Top Story: Facebook Jumps on the #Hashtag Train
Facebook announced this week that it is jumping on the hashtag bandwagon. Following in the footsteps of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, Facebook will now offer clickable hashtags. Even though many Facebook users may already use hashtags in their statuses for fun, they serve no function. Facebook is making sure to latch onto every opportunity to create greater communication by giving these hashtags a purpose. #HowAwesome!
The new feature will work by opening up a list of posts from friends and pages that users follow after users click on a hashtag. These clickable hashtags will not interfere with privacy settings if users decide to use them. If a user’s post is private, the hashtag will only allow the post to be visible to friends.
These hashtags will allow users to search for certain topics and events, making it easier for them to interact with others.
According to Facebook Director of Platform Partnerships and Operations Justin Osofsky, “Between 88 and 100 million Americans log in to Facebook every night during prime time TV hours, which represents a significant opportunity for broadcasters, advertisers and our other partners.” These users can now see what other Facebook users are saying about the shows they are all watching.
For example, the Oscars generated 66 million Facebook likes, comments, and posts. Users were already using hashtags on Facebook to talk about them. Likewise, a Game of Thrones episode recently acquired 1.5 million mentions on Facebook. These examples show that Facebook is ready for clickable hashtags because its users are already using Facebook to share their thoughts about popular topics.
How can marketers leverage these Facebook hashtags? A Facebook spokesperson said that “if you are already using hashtags in an advertising campaign through other channels, you can amplify these campaigns by including your hashtags in Facebook advertising. The same creative best practices on Facebook still apply – compelling copy and photography that is in the brand voice works best.”
These hashtags will therefore allow marketers to create more fully integrated campaigns. They will be able to track and generate conversations about their brands on Facebook. Marketers will also be able to use hashtags to see what users are already talking about and determine how to incorporate these conversations into their outreach.
Facebook says that it is just getting started with hashtags. Only a limited number of users can currently use hashtags, and the remaining users will gain access within a few weeks. Many more new features are also expected to come, including a list of trending hashtags.
Will you start using hashtags in your Facebook content?
Tool of the Week: Timehop
What were you doing a year ago? That’s what mobile app Timehop wants you to think about. Timehop pulls together information, updates and photos from social feeds including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and Flickr. The app can even pull photos from your digital camera, if you sync it to the app.
Timehop is like a social media time capsule that shows you what you were posting about exactly a year ago from today. Every day, the app refreshes with a new set of memories, giving you the chance to see just how much has (or hasn’t) changed. The app also pulls past events from USA Today.
Timehop is currently only available on iOS. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can subscribe to an email version.
Will you sign in for a look into the past?
Under the Radar: MySpace Rallies for a Re-Launch
Remember MySpace? How long has it been since you’ve visited the site which saw its heyday circa 2004? Back then, the site boasted tens of millions of visitors per day. It was a pioneer in both social media and online music streaming, but not for long. As other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and music sites like Pandora, Rdio and Spotify took off, MySpace fell into a downward spiral.
Critics condemn MySpace for making a textbook social network mistake – losing touch with their users. Everyone has come to accept that the Myspace glory days are long gone… or are they?
In 2005, Irvine, California-based Specific Media owners Chris and Tom Vanderhook teamed up with pop artist Justin Timberlake to buy the site for $35 million, and they’re not ready to let MySpace completely die out without a fight.
‘‘Today more than ever there’s this need for a creative ecosystem that kind of caters to the creative community and that’s both a social network and the streaming services attached,’’ Tim Vanderhook said. ‘‘For us when we looked at it, we really talked to a lot of artists and . . . they all said, ‘I use all these various platforms but none of them really do what we need.’ What they really needed, they explained to us, was a home.’’
The new MySpace was unveiled on Wednesday, revealing a site focused on entertainment that combined social networking with streaming music. There is an app, a radio function, and new featured aimed at helping musicians, writers and other artists connect with their followers.
