Facebook's Newest Feature
The ever-updating Facebook has plunged into new territory once again, well, not exactly the newest territory. They have adopted the hashtag. For those of you who have somehow avoided the social media juggernaut that is Twitter, hashtags are number signs that when placed in front of a word transforms said word into a hyperlink that connects your post with any other post containing that hashtag.
While most of you have already bought the Facebook hashtag to the site, it has not enabled the linking functionality ... until now. While certainly late in the game, Facebook has realized the power, popularity, and all around love for the hashtag and have decided to make it their own.
The new addition will allow Facebookers to see what others are saying about topics and events, which has been Twitter's main draw over Facebook ... until now. The Facebook hashtag still recognizes the privacy settings, which will only allow your friends to view your tags. Hashtags will also allow site / post searching and navigation to become effortless.
Just as they always have, the main function of the hashtag will be to organize conversations. If your company was not on Facebook before, you could not pick a better time to join up, because this will make for some incredible online marketing opportunities. Having your post go viral and seen by new viewers has never been more obtainable. It's easier than ever for people to find relevant content and for them to be brought into the conversation, improving the odds of you being found by new customers.
So, why the sudden change of heart? Did Mark Zuckerberg go out for ice cream with the Twitter execs and get convinced that his site describes some hashtag love as well? No. Well, maybe, but that's not the main reason.
The main reason is a simple one: Money. Facebook wants in on the advertising revenue that currently all goes to Twitter. There are up to 100 million people active on Facebook during prime-time television hours, according to Facebook. Now that it has a way to organize conversations, it will be easier for Facebook to sell against those big time hashtags broadcasted on TV, as well as based around other media and events.
Facebook is the largest socially connected group in the world. When one posting goes viral or if found by those interested in the content, one billion active users have the opportunity to see. This is an astounding number to consider. Even if your post hits less than a tenth of 1% of Facebooks members, that is still a good amount of eyes on your content.If you are posting on your company page that shared content turns into instant advertising.
You can now search a specific hashtag from your Facebook search bar. It will not limit you to viewing just hashtags that have been posted on Facebook, it will also include hashtags that originated on other sites such as Twitter and Instagram.
Brands now have access to whole new audiences. Twitter has been using hashtags for years but the user demographic is much different from Facebook. Twitter consists of a mostly young demographic of users while Facebook is split. 30% of users are younger than the age of 34, and 45% are over the age of 45. This allows for companies to market their brand to a wide range of demographics using Facebook hashtags.
What Do You Think?
What's your opinion on Facebook's adoption of the hashtag? They are certainly validating a major competitor's core strength, but I suppose they see that as a small price to pay for the millions that they are losing out on in advertising revenue.
Will the hashtag function as smoothly on Facebook as it does on Twitter?
Will it change how people use Facebook? Potentially making it more news based like Twitter has become?