Praise to all that is holy in the social media world! Big news last week as rumors surfaced that Facebook is considering adopting the hashtag. I wrote a blog post a little while back about the power of the hashtag, made popular by Twitter and later adopted by Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. Currently, Facebook is the only major social media platform that does not use hashtags (much to its users’ chagrin). But that’s all about to change.
According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, “Facebook is working on incorporating the hashtag, one of Twitter’s most iconic markers, into its service by using the symbol as a way to group conversations, said people familiar with the matter. It is unclear how far along Facebook’s work on the hashtag is and the feature isn’t likely to be introduced imminently, these people said…. Facebook is testing whether to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to click on a hashtag to pull up all posts about similar topics or events so it can quickly index conversations around trending topics and build those conversations up, giving users more reason to stay logged in and see more ads. Instagram, which Facebook acquired last year, already uses hashtags, allowing users to sort photos by the symbol.”
While many industry experts speculate over how this development will affect the ongoing battle between the two social media titans, I’m more interested in the impact this will have for marketers.
THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING! Ok, this probably won’t change everything. But it will make campaign integration in social media much easier for marketers. In my marketing classes at DU, whenever we wanted to use social media to engage with consumers through our campaigns we would develop a hashtag for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest while having to develop a separate way to promote on Facebook. And that was annoying enough as a student. I can’t imagine how frustrating it’s been for experienced marketers to deal with Facebook’s “uniqueness”.
Adweek speculated on how this change will imact marketing, saying, “If Facebook does adopt the hashtag, it will bring the feature to its biggest platform yet and conceivably bring more marketers than are currently on Twitter (definitely more than are on Google+ or Instagram). That “allows the hashtag to play out on all channels and become a bigger part of all advertising—OOH, print, TV, etc.—which will encourage more consumer conversation around brands,” Tuff said, adding that hashtags could boost brands’ use of Facebook’s People Talk About This metrics by easing the reliance on post-tagging.”
Marketers of the world, rejoice!