the power of hashtags

#suckitsven was something you would expect to hear in one of those Ted talks. Witty, organic, and unscripted, it resulted in one of the finest examples of marketing ingenuity I have seen in years. I couldn’t have thought of it on my own, yet when I pick it apart it has all the foundational marketing pieces I coach my clients in.

Every once in awhile, I experience perfection and this was turning out to be one of those moments. As I would check in with my husband, night after night, the plot would thicken as sales were being made. I was fascinated at how quickly it grew and how long it was sustained for. Yet, being one of the finest examples of content marketing I have seen, I wonder if it can even be called that—because content marketing is so dated and all, so I call it hashtag marketing.

My husband is a serious spear fisherman. Their circles run small, deeply loyal and close. It all began with Sven. Sven sold something; I still to this day don’t really know what it was. Something related to spearing fish I assume. Well, Sven was big in this group, real big. He was a loyal vendor to a small community that provided him a nice little business and reputation. He was a leader in the community and someone they all came to rely on for their “thing” that helped them kill fish.

One day Sven got a bit snippy at a local event. He bad mouthed part of the group and stopped selling to a local dive shop. He put out some snotty blogs, made some bad comments on boards and began his slow death before he even knew it.

It was as if they swarmed together and attacked. The divers strategized, attacked and ate him alive faster than their Rob Allens can shoot. They began to de-friend their new adversary, Sven. They discussed his bad business, snotty mouth and poor service on their boards and they even began to avoid stores that carried Sven products. Then it happened. The #suckitsven campaign was born.

Out of pure marketing genius, a store stepped up and said “Sven, you will take advantage of us no more. You will stop talking about your customers badly and you will be punished.” #suckitsven

Hashtags are hot. I know, I use them for clients everyday. If used well, you get your results. If not, you look like one of those hipsters still clinging to what small hope of coolness they have left. However, how, where and when you use them is key to having a successful, low cost marketing campaign that will yield high results.

The #suckitsven campaign was so successful because it was born out of an event that could not have been planned. It was out of this organizations control, yet they were watching what was going on in their industries community and struck when the iron was hot.

Over a few months, you had divers from all over the world posting pictures, comments, and articles to the #suckitsven campaign. The store offered a 20% discount to anyone who made a #suckitsven post and the rest is history. If everyone “donated” as much as we did to the cause, this store killed it and it cost them a few hours of a marketing assistants posting time.

Marketing does not have to be hard or challenging, it just has to be done and done over and over and over again. You must give it time, attention and energy. How much do you give it?

Keep you eyes open. You never know what next campaign could be born.