Be Careful What You Hashtag For…| VELOCITY AGENCY | NEW ORLEANS, LA

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Be Careful What You Hashtag For

Someone call Olivia Pope. NYPD’s got a scandal on its hands.

There is no question about it. Marketing has expanded a great deal to include social media. Most companies already know this and have taken to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets to increase their Internet presence, search engine optimization (SEO), and improve their Google score.

When Vice President Joe Biden’s Instagram account became known, it picked up a whopping 122,000 followers—not only because the account posted a selfie of Biden with President Barack Obama but also because the account caught the attention of Buzzfeed, a news and entertainment site popular with the 18-25 year-old crowd.

Social media management over at NYPD was looking to get the same kind of attention. But, as the white-hat-wearing Pope would say, one can’t just send out a message—one needs to control the narrative. On April 22nd, around noon, a tweet was sent out from the NYPD News Twitter account, prompting users to tweet a picture they might have of them with the NYPD, using the hashtag, #myNYPD.

Within a few hours, the hashtag was trending on Twitter and Facebook. Users were posting photos of police brutality, violence, and abuse under the hashtag #myNYPD. At its peak, the hashtag was being used about 16,000 times an hour according to hashtag.org.

The intention of the hashtag campaign was to find and feature a few of the best photos on the NYPD Facebook page. The hashtag took—though probably not in the positive way that it was intended—and now they have quite a selection to choose from.

Looking at the hashtag campaign from a marketing standpoint, the change in the message may not be that bad. The public often dislikes the police regardless because they associate them with the inevitable: tickets, arrests, traffic, sirens, antagonizing peaceful protestors, etc.

But, it’s not like the police is a client that needs to get re-hired for a job. The NYPD isn’t a restaurant or club that will go out of business because of bad press. The NYPD will just go on being disliked as they usually are, except now, they’ll have an incredible SEO score!

According to Tory Starr from PRI.org, the tweets alone launched a global discussion on police brutality—just another progressive step the people of the Internet have taken together.

So, what have we learned from this hashtag blowup? Record the events around you—they can give you a powerful voice and instill change. Also, mass communication means that your audience may turn your message into something completely different.

The #myNYPD publicity can go either in a positive or negative direction—we’ll have to wait and see what they do about the pictures of police brutality flooding the Internet. In the meantime, maybe Ms. Pope will swoop in and save the day.

Velocity Agency is a digital marketing and advertising firm specializing in digital and internet marketing & advertising, print, web design, graphic design, film, and HD video promotion and post-production. Velocity serves clients all over the United States from our Metairie, LA office just outside of New Orleans by strategically implementing proprietary tools and techniques to get you the most conversions for your business through lead generation, cost-per-acquisition, and top line revenue.