by Keith Chachkes
Hashtags On Facebook? #WTH!
Now that we’ve had the chance to experience Hashtag use on Facebook, it’s time to take a step back and consider what it really means. What are the implications of Hashtags going live and searchable on Facebook? Conventional wisdom says since many users and brands already link their social accounts, so live Hashtags on Facebook makes sense for that audience. As usual, there will be complainers, but ultimately this is a good thing for savvy users, brands, and marketers too. The instantaneous nature of Twitter, Instagram and Vine are a much different experience than Facebook, and other semi-static networks that have Hashtags. It remains to be seen if the ability to tag everything will entice people to interact with their friends. The goal will always be to get people to post more, and post more often. This in turn creates more opportunities to target advertising to specific users.
Ultimately, Facebook will integrate public search with Hashtags using Graph Search. If you are not phobic about being part of surfacing public conversations on Facebook beyond your networks, you might enjoy it. Popular hashtags such as #GameOfThrones, #NBAFinals, #MadMen, #Turkey and other mass cultural happenings will entice people to share stories more. Brands such as Tide and their #TideToGo campaign or Coke with their recent #SmallWorldMachines tag could see a huge swell of interest with their model successes on other networks. Initially, I thought Facebook’s aversion to further alienating privacy hounds would keep them from pursuing this option, but I was mistaken. Since their IPO last year, Facebook has made repeated steps toward appeasing brands to create and refine revenue generating tactics. If you have your account locked down and set to friends only, you can keep your tags to yourself and limit the range of your posts individually. Keep in mind that this is actually just the opening salvo towards more “open conversations” on the most popular social network. This is a slippery slope however, as the backlash could be huge (again), if they are not sensitive about handling these concerns.
Brands must be bursting with glee at the prospect of Promoted Hashtags and possibly Paid Trends, just like they did with Twitter. Usually the lead time for major brands to get access to new sales products is a few months. Invariably, the floodgates will open and it will be interesting to see how paid Hashtags change the landscape for users and brands a like.
Top Five Best Potential Uses Of Hashtags On Facebook
Less Is More:
This goes for the average fan to big brand names: overdoing tags in long streams is not only unsightly, but going to badly annoy the uninitiated. Instagram users, fond of your Hashtag explosions on images and in your posts, I’m looking at right at you. For goodness sake, dial it down a notch will ya? This won’t work for brands either, but hopefully they are smart enough to know saturation is too old-school a ploy to work effectively nowadays.
Anything Can Be A Hashtag!
Hashtags are one of the few things in social media that actually came from users’ natural curiosity and adoption. The great thing about Hashtags is this – anything can be made into one. They provide context for what is happening and help control flow of a conversation. They can build value. Make them relevant to you and your friends. Use them to help people better understand what you are talking about. Brands: enlist your fans to help you create new hashtags that define the experience they feel, that connects them to your brand. And be really clever!
Not Everything Should Be Hashtag’d
By the same token, exaggerating topics and too many tags in a row will dilute your message, and numb your audience. Topic words and phrases are not needed to make every single point in your message clear, but should be the subtext to larger ideas. If done right, you will need very few tags to make a good post; one that your audience will clearly understand right away.
Disconnect Your Linked Accounts.
It’s possible that Facebook made this move, in part to capitalize on the segment of people who love social media, but not the pressure of keeping up with posting to multiple networks. The problem with this is that different social networks really are about different forms of communication, and different audiences. Brands especially need to learn that just because Hashtags work on multiple social networks now, it doesn’t mean they will make sense in every message. You might end up confusing fans and future customers with vague messages across multiple channels.
To Tag Or Not Hashtag? That Is A Good Question!
This isn’t really a possible new use as much as it is a common sense approach to an old one. Every time there is a new innovation on a social network, a frenzy ensues. But let’s not forget what made these networks exciting to use to begin with. Sometimes simply tagging your friend in a post, or tagging your favorite brand that you are excited about with the good old fashioned @ sign, still works wonders. It’s bound to get you noticed faster than a #, at least in the short run.
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