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Rise of the Hashtags - Next Stop Facebook!

After many rumblings and mutterings, Facebook announced on Wednesday that it is indeed bringing in clickable hashtags, like the ones used on Twitter. 

The feature has just gone live! When you click on a tag, it takes you to a new page where you can read all the results. Users can then post straight from the results page and join in the conversation. Facebook’s plan is to “Bring conversations more to the forefront.”

Naturally, we’ve been looking at what this means for companies with a presence on Facebook. One advantage of this for businesses is the ability to run a co-ordinated marketing campaign across different social networks. Pinterest and Google+ both support the use of hash tags along with Twitter, so you can choose hashtags for the campaign and use them consistently on each network.

Hashtags are something that can backfire on businesses if not approached with care, from accidentally referencing trending tags out of context to users hi-jacking a brand based hashtag for negative purposes. But they’re also a valuable tool to help users find information that interests them. This could be a great opportunity for businesses to get their Facebook page exposed to more people without resorting to paying for advertising or promotion.

A disadvantage is that users simply don’t interact with Facebook in the same way they do with Twitter. People generally like to keep their Facebook pages and interactions private, whereas Twitter profiles are much more likely to be public. Facebook relationships are more personal than those on Twitter.  A company Facebook page will generally be a lot more in-depth than its Twitter page, almost functioning like a secondary website. The blurring of the boundaries between the two networks could, according to some naysayers, spoil what makes Facebook special both as a social space and for marketing. 

What do you think? Do you love or hate hashtags? Is this going to change how you use Facebook? Are you confused about your Social Media strategy? Leave a comment and let us know. 



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