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Facebook Hashtags: Copycat or Business Genius?

June 28, 2013 by Mainak Biswas under Digital Marketing Marketing260 views
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Facebook may come up with a new system of tagging its content called hash tags. As part of its aggressive marketing strategy, it constantly devises a plan to adapt to the ever changing market trends. It has proven its mettle time and again. This ability of Facebook to strike the right chord with people has made it what it is today. Now let us take a look at what Facebook hashtags are all about.

What are hashtags?

It is somewhat similar to keywords used in search engines. Information associated with a particular topic is grouped to be utilized categorically at the click of a button. It is basically a ‘#’ followed by a topic it has been assigned to, with no spaces in between. For example, #womenreservationbill.

Hashtags on twitter

These tags were originally used in chat rooms, but were popularized later with their introduction to twitter. It is used by this social medium to file its tweets in an organized manner. It also uses them at an extent to keep its users updated with the topics that are ‘trending’ or on a more sober note, that are in vogue.

How is the use of these tags on Facebook different from that on Twitter?

Definitely, Facebook uses them differently. Here, Facebook is not mimicking Twitter. It is not a rudderless ship to copy from twitter. Going by its gesticulations, Facebook does not shoot in the dark. Facebook hashtags are bound to be a success. Facebook is ensconced in high places. It has got the ‘Midas touch’- everything that it touches, turns into gold. This tryst of it with gold extends to the hashtags too. It will create its own customized version of hash tags replete with eminence.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is reticent of the plans for his brainchild to be incorporated with hash tags. These evasive manoeuvres of the CEO suggest that he is contemplating something big, not attempted before. According to reports, Facebook plans to use hashtags for grouping conversations of its users and to generate revenue from advertisements.

Why would businesses vouch for Facebook hashtags?

Facebook is ultra popular. It has a user base of about 950 million and climbing. 50 percent of its users are in the age group of 18-24 years. Moreover, 42 percent of marketers report that Facebook is critical to their businesses.

Businesses would like to take advantage of these facts. As we can see, Facebook caters mainly to the needs of a young population who have fallen in love with the ‘coolness’ of this social networking giant. Any businesses and products that fancy these juvenile minds can promote on Facebook. Naturally, companies involved with gadgets and gizmos can tap the potential of Facebook. But as a word of caution, you have to be more organized as Facebook presents a problem of plenty.

Implementation of Facebook hashtags for businesses

Advertisers on Facebook could hypothetically promote user posts that contain particular hash tags just as they now promote ‘likes’ of their business pages. These likes can set off a chain reaction of likes among users creating awareness of the brand. Such promoted posts could get more prominent and long-lasting placement on Facebook’s news feed, where non-promoted items are sorted by relevance.

Previously, brands were only alerted to mentions of their brand name either via users commenting on brand pages or tagging brands in status updates (only for users with a public profile). Now, conceivably, brands will be constantly tagged in millions of conversations via Facebook by mentioning them, meaning not only will have a huge volume of data at their disposal to prey upon, they will also be able to encourage more real-time conversations, and influence a million more conversations on Facebook.

Hash tags from brand pages perspective

Brand pages on Facebook are tediously maintained targeting a specific consumer population and a lot of time and money is spent on projecting a tailor made brand image on the users of this virtual platform. The jaw dropping effort it takes in the management and sustenance of these pages- be it the input of the content or capital or monitoring of statistics, is an arduous task in itself.

Does all this qualify to be a wasted resource? Are all the efforts reined in to maintain these pages futile? I would say no. The introduction of hash tags does not sound a death knell to the brand pages. A testimony to the camaraderie shared between the brand pages and hash tags is twitter. They both coexist since the stepping of twitter into the virtual world.

Implications of the introduction of hash tags to Facebook

Firstly, this introduction would mean that Facebook needs to mobilize its resources in order to meet the burgeoning demand of labour by inducting new recruits. This would provide for the smooth functioning of its marketing department.

Secondly, the brands too need to make arrangements for extra resources in coping up with the demand. The content writers, statistics monitoring people who work in the background for these brands should be augmented to meet the demand arising out of this change to the existing marketing strategies.

Thirdly, this calls for research to be done on the effects of these changes on consumer behavior. This being a new change, it calls for a tab to be kept on these parameters. What could be the reaction of the consumer to these changes? Would these changes be accepted?

Privacy is not a concern on Facebook

As these broad, sweeping changes take effect, many would question the security and privacy of user accounts. Security and privacy issues are not a cause for concern on Facebook. These issues came to the fore long back, when an ‘ethical hacking group’ compromised many accounts by stealing the passwords. This was done to make the users aware of the fallibility of Facebook. This made the social network to make a lot of changes to the existing security status. The users were given much control over who sees their profile, photos and wall and other information.

When this fiasco subsided, it left Facebook with a whole lot of updations. Still, Facebook is lacking in security and privacy and is more vulnerable than ever to identity theft and cyber crime. Even after this episode, Facebook never lost its sheen, thanks to a crazy bunch of users of Facebook who never lost faith in him or his abilities.

What did Zuckerberg fall for in hash tags?

Apparently, Zuckerberg loves to make huge gambles- evident from a recent spate of ventures from his side. The expansion of facebook into a lot of countries over the globe falls into this category. This was a very gutsy move on part of him that earned him the status of an aggressive marketer.

To be precise, the famous $1 billion buy out of instagram in 2012 and a number of tags attached to the content directed from instagram made him to explore the possibility of introducing hash tags to facebook. The remuneration that can be generated by advertising in hash tags with a 950 million users at his disposal, really stole the show for him.

Zuckerberg surely is a business genius, a peek into his achievements

He reached heights at a time when most of his peers were unable to. He became the youngest billionaire entrepreneur at 23. Since 2010, he has been named among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He built facebook from scratch. His personal fortune is estimated to be $9.4 billion as of 2012. From his childhood, Mark Zuckerberg was labeled a prodigy by many people including his tutor. Some people even liken him to Bill Gates, the owner of Microsoft, who created the very operating system I typed this article into.

He built a software in his student days called the Synapse media player that used artificial intelligence to learn the user’s listening habits. Microsoft and AOL tried to purchase the product and were vying with each other to recruit him. But he chose to study at Harvard instead. He has donated huge sums of money to many philanthropic activities and other charitable causes that he supports. This track record cannot be that of a loser or a copycat. It is this attributes of his that has set him apart to be one of the most prominent person in the cosmopolitan society that he represents. He surely is a business genius.

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