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  • Writer's pictureJames Cullen

Does Posting Social Media Content for "Hate Shares" Work?

You'll have no doubt seen many tweets that have been shared just so they can be decried. The quote tweet function means that people can write a response to a tweet, while their followers can also see the offending tweet. This is popular among social commentary, with figures such as Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan receiving a lot of Twitter impressions from people who are criticising them. But, would hate sharing work the same for brands?

We call it 'hate sharing' because we aren't sharing it to extol its virtues, but to tear it down, or throw our two cents into the debate. But, the tweeter wants this to happen. They want you to share the tweet with your comments, because the oxygen they are getting on the tweet is worth the potentially negative feedback. Contentious topics often get hate shared and get people talking - which is the aim of a lot of people and brands on Twitter. The more people that see your post, the more followers you are likely to get, the more people will become aware of your brand and the more likely you will be to turn this into profit or revenue. If you think of Katie Hopkins as a brand, her brand becomes stronger when she shares something controversial and people clamour to decry it, by also giving it oxygen.

The most recent example, in the midst of a possible General Election, was a post from the Conservatives earlier today, who used the love/hate font Comic Sans on a very serious political tweet. They knew full well that people across the political spectrum would chime in with opinions on the font through quote tweets. People aren't quote tweeting about the content of the message, but the delivery of it. The Conservatives won't come across any worse had they actually intended to use Comic Sans (even though its against brand guidelines!). But, they were able to grow an audience for the message without people (who might be for or against it) actually realising they were helping amplify what the original tweet was saying.

Posting for hate shares can be a risky strategy. Some people post contentious captions with their images, gaining more followers through the ones who are complaining about them. Of course, pizza brands have been known to use the pineapple issue to get hate shares by people with strong opinions on the topic - and therefore increase their audience. Usually, hate sharing doesn't come as strongly as controversial opinions (unless being controversial is a key brand personality aspect), but merely a contentious issue that has no real bearing on the brand going forwards. They say that all publicity is good publicity - even if that means people think you genuinely like to use Comic Sans.

How to Check If You've Been Quote Tweeted: Search for your full Twitter profile e.g. in the search bar of Twitter.

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