Facebook Adopting the Hashtag

18 Mar

Why is Facebook doing this?

The wait has been long for some, but finally, Facebook is adopting the hash tag. For those who do not know what the “hash tag” is, it simply is “#”, place in front of a message, which then groups similar messages together. Twitter uses hash tags to determine what is “trending”, and ranks trending topics accordingly. For example #markisthebest, has never been a trending topic on twitter (maybe one day).

Image

As previously mentioned, Twitter has been a huge adopter of the hash tag, as have several over social media mediums, such as Instagram (owned by Facebook), Google+, and Tumblr. Facebook’s decision to use the hash tag function coincides with their new search function called Graph Search (Peterson, 2013). Basically what the hash tag will do for Facebook is make it easier to find interesting topics, and see what is popular.

What does this mean for digital marketers?

A collective sigh of relief from social media managers was heard when Facebook announced the implementation of the hash tag. Why? Now brands can run campaigns incorporating the hash tag across many different platforms. Before hash tags could only be used for certain parts of a campaign (mostly Twitter and Google+), now they could be used for Facebook as well (Peterson, 2013). Marketers will also be able to track the success of their marketing efforts on Facebook by seeing just how popular their efforts are, and where the brand ranks next to competitors.

How to use the hash tag, properly, and some examples of what not to do

Now the hash tag will become an even more important tool for marketers to use. However, even major companies such as McDonalds have messed it up. McDonalds decided to use the hash tag #mcdstories, to try and get customers to talk about their experiences at McDonalds. However, the hash tag was quickly “hijacked” by twitter users who were telling stories about how much they hate McDonald’s food, and everything they stand for (Macleod, 2012). While trying to get customers to talk about your product is a great move, you have to make sure they have something specific to talk about; otherwise the conversation can move off track quickly.

 Image(Macleod, 2012)

Another way companies use the hash tag in their marketing it to see what is trending, and try and use the popular hash tag to generate buzz about their product.  The concept is easy enough, but some companies have really screwed it up, one prime example being Celeb Boutique, a British Fashion site. When a mass shooting broke out at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, the hash tag #Aurora was trending, mostly from twitter users who were in collective shock at what had occurred.  Celeb Boutique decided it was a good idea to try and latch onto the trending topic, reminding the world they have a dress called Aurora, and suggesting that is why the hash tag is trending (Macleod, 2012).

Image (Macleod, 2012)

The key to the hash tag is to keep it simple and relevant to your own product. Generating buzz is great, but latching onto a trending topic which is irrelevant to a marketer’s brand makes a company look lazy and desperate. Keep it relevant and simple and the hash tag will be a powerful tool, across multiple social media platforms. 

Works Cited

Macleod, I. (2012, December 21). The Drum. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from 10 social media fails of 2012: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/12/21/10-social-media-fails-2012-mcdonalds-femfresh-and-waitrose

Peterson, T. (2013, March 15). Marketers Cheer Facebook’s Reported Hashtag Adoptation. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from cmo.com: http://www.cmo.com/content/cmo-com/home/articles/2013/3/18/marketers_cheer_face.frame.html

 

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