To celebrate their re-launch with a bang, MySpace is rumored to be spending $20 million on an ad and PR blitz. A 30-second promotional TV spot, directed by famed indie photographer Ryan McGinley aired this week on Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, FUSE, BET, Adult Swim and ESPN. The spot is also said to appear during game 4 of the NBA finals. Clearly an effort to boost its “cool” factor, the commercial also enlists the help of big name indie stars such as model Erin Wasson, singer Sky Ferreira, and rapper and producer Pharrell Williams.
The Vanderhooks believe that MySpace’s previous owners made a mistake when they tried to compete with an emerging force, Facebook. At its peak, they viewed MySpace was driven by a sense of discovery and sharing. Bands could post songs, tour schedules and blogs for their fans, making it more of a direct website that gave users their first sense of social media’s capabilities. The new MySpace site continues to help bands, filmmakers and writers with analytics that measure fan response and other tools to help them grow.
Critics say it is too early to tell if the relaunch will work. Relaunching a brand is difficult, even under the best of circumstances. MySpace will have to combat the fact that its previous customer pool, youngsters, have outgrown MySpace and moved onto newer social networking sites. In addition, the revamped site debuts at a particularly competitive time, given that Apple launched iRadio this week. Nonetheless, the Vanderhooks are confident that people will jump back on the bandwagon, given that MySpace has 38 million users and is growing everyday.
What do you think? Is this what MySpace needs to get back into the game?
Around the Hub: Boston Business Journal’s 2013 Best Places to Work Awards
Yesterday evening, business professionals from the Greater Boston area packed the Citi Wang Theatre for the Boston Business Journal’s 11th annual Best Places to Work event. The event celebrated companies that are creating a high level of workforce satisfaction and loyalty.
The 80 winners ranked highest among the over 400 companies whose employees filled out an anonymous survey. The results were tabulated independently by Quantum Workplace of Omaha, Neb.
The evening began with networking on all three floors of the resplendent, palatial Citi Wang Theatre – reminiscent of the splendor of a Louis XIV palace and previously a movie “cathedral” that housed vaudeville musicals and big bands. Under the sky-blue painted ceilings, gold moldings, and imposing marble columns all masked in a warm glow from glittering crystal chandeliers, over a thousand attendees nibbled on delectable hors d’oeuvres by Ambrosia and drink options by Samuel Adams Beer, 90+ Cellars Wine, and Polar Beverages.
Crowds buzzed on every level and the excitement was palpable.
After an hour and a half of wining and dining, the lights dimmed and beckoned the crowd into the theatre’s deep red and gold auditorium. There, the ceremony began. 25 companies were honored in the categories of: small, mid-sized, and large company. All were invited to be as wordy as they desired, for a $25 donation would be made to Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston per word said over three.
In true Best Places to Work fashion, the countdown to number one in each category was rowdy and full of surprises. From giant beach volleyballs to thunderstix and clappers, the evening has no shortage of highlights. Boston’s best workplaces proved to earn their accolades with company perks like a private island off of Belize, paid trips to vacation destinations, fully-covered pet insurance, fully-stock kitchens and beer rooms, and the like.
The number one winners are as follows:
- Small Company Category: Richards Barry Joyce & Partners – A commercial real-estate firm with a compensation program of bonuses and profit sharing, team-building events, and great benefits.
- Mid-Sized Company Category: Fiksu, Inc – A mobile app marketing firm whose employees participate in a 100+ mile bike ride, a Board Game group, and regular team outings from sporting events to harbor cruises.
- Large Company Category: Seaport Hotel & Seaport World Trade Center – seven-time Best Places to Work winner and hotel that holds bi-annual fun-themed employee meetings, employee relations programs, and excellent training programs.
Only intensifying the experience was the social media engagement. With the hashtag #BBJBestPlaces, all attendees were encouraged to tweet alongside the event, whether it be to share an inspirational quote, a funny photo, or an unforgettable highlight. Not only did this give the audience the opportunity to directly connect with award winners, but also connect with those who could not make it to the event.
Were you at BBJ’s Best Places to Work last night? What were some of your highlights?