Facebook welcomes hashtags

Millions of people have got used to hashtags on sites like Twitter and Instagram. The # symbol has become fairly ubiquitous, even on adverts, marketing material and press releases.


One place it hasn’t been seen, or at least shouldn’t have been, is Facebook. In our training courses we often advise delegates not to tweet or use twitter language (@, #, RT, DM etc.) on the site because they are completely different channels.

However, it has now been announced by Facebook, that they will start introducing hashtags for use by both people and Pages.

Facebook state: “Hashtags are a first step in surfacing relevant and important public conversations.

“Over time our goal is to build out additional functionality for marketers including trending hashtags and new insights so that you can better understand how hashtags fit into your overall Facebook advertising strategies and drive your business objectives.”

So what does this mean at a practical level for brands and businesses? Essentially, any topics, conversations or keywords that you are using a hashtag for on Twitter, can now be brought into your Facebook Page updates. But, it is important that you do not stuff your copy with #s and it still needs to be interesting and easy to read.

To find out more, click here to read the Facebook Studio blog.

Social media issues in the news

Author Michelle Carvill this week appeared on Talk Radio Europe speaking about a range of issues relating to social media. “We are all now publishers or broadcasters these days!”

Michelle covers the naivety of people posting online, the rise of the online celebrity, the Sally Bercow defamation case, trolling, the Malicious Communications Act, amplification of retweets, online education and the positive element of social media channels.

She also talks about how organisations can use social media to meet specific business objectives. And gives top tips on how businesses in the Costa del Sol could be making the most of sites likes Facebook and Twitter.

To hear the full interview, click here:

Talk Radio Europe Part One

Talk Radio Europe Part Two

Social media, child protection and the April Jones case

Following on from Michelle Carvill’s interview on BBC Radio Newcastle yesterday, David Taylor today appeared on John Darvall’s BBC Radio Bristol mid morning programme.

Topic of discussion was the horrific April Jones case and the implications for parents, search engines, internet service providers and the social networks, particularly Facebook.

A very painful subject which shows the darker side of online content.

Please listen to the interview and let us know your thoughts?

BBC Radio Bristol 13-0531 10.50am

Is Social Media Out of Control? – BBC Radio Interview with Michelle Carvill

Now that our book, The Business of Being Social has launched – our PR team has been doing a great job at generating interest from the media. Here’s the first of a number of radio interviews that we have lined up.

On the breakfast show on BBC Radio Newcastle, Alfie and Charlie posed the question to Michelle Carvill – Is Social Media Out of Control?  Take a listen – the interview is filled with practical advice and tips.

BBC Radio Newcastle 13-0530 8.10am

Enjoy and do share your views with us too? Is social media out of control?


A cautionary tale about Facebook and advertising

There has been much talk about Facebook ads for the cosmetic brand Dove which have appeared on pages which promote violence towards women. It even spawned its own hashtag on Twitter – #FBRape. Click here for the full story.

In a response to the media, Dove explained: “As Facebook advertising targets people, not pages, we cannot select which pages our advertising appears on.”

And they went on: “In the future, we will be refining our targeting to reduce the chances of our ads appearing on similar pages.”

There are several messages to take away from this story. Firstly, brands must be careful about how they target any advertising on Facebook.

Secondly, due to the vast amount of content now posted on the site, there may be times when your ad or promoted post may end up appearing close to content which is in direct conflict with your brand values.

Finally, remember that Facebook is a social network and, even allowing for their guidelines and our current laws governing defamation, people will post whatever they wish, even if it is offensive.

‘Death’ of Facebook news reports fall short

It has been reported in the press that Facebook is now ‘dead’ to young people (click here for more) who instead prefer to spend times on sites like Tumblr, Snapchat, Vine and Keek.

At the same time, Facebook was said to have lost millions of members in established markets such as the United States and here in the UK (more on this here).

Facebook’s own data reveals that they now have 1.11 billion members with as many as 751 million people accessing it via mobile devices (great article here).

And the site made $1.25bn (£803m) of advertising revenue in the first quarter, 30% of which came from mobile.(See the BBC for more on this story).

So what does this all mean, apart from give us lots of different stories and apparently conflicting stories?

Looking at youngsters and Facebook, this story merely illustrates the further fragmentation of the media. Mobile users can access hundreds of different social networks, blogs and internet pages. The 18-25 age group, who have grown up with Facebook, will have grown tired of the adverts and indeed the site itself, turning to newer and leaner social networks. However, they are unlikely to be turning to the traditional media.

In terms of the dramatic fall in users, this signifies that Facebook has maximised its penetration in key markets. With over 30 million members here in the UK, it still has more daily users than all the country’s newspaper sales combined. And it is the over 30s who still make up half of the users – these have many to spend and will respond more favourably to adverts on the site. Hence the increase in profits from advertising.

As we always say in our training courses, Facebook is undoubtedly extremely powerful and is looking to take on the internet itself. But marketers and business owners should never put their eggs into one basket. Social networks come and go, types of marketing come and go. It’s what’s best for you and your organisation that counts.