For their trip to the United Kingdom this week, the Dallas Cowboys social media team decided to use a hashtag to pull together all of their social media efforts for the trip. Unfortunately, the hashtag they chose was #CowboysUK. While that looks appropriate and innocuous, a simple change in the capitalization converts the hashtag to #CowboySUK. The Washington Post and other media quickly picked up on the alternative meaning and spread the word, to the dismay of the Cowboys social media team.
They first started using the hashtag at 4:22 p.m. on November 3rd, 2014. By the next morning, there was a media frenzy and the last use of the hashtag by the Dallas Cowboys social media team was at 8:22 a.m on November 4th, 2014. Fortunately, the team realized quickly that they had made a mistake and stopped using it, but the damage had already been done. They stopped using hashtags altogether on their social media posts until one instance the next day, when they used #DALvsJAX, the new “official” hashtag for the game.
Creating a hashtag that your business uses for promotion can be a good idea, but carefully considering the possible variations in pronunciation and combinations of letters within a hashtag can save you from being publicly embarrassed or mocked by competitors, detractors, customers and fans.