A Hashtag is a Customer Review
Lately, I've found myself doing a lot of online shopping. I've always loved the convenience of having access to any store, and all of their products without having to leave my house (as well as shopping the online sales that aren't available in stores).
As we all know, it is very easy to mindlessly shop online. We read the product description, sizing guide, material list, and take the chance to press "add to cart," believing that we know what we are purchasing. But what we're missing out on, is seeing the product in real life. Although companies have fantastic creative teams that take photos of their products, and describe them as accurately as possible, sometimes those photos and descriptions aren't always what ends up being delivered to your front door.
This week, I was shopping for shoes. When it comes to clothing or footwear, I am very particular on the fit, sizing, materials, and durability. Similar to every consumer, I want to make sure that what I'm spending my money on is made of good materials and that it will last me. No one wants to deal with the hassle of purchasing a product online, hating it, then going to the store to return it. That just defeats the convenience and ease of online shopping. Rather than making a trip to the mall, I wanted to see if there is another way to find an accurate and honest review of a product online.
Being the skeptical person that I am, I knew that I couldn't only trust the customer reviews that are left on the company's website. Naturally, I took to social media to see if I could find what I was looking for. I knew that social media is a tool for customers to tell companies what they really think of their products and I wanted to use that to my advantage. I find that sifting through social media is extremely helpful because it's a review that's coming directly from the customer, hopefully #notsponsored by the company that they are writing about.
In order to begin this quest, I had to understand what I was looking for. It is so easy to get lost in the digital world, I knew that I had to be specific. This meant typing in key words and hashtags that included the company name and the name of the product. Although this "life hack" seems foolproof, it only works if someone in the digital world has purchased the product that I'm looking for and decided to write about it. So there is a chance that I won't find any posts. But lucky for me, the digital world worked in my favor and I was able to find 36 posts that used the hashtag that I searched. Hopefully within these 36 posts, I will find what I'm looking for.
Now it was time to investigate. I read every post, every caption, and every comment. It may sound creepy, but this is what social media has become used for- a platform for people to share their thoughts to hopefully reach and connect with a wider audience. After doing my research, I was able to use my judgement and make a decision. I finally felt justified to press "add to cart".
So the next time you are uncertain about the quality of a product, take advantage of the hashtag and its power of providing you with an honest customer review that is hopefully unbiased. And if you're a customer who purchased a product, try leaving a review to help other customers and connect it to the conversation by using a hashtag.