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Facebook Jumps on the Hashtag Bandwagon

July 3, 2013 | Pankaj Sharma ’Keeping up with the Joneses’ is the most apt proverb for the social media. If one top social networking site starts an innovative trend that helps users connect better, in no time you will have all others jumping on to the bandwagon.
Hashtags in Facebook are clickable and searchable

The use of hashtag will allow Facebook users to group comments on a common topic.

The use of hashtag will allow Facebook users to group comments on a common topic.

If Facebook is credited with revolutionizing sharing thoughts, links, images and videos with your friends through the “Wall”, Google+ has gone a few steps further with its hangouts. But Twitter’s hashtag or # has become synonymous with all that is trending on the web.

With Twitter and Google+ making hashtag the easiest device for users to join in the hottest discussion topics, it is now Facebook’s turn to follow in the footsteps of its rivals.

This is how the hashtag works on Facebook (Source: Facebook) as a mode of social media marketing.

-Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar. For example, #NBAFinals.
– Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram.
– Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.

Facebook’s Greg Lindley writes in this blog, “Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them.”

He continues, “To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about.”

The use of hashtag will allow Facebook users to group comments on a common topic. The users just need to type the ‘hashtag’ alongside a keyword such as #2014polls or #icchampionstrophy at the end of a post.

Like Twitter, the hashtags in Facebook are clickable and searchable. Though the basic concept of the use of hashtag in Facebook is same as in Twitter, difference lies in the number of people who can view and participate in the discussion.

While Twitter allows the ‘public’ to view and participate in the conversation, the ‘hashtag’ in Facebook is viewable to a user’s circle of friends (However the user can modify privacy settings to allow public to see the hashtag).

Justin Osofsky, director, platform partnerships and operations at Facebook, says in his blog, “We launched hashtags to let people add context to posts and include it in public conversations. Clicking on a hashtag shows a feed of what other People and Pages are saying about that event or topic.”

It is still early to predict if Facebook will be able to replicate the hashtag-induced popularity that Twitter had with this ‘number sign’. But, this move from Facebook can be seen as an attempt to taking greater ownership of real-time public conversations that could help Facebook capture ads associated with live events.

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