Hashtags Come to Facebook: #Good or #Bad?

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The time has come. Facebook is officially using #hashtags.

Last week, hashtagging made its debut as a feature on Facebook. For years, the general public has associated the use of hashtagging on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr as a tool for key word searching to gain new followers and to join organized conversations. What makes hashtags a powerful Social Media perk is that they are hyperlinked to a feed that displays all conversations mentioning that hashtagged word or phrase within the given social media site in real time.

So why is Facebook just NOW hopping on the hashtag bandwagon? Here are 4 reasons why.

1.    Hashtagging brings people together.

With over a billion people using Facebook every day, the company had an opportunity to create additional value by bringing together people who are talking about the same things, especially if they might not be connected. For instance, the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship achieved 70 million Facebook interactions about the tournament. No one is Facebook friends with every single person that mentioned NCAA, but these relevant conversations unite the Facebook community together, especially if hashtagging is in place.

2.    Hashtagging keeps Facebook as the top dog.

The hashtag has always been known as a major driver behind Twitter. Facebook’s move to adopt the hashtag undoubtedly places the company as a direct competitor to Twitter. That’s a good thing for Facebook IPO holders as well as brands utilizing Facebook ads, since Twitter is no small social network.  Since Facebook now has hashtags, Facebook can now easily steal traffic away from Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr because users who reshare their Facebook posts from other Social Media platforms will have their hashtags become clickable, making their links link back to the related conversation on Facebook.

3.  Hashtagging will bring in the dough.

By incorporating hashtags, Facebook plans to increase their dominating ad revenues.  Facebook is already encouraging brands to use hashtags to increase their reach.  Imagine tapping into the 88-100 million Facebook users who are active during prime time television through hash tags.  With hashtags, users will be persuaded to share and connect to trending thoughts, and this will also allow them to be more open to sharing information publicly, enabling existing and new ad products to gain greater audiences on Facebook.

Advertisers in the future will also be able to place banner ads on the website based on hashtags, which permits advertisers to reach a more fine-tuned audience.  Alexander Cho from The Motley Fool quotes that “User engagement statistics will go up leading to higher conversion rates for advertisers, which will directly translate into higher average revenue per user.”  With all this untapped revenue, why not use hashtags?  It was only a matter of time Facebook joined the club. 

4. Hashtags will get you what you want faster.

For those who know how to use hashtags, implementing them on Facebook will not hinder their Facebook experience, but rather, improve their user quality, for it will promote the use of information at a more accessible rate.  Facebook users will know the latest current trends and be able to not only read about their favorite topics, but discuss them at a faster pace, the kind of minute-to-minute conversation that Twitter had over Facebook until now.

While many advantages come with adding hashtags to Facebook, people do not take well to change.  Hashtags are definitely a change that we are waiting to see in action. In terms of Social Media, work with this new feature and use it in a way that will benefit your brand as well as organize conversations with friends.  Like with all Social Media, there is a time & place for hashtags, so don’t excessively use them and choose your words wisely.

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