Not too long ago it was announced that FB will be rolling out a hashtag feature similar to Twitter’s. It’s been a long time coming. There has been a litany of discussion over the topic too. Some are excited while other’s are skeptical.
Either way, here is the complete story on what’s going on with Facebook’s hashtag announcement.
Wait, Is This Like Twitter?
Actually, yes. Yes it is like Twitter. In fact it’ll be exactly like Twitter. The hashtag has been a long time staple of Facebook’s rival. Here’s how it works in case you don’t know (and if you don’t – WTH?)
the hashtag—a word or phrase preceded by the “#” pound symbol—is a way for people to collate many Twitter messages about a single news event or topic, like the selection of the Pope (#PopeFrancis). The hashtag is closely associated with Twitter, and fans of the service use the hashtag as short-form creative expression.
Why It May Be Great For Marketers
There are a few fairly BIG reasons why this may impact your marketing positively.
#1 Locating Niche Specific Conversations
Just like on Twitter you’ll now be able to search for niche related hashtags. You’ll be able to find the conversations that your niche are talking about on Facebook with ease. Sure Graph Search is great and all – but let’s face it – it’s not the dead simple tool hashtags will be.
#2 Starting Or Joining Chats
Hello real world psychographic research. There’s no word on whether or not this will actually be in effect or not. But imagine creating live chats with people interested in your niche by using hashtags. There’s so much you could learn and do with this it’s insane.
#3 Competitor Research
This is the obvious one. With hashtags implemented as they are on Twitter, you’ll now be able to gather competitor data from Facebook. It’s possible to do now but in a much more convoluted process. This simplifies the process making your job easier.
As with any Facebook news the critics come out in droves. Here’s what they’re saying
#1 Less Unique Content
The best thing about Twitter and Facebook being two separate audiences is the motivation it gave marketers to create unique content for each individual channel. The adoption of hashtags on Facebook has the potential to discourage creativity.
#2 Another Hurdle For Small Business
The small business owner is very busy—with little time to figure out each and every new trend. I know there are many time-starved small business owners who have felt overwhelmed with the thought of hashtags in general. And (if the rumor is true) hashtags will create a new way to think about posting Facebook content.
#3 It’s Only About Money
Several sources have cited the potential for increased advertising opportunities with hashtags. Twitter does it. Why shouldn’t Facebook get some of those ad bucks too? Here’s what CNN had to say about it.
Facebook is surely interested in the additional vector they provide for advertisers. On Twitter, advertisers can pay to promote their own hashtags alongside Twitter’s list of most common hashtags.
The aggregation pages showing posts associated with a hashtag is another natural point for advertising. On Facebook, advertisers could hypothetically “promote” user posts that contain particular hashtags just as they now promote “likes” of their business pages.
In reality it’s all fuss over the inevitable. Yes it will increase ad dollars Facebook generates. Yes it will have it’s marketing uses. And yes, it will most likely become a reality.
What we’re ignoring here is the hashtag itself. It’s a form of communication. And that in and of itself isn’t platform specific. The hashtag will most likely outlive either platform in the future.