Social Media | 6.10.14
This year’s World Cup, as expected, will fill up the web with hashtags of all sorts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even newer applications like WhatsApp. Although the hashtag has been around since the first days of social media, it has overcome a lot of criticism and doubt to end up integrating itself in every aspect of the web and modern society, even being added as an official word to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary last month. Are hashtags actually here to stay? We say, “yes.” Here’s a quick look at how hashtags have been changing the way we’ve been communicating on the web lately:
Facebook and Twitter Add New Hashtag Features for the World Cup
First, let’s get started with what’s commencing on Thursday. With 1.28 billion Facebook users being soccer fans and anticipating the start of the World Cup, Facebook decided to add in a few new hashtag-friendly features for the world’s biggest event. Facebook users will be able to track their favorite soccer teams in the special World Cup section called “Trending World Cup”. This is a special hub that will house stats, latest scores, highlights, and posts from friends, players, and teams.
In addition to this, Facebook has included an interactive map to track where fans of top players are located in the world. They’re also launching a dedicated page called FacebookRef where fans can view commentary made by Facebook.
Twitter is bracing the world event with its own hashtag features. It dubs the official hashtags to be #WorldCup and #WorldCup2014 and reintroduces “hashflags” that let users support their team with a little bit of flair. When each user includes a country’s three-letter code hashtag (#USA, #COL, #FRA), a miniature flag graphic will accompany the post.
Hashtags Now Appear in Google Search Results
Here’s something many don’t know about! When a user types in a hashtag in Google search, the search results bring an entire right side panel or real-time results of social media users communicating and publishing posts with that hashtag. There’s also a couple of links at the bottom that asks if the user would like to search for this hashtag in Facebook and Twitter.
Trending Hashtags Get More Visibility Than Others
If a certain hashtags is used frequently over a short period of time, it becomes a trending hashtag. Trending hashtags are those hashtags you see on the left side of your Twitter profile. All trending hashtags display to all Twitter users, increasing the likelihood that the content placed with those hashtags will be seen by lots of people.
Marketers will find that they get more reach with incorporating established, popular, trending hashtags than hashtags they create themselves. As long as marketers are publishing relevant content with the correct hashtag, content has an opportunity to thrive.
Hashtags Can Help Analyze and Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns and Branding
Hashtags are still invaluable tools that allow marketers to discover what their target audiences are talking about online. Although Twitter starting the hashtag trend, users can see and incorporate hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, and Google+. By searching for hashtags like #justdoit, #nike and most recently #riskeverything, for example, Nike can figure out the current sentiment and topics associate with their brand. Additionally, brands can discover marketing campaign performance, other competitors, and influencers related to their brand.
There’s Such Thing as Hashtag Activism
After 200 Nigerian school girls were captured by rebel terrorist group known as Boko Haram, media sources like the Associated Press and Reuters caught wind of this news along with a prominent hashtag initiated by Nigerians that has spread around the world: #BringBackOurGirls. Since then, celebrities, politicians, media sources, and the public have all shared this hashtag, which has tacked on growing awareness internationally for this incident. Media publications and politicians are proving more and more that they’re looking to social media to find out the hot topics being talked about and they’re using hashtags to discover them.