Back to Fluid Thinking
#Happy: Facebook and hashtags, the honeymoon period
The mighty hashtag. Once the pain in the ass on our keyboard that might occasionally be punched in lieu of return, now a defining anchor of everything current on the web. Not only restricted to the keyboard, but now integrated into actual conversations too, as I discovered after hearing someone say ‘hashtag awwwkwaaard’.
Hashtag true dat.
This week the hashtag’s reign of fame truly seems to have peaked with the # attack running amuck on Facebook (or more accurately lightly sprinkling it) and still clogging up Twitter feeds with the type of over-hashtaging wrath we thought had been left behind in 2007.
As a result the humble # has been thrown around the Fluid office hither and nither in the past few days, so we thought it was worth a little mention as we seethe at the bad, marvel at the clever and start to roll the hashtag out across THE social network.
Unless you’ve been down a hole the past couple of weeks then you’ve probably heard that Facebook has jumped on the hashtag wagon. It doesn’t yet seem to have infiltrated everyone’s posts, actually the prolific # is a bit thin on the ground, with even the social media high flyers still distinctly hashtag free in many cases.
Here’s an example of our Chris hashtagging #G8 for a blog post. As shown, clicking on the hashtag opens up a feed with all those juicy g8 titbits. Chris noticed the post did get more likes and shares than a B# (before hashtag) post so if you’ve yet to # up your Facebook posts give it a try and see how it performs for you.
It’s fair to say that the nay-sayers and the Twitter purists are creating a pretty hefty din surrounding whether Facebook is designed to handle the mighty hashtag that so punctuates their tweets of distinction. But whether it’ll flop or thrive, this is definitely one feature we’ll be rolling out across our social media campaigns. We already use the hashtag in G+ despite the fact that G+ appears to be universally despised (this comes from a room of people at a conference, I might add) and if the options to reach a wider audience exist then it’s certainly one option worth exploring, despite the scepticism.
The Facehash has also been criticised for not providing insights into hashtag performance, no doubt likely to be the thorn in the side of every social media overlord. For example you can’t see (as of yet) how many post views originated from the hashtag, in our example Chris might have just excelled himself and created something particularly sharable.
But what about content? Good, sharable content is any SEO’s bread and butter and we want to see a good ol’ meritocracy. Of course in social media the top spot is likely to be taken by some hilariously bitter customer who’s been wronged by Carphone Warehouse and tweets a spiel of venom, but still, on Twitter the most ‘engaging’ content will float to the top. On Facebook it’s currently on a time frame basis leading to speculation about whether the most engaging content will prevail as Facebook gets used to their new found feature.
Of course a good root into the Facebook thunder stealing wouldn’t be complete with perhaps the two most common gripes currently surrounding the hashtag – mobile compatibility and security. Currently on mobile devices you cannot search for hashtags or click on published hashtags. Given that most people spend their entire public transport commute glued to social media on their phones, this apparent oversight is one glaring big hole in Facebook’s takeover.
As for security, users have expressed concern that hashtagged posts will display their comments to people they aren’t ‘friends’ with, however this worry seems to have fizzled out with the Facebook code stating that users can still limit who can view hashtagged posts. The Facebook hashtag is currently supposedly free of corporate meddling too as it doesn’t allow advertisers to target specific audiences via their hashtags. Unlike Twitter, hashtags can’t be sponsored either – but whether this will continue is up for speculation.
In other hashtag rampage news this week we’ve also unearthed some of the social media sins we hope won’t be migrating over to Facebook…
This is #reallyannoying #stopit #NoOneSearchesForThat
This week eagle eyed Fluid-ite James picked out a tweet that was pretty much the epiphany of over hashtagging. You know us we don’t name and shame, but hashtagging every word because you think everyone might be searching for ‘#lime’ just makes for one messy tweet. Social Bakers have suggested that Facebook posts shouldn’t have any more than two hashtags. We say this rule should be universal.
Last week #threewords was trending to which someone replied ‘Who. Actually. Cares’. But amongst the soppy, the rude and the ones who clearly can’t count, numerous big brands started popping up using those three words to tell the Twitter sphere how brilliant their product was. Sometimes this is fair enough, right now #TTOT (Travel Talk on Twitter) is trending and the holiday companies have, quite rightly, jumped all over it with a relevant tweet. But using a trending topic to promote something completely unrelated just makes you look like a bit of a leech amongst all the heartfelt and deeply philosophical tweets.
We’d love to know your early experiences with Facebook hashtags, if anything, because we’d like to know that there is someone out there other than a few experimental types wondering why their Facebook post now looks a bit weird.
Now I’m going to work out how to post this on Facebook and Twitter by hashtagging hashtags.