution and experience. We’ve compiled the top 5 do’s for ultimate trade show success.

Choose the Right People to Work the Trade Show
Managing your company’s booth is a full-time, non-stop job. It is essential that your booth is never left unattended so bring at least 2 people to a trade show. Make sure whoever you assign to represent your brand at the trade show is outgoing and friendly. A smile can make a world of a difference and get people to come to your booth and ask questions.
Post Consistent Social Media Before and During the Trade Show
Take advantage of social media to boost your company awareness. Post “teaser” videos and photos before the trade show to let people know that you are attending. This will not only create awareness but also help get people interested in your products. During the show, use the event’s hashtag, as well as popular trending hashtags ,to gain more exposure. Need a primer on Hashtags? Click here. Also, this may seem self-explanatory but don’t forget to put your booth number in your posts! People need to be able to locate your booth.

Maintaining a Presence Both Online and Offline
It seems that every year, more and more trade shows in specific industry niches are back-to-back or during the same week. Because of this, some of your target audience may not be able to attend the trade show you’re in which you are exhibiting. It is crucial to create a social media presence that makes those who cannot attend the trade show feel like they are physically there because some of your target audience may be unable to come due to scheduling conflicts. Content from the show, such as pictures, videos, product demo videos, and slideshows should be made visible on social media or your company’s blog. If possible, take pictures with those who visit your booth, especially if they are media that cover your niche audience. Then post the pictures using the event’s hashtag, the person in the picture’s Twitter handle and an industry hashtag or two if you have room, to gain the utmost exposure possible.

Create a Visually Appealing Booth
The more visually appealing your booth is, the more attention and traffic you’ll get. It’s as simple as that. Your products should always be the focal point of your booth, so put them at the front at make sure they stand out. Utilize lighting and keep in mind the appropriate colors to showcase your products in the best way possible. If your company has received media coverage, show it off at your booth. This will allow for prospects and other media to see what you’ve accomplished and get a better understanding of your position in the industry. You can even offer reprints of prominent articles and case studies as show handouts. Consider technical or “white papers” as handouts as well to qualified prospects.

Post Event Follow Ups are Crucial
Trade show follow up is just as important as the actual execution of the trade show. Keep track of all business cards you’ve gotten and connect with these individuals on LinkedIn and Twitter. Just like any pre-show promotion to drive traffic, having a memory invoking reminder of their visit will separate your company for all those who never bother to follow up at all.
Consider repairing templates ahead of time for thank you messages to those you spoke with you. This will save you a lot of time in the long run. Use the template and add a personal touch to each message about what you spoke about to the individual you are writing. This will help for you to spark additional conversations with your target audience.
Trades shows can be very overwhelming but with proper short-term and long-term planning, you can see major results.

Download Your Free Trade Shows For Manufacturers eBook

These steps are easy to incorporate and allow you to manage prospects easier and sell you products with confidence because you are prepared.

If you would like to find out more about creating a trade show social media plan and optimizing your time a trade show, contact Rob Felber at or (330) 963-3664