The hashtag has arrived on Facebook, and the transition has been seamless. The familiar symbol pioneered by Twitter is now a clickable function on Facebook (and Facebook-owned Instagram) allowing unconnected users to discuss subjects and trends without needing to be “friends.”
For those who have been living under a rock: hashtags are a way to organize real-time conversations so that information on the same topic can be grouped together and searched. This function allows marketers to find out what consumers are talking about, follow conversations relating to topics in their industry and easily engage with consumers around the world. In the interest of staying relevant on social media, we are curious what this means for us as marketers, and how best we can utilize this ubiquitous symbol to engage with consumers across all social media sites.
Integrating hashtags into Facebook has given way to a number of opportunities for brands. With more than twice the number of active users as Twitter, access to real time conversations among one billion people is huge. In addition, Facebook reaches more of an older demographic than Twitter, giving marketers access to a larger group that spans a greater variety of ages, interests and locations. Most advertisers and marketers already incorporate hashtags in their campaigns, so this new addition simply amplifies those efforts.
We recognize the importance of brands participating in trending discussions and connecting with users as a way of staying top of mind, and Facebook has fostered just that with the implementation of hashtags. We now have the ability to search for specific hashtags in the search bar, click on others’ hashtags that originate on different sites like Instagram, and start conversations directly from the hashtag feed and search results.
More recently, Facebook has announced the integration of video for Instagram as an answer to the popularity of Twitter’s Vine videos. In this battle to be the best, we definitely approve of the innovation spurring from this competition in the social media world, and can’t wait to see what comes next. Both Facebook and Twitter are equally important for us as marketers in reaching audiences and developing meaningful relationships with consumers, but for everyone else out there, we have to ask: are you team Facebook or team Twitter?