Remember when Twitter first got your attention? We became obsessed with hashtags, even speaking in them! Now, in their "maturity,” hashtags have come into their own: even the Facebook behemoth is coming to realize their potential.
But do they work on Facebook?
Hashtags make sense on Twitter or Instagram, where content postings are limited in length. When I'm scrolling through my Twitter feed, I may see posts that include a couple hashtags, but they don't slow me down. My fear on Facebook (okay, "fear" is a bit strong) is the higher word limit: I can see giant posts loaded with hashtags. Plus, with privacy options, those tags will get in the way of my reading, but won't necessarily show up in search results. (Don't get me started on Facebook and search...)
That's not stopping brand bullies from butting in--or Facebook from leveraging a new revenue stream. In theory, companies waging hashtag campaigns can now tie everything together. For instance, when Domino’s rolled out its “Let’s Do Lunch” campaign, the company received a lot of participation. The idea of the campaign was to decrease the price of a normal pizza by one cent everytime someone tweeted #letsdolunch. For the two hours it lasted, the price of a pizza dropped from $15.99 to $7.74. Now, imagine how cheap that pizza would be if the campaign was featured on Facebook as well! Companies can now plan hashtag campaigns utilizing every major social media platform. So now that Facebook has finally included hashtags in its model, companies can rejoice! Or can they?
Let's look at some of the weaknesses of Facebook's new venture. On Twitter, trending topics indicate hashtags that are widely used for a short period of time. One good example is when artists are promoting a new album: by creating their own hashtag campaign, usually using the album title, their fans help them generate buzz. Twitter's trending topics function is an easy way to see what everybody else is tweeting about, but this feature cannot be found on Facebook. It might have been a smart idea for Facebook to dip its toes into trending topics with the hashtag launch. So far, they’ve missed out on at least one golden opportunity: the #NBAFinals.
Another missing piece of Facebook hashtags can (or can't) be found on the platform’s mobile app: non-clickable hashtags. Since more people access Facebook via its mobile app than on a desktop, you would think it would've been featured on launch day, but it's still in the works. I'm thinking that Facebook is going to wish it launched its hashtag feature with trending topics and clickable hashtags for its mobile app sooner…
Hashtags are the Internet's new vernacular, and Facebook has always led by following. (Remember Myspace?) As the second most popular site in the world, it was only a matter of time before it jumped on board.
Has your company's Facebook page started using hashtags? Tell us what you think about the new feature.