How to spam people and kill your brand on Twitter – the HabitatUK case study

This blog was named ‘Marketing is a dirty word’ because, as a marketing professional, I hate the connotations that have become attached to marketing. This rep was built because certain marketers are douchebags… let’s face the truth of it, some marketers will do anything for a buck. And the reputation that these marketers build for themselves and their companies sticks to all of us. The below is one such example of why I started writing this blog – to name and shame bad marketers (aswell as to highlight exciting / interesting marketing). And in the HabitatUK case below, we have one hell of a doozy… 

HabitatUK recently decided to start Twittering. Fair enough, everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t they dip their toe into Twitter marketing. Further, they showed some insight, in that they tried to captialise on the ‘Trending Topics’ column on the right hand column of our Twitter feeds – HabitatUK tried to use these trending topics to build followers and get more eyeballs on their tweets by inserting trending hastags in their own tweets. So far, it’s still not a totally terrible idea – if they had been  planning on doing anything at all apart from spamming the hell out of twitter, I might even say it was inspired…

Let’s have a look at how it all unfolded. Check out the tweet below – for those of us outside the US, True Blood is the latest hit HBO TV show (it’s awesome!). So to leverage the popularity of the #trueblood hashtag, HabitatUK started uising it on it’s on tweets. The problem was that the Tweets were nothing to do with True Blood, hence spam of the most reprehensible kind (see below). That is pretty darn low.

Image taken from a really good article at socialmediatoday.com

Image taken from a really good article at socialmediatoday.com

But it gets worse. Either HabitatUK was using an auto-tweet app to generate tweets with whatever was Twitter’s latest trending topics, or whoever it was who was tweeting on their marketing staff was completely deprived of good sense, because you can see above the True Blood tweet there is a tweet with the #Mousavi hashtag – they were blatantly trying to cash in on the conflict, killings and political unrest in Iran. As I type this, the HabitatUK Twitter account has had all evidence of it’s spam removed.

Honestly, I thought we’d all evolved beyond this. I thought marketers had a handle on how to properly engage through social media. No quick tricks, no smash-n-grab. I thought we were smarter. Better. I thought wrong. HabitatUK, this is one for the hall of shame.


1 Response to “How to spam people and kill your brand on Twitter – the HabitatUK case study”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    July 11, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I’ve actually noticed quite a number of people trying to game the ‘Trending Topics’ area of Twitter Tila Tequila mis one in particular, where she uses Twitter as a sign in mechanism for her ustream shows, then when people send her messages as she talks on her ustream channel, the comments alos appear in their twitter feed with a hashtag like #Ilovetilatequila or similar.

    Good way to increase traffic to her ustream shows… thats probably a bit more clever / honest than HabitatUK though.

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