Today’s Daily Telegraph carries an interesting story illustrating just how badly wrong an ill-conceived Social Media marketing campaign can go. Up-market furniture store Habitat has apparently been caught adding inappropriate keywords – called hashtags –to its corporate Twitter feeds.
Tagging marketing messages with keywords like #Iranelection and#iPhone, the firm tried to ensure its messages achieved a much higher ranking in users’ searches than should have been the case. But, it appears the stunt has backfired badly, and the well-known chain has apparently been forced to issue an apology.
The Telegraph reports:
Twitter users reacted with anger to the publicity stunt: “Just read about your hashtag abuses,” wrote Caramboo. “You utter scumbags, I’ll never visit your shop again”, while another user, Brownbare, tweeted: “Naughty, money-grabbing furniture outlet. Bad bad bad. Now I’m glad I can’t afford your overpriced Ikea replicas”.
What is very interesting is just how powerful the inherent democracy of social networks is, and how quickly it can bring the errant marketeer to heel once a breach of “Netiquette” (remember that term?) is collectively perceived. The sanction of this electronic plebiscite is swift and decisive. However Netiquette evolves to encompass Social Media, one thing is for sure; Habitat’s ham-fisted, spammy attempts at manipulation will be long-cited as how not to do it.