Facebook #Hashtags. Wait, What?

That’s right, according to sources, Hashtags are coming to Facebook.

Why is this important?

I’ll tell you –

1. Ownership

Let’s get one thing clear: Hashtags are not owned by Twitter. They’re used heavily throughout the platform, of course they are, they help track conversation topics. In fact, Twitter is so entrenched in the hashtag that they’ve now taken to describing themselves as “The shortest distance between you and what interests you.”

The “you” in that equation is the @name. The ‘what interests you’ part of it? That’s right, the hashtag. Hashtags really are great for finding conversation topics. You know what else they’re good for?  Ad sales. But we’ll come back to that…

Hashtags are used across other social networks but when your average consumer sees them today, it’s fair to say they immediately associate them with Twitter.

Not for much longer.

Keep in mind, where else are Hashtags used? Instagram. And you know who owns Instagram, right? Right. Facebook.

2. Graph Search

With the advent of Facebook Graph Search, Facebook appears to be strategizing and getting to grips with meaningful conversation data. What do I mean by that? I was on a panel recently about Facebook’s latest product and one of the issues that we discussed about Graph Search was the disparity between the two elements of data it’ll search; behavioral and surrendered.

I might like something, but that might just be to gain access to an app or a game or whatever. That’s behavioral and that’s not the type of data a marketer may put to use. With surrendered Facebook is trusting its users to enter their information fully and honestly – this simply does not always happen.  These two combined may not provide the most useful insights.

However, using hashtags to badge up Facebook posts suddenly creates anchors within user conversations. First, these anchors are searchable and second, you can sell ads against them.

3. Discovery  

Last month, Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships at Facebook, made it very clear that television and the second screen was definitely an area that Facebook was going to move in to. Perhaps not immediately, but soon.

Being able to tag your Facebook post against say, the TV show that you’re watching? That’ll be one major step towards that paradigm.

Earlier this week I wrote about what Twitter’s new Ad API meant for social media ad-planning. With Facebook now introducing their own version of the hashtag, this same model applies: choose your TV show, pick your audience, choose your time slot, go buy ads…

OK, so obviously this won’t happen overnight; Facebook has a billion users and it needs to ease them into it slowly.

With the new News Feed inbound, Facebook Hashtags (and their ads) could soon be just a click away…

Mobile + Social = Mocial

This post first appeared on WOMMA’s All Things WOMM blog

Mobile Drives Adoption of Social Media in 2012

If a company wants to connect at a faster pace with its customers in social forums, it should build a mobile engagement and content strategy to reach them at a faster clip.

In a recent study released by Nielsen, consumers now spend around 20% of their total time online using social networks via their personal computers and 30% of their time online visiting social networks on mobile. In addition, time spent on social media in the U.S. across both platforms grew 37% to reach 121 billion minutes in July 2012, up from 88 billion minutes in July 2011.

Mobile devices are aiding in growing these numbers, with consumers’ time spent using social media mobile apps and mobile websites accounting for 63% of the year-over-year growth. Forty-six percent of social media users say they use their smartphones to access social media, and 16% say they use social media on a tablet.

This makes the need for all social campaigns to think “mobile first” in order to capture this growing dynamic.

Here are three key takeaways for adopting Mocial:

  1. When thinking of social programs, think mobile first. More consumers are engaging at a more rapid rate on mobile devices than ever before.
  2. Time spent on social is synonymous with mobile. When people login, they are 30% more likely to be accessing through a smartphone or tablet than a PC
  3. Social TV is no longer a fad. Engaging on social networks while watching TV is a behavior picking up steam with just under 50% of tablet/smartphone owners.