Facebook is a people-driven activity. You follow what your friends do, what they think, what they listen to, what they watch etc., You know the people appearing in your feed and you often have a real-life connection with the ones you’re communicating with. This is–or at least has been–the nature of the network.
On Twitter, on the other hand, the communication is more topic-driven. You don’t have to actually know the people you’re following and you often follow a discussion rather than people. These discussions are defined and organized by #hashtags.
Since Facebook previously hasn’t used hashtags, or any other system to monitor discussions on a larger scale, there hasn’t been a way for people or businesses to easily partake in the buzz connected with large sport events, breaking news, popular TV shows etc.
But this doesn’t mean there’s no buzz on Facebook – on the contrary.
“The recent “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones, received over 1.5 million mentions on Facebook, representing a significant portion of the 5.2 million people who watched the show. And this year’s Oscars buzz reached an all-time high on Facebook with over 66.5 million interactions, including likes, comments, and posts,” says Greg Lindey, Product Manager at Facebook.
To bring discussions to the forefront and to make Facebook a place where you can follow an event as well as your friends, the site is now introducing hashtags. When you search for a hashtag in the regular search field, you’ll see the most popular posts around the topic right now.
Below, you see the first posts for #BreakingBad
How Facebook Hashtags Work
• When you write a hashtag in a post, this creates a new URL for that specific tag or get linked to the existing URL for that hashtag.
• When you click on a hashtag, you’re directed to the hashtag feed.
• You can compose posts directly in the hashtag feed and instantly partake in the discussion around the topic.
• When searching for a hashtag, your recommended with more hashtags connected with the topic.
Five Points for Marketers Using Hashtags
Since a lot of people are using Facebook for business, both for driving converting traffic and brand building, hashtags is interesting to take a closer look at. As always when it comes to social media, clever usage of new functions has the potential of driving traffic and spark discussions.
1. Hashtag for a reason: If you are randomly creating hashtags, and include a tag in every post just because you’re supposed to, it won’t work. For a hashtag to be effective, there must be a reason for other people to use it and want to be part of the discussion.
2. Join the right discussions: When you’re writing a hashtag, chances are that it already is created, and instead of writing something new you become a part of an already existing conversation. Make sure you find out what that discussion is about. It could be something you don’t want to connect your brand with.
3. Promote thoughts: Often when you try to create a social–media buzz, your opinion is what’s interesting. When there’s a lot of buzz around something – whether it’s a release of a new TV show or a presidental election – you need to say something interesting, funny or informative to get picked up and talked about.
4. Be unconventional: If you want to make your voice heard and a hashtag truly powerful, try to look at topics from new angles. Is it possible to give an entirely new view on the issue or can you find a way to look at the topic from a broader perspective?
5. It can be hijacked: Remember that everybody is free to use your hashtag. So before you release it, think about if there’s a risk that people will use it in ways that are bad for your business. Say that you are a weapons manufacturer, a hashtag saying #MakingTheWorldABetterPlace may backfire. If you produce potatoe chips, #HealthyLiving may be a bad idea.
*image created by writer