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By Alan Coleman on 13 Jun 2013

Is it us, or is Facebook shamelessy taking a lot of learning’s from Twitter? Between introducing Timeline, tagging, verified accounts…and now hashtags. I read somewhere earlier this morning: Sure what is Facebook? Twitter + Farmville! Do you agree? We’re not saying it is a bad thing. The reality is that hashtags have become part and parcel of social conversations for quite some time. Despite being unclickable up until now, hashtags have featured in Facebook user’s status updates for a number of years. It has become a way of social life! I am very interested to see how efficiently and effectively Facebook roll out and use hashtags. At the time of publishing this post, hashtags were not clickable on my profile: Facebook Hashtags Marketing Ireland Word on the street is that hashtags are just one part in a series of features that Facebook plan on rolling out over the coming few months: "We'll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world's conversations" So it looks like it’s not just Google who want to improve user’s online experience. They’re all at it! What do Facebook hashtags mean for marketers? It’s hard to know how this will pan out. Or maybe I am just thinking too much about it! A few questions I have… Will Facebook become more of a live, real-time news platform like Twitter? When I go to conferences, the default for me is Twitter. I cannot imagine using Facebook to communicate golden nuggets from live events. I do love Facebook though…maybe I’ll be converted! Will Facebook have an integrated metric which allows the monitoring of brand mentions? I am sure it will. It means that brands will be able to engage with fans even more. The quicker this happens, the more powerful the hashtag functionality will be from a branding perspective. This will get more brands on to Facebook and it may be a strategic way of getting companies advertising more on the platform. This leads me on to my next ponder… Will hashtags work in Facebook ads? My gut feeling is they will. Here at Wolfgang Digital, we have seen some great results from Facebook Advertising. If they do integrate hashtags into Facebook Ads, I see Facebook Ads resembling promoted Tweets – which I think will be really powerful. It will mean that ads seen by Facebook users will be even more relevant and targeted than they are already. Will they have a trending panel like they do on Twitter? This time next year, will we be saying ‘YES, we are trending on Facebook!’ If this happens, it is only natural that Facebook will start charging an arm and a leg for promoted trends á la Twitter. Facebook are dreaming about the $$$! At the moment, it costs $200000 to promote a trend on Twitter! Will Facebook become a user-generated content machine? As well as all these real-time features, we know that with each update, Facebook are trying more and more to become a more visual platform. We have seen how hashtags work for brands on Instagram in generating user content. Hmmm…so perhaps by introducing hashtags, Facebook are going to enjoy the best of both worlds and place themselves on a spectrum between Instagram and Twitter – being a platform for great user generated content as well as live news feed…. My head hurts! One thing is for sure, there are some exciting times ahead for brands on social media! How will your brand be using Facebook hashtags? Siobhan    
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