Social media hashtags are now more universal than ever and can be used across social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But how effective are they and how can they be used to help us? 


We didn't really need a study to tell us, but according to reports from Simply Measured and Edgerank, Facebook hashtags are not yet yielding added exposure for brands. While it may be premature for us to judge, considering that Facebook hashtags launched in June, the two sources report that status updates with hashtags aren't helping brands gain additional exposure. On Twitter, however, they found that using a hashtag compared to not using one increased the viral reach for brands (a la retweets). 


So why aren't hashtags working on Facebook? Edgerank suggests it's because users are less inclined to click on hashtags on Facebook, whereas on Twitter, users are more likely to. Perhaps it's just that Facebook users are not yet accustomed to hashtags or it could be that brands haven't educated their fans how to use them. 


Move over Snapchat. A former Twitter engineer has built an app that lets users schedule tweets for deletion. It's called Spirit for Twitter and when enabled, the user can append a hashtag like #5m, #4h, or #3d, and voilà -- your tweet will disappear after the specified timeframe. While we can think of a few politicians or fashion designers who might want to use this, it's utility may be more strategic than erasing embarrassing or offensive tweets. Meteorologists can remove weather related tweets after the threats have passed, making it harder for erroneous information to be shared, for example. 


Still, you'd have to think that the folks at Twitter may not be fully supportive of the app, considering that it may hinder the amount of user data that can be collected. For now the app is still available using Twitter's API. 

LinkedIn to Close Publisher Pages

Unrelated to hashtags, LinkedIn has announced that it's planning to close publisher pages on its curated news portal LinkedIn Today. Instead it will migrate followers to company pages where possible. According to LinkedIn, the changes are expected to be rolled out across this month. 

Publisher page administrators should have received an email explaining the changes and LinkedIn has announced that they "will be transitioning hundreds of publisher source pages to company pages over the next few weeks." As a result, company pages may see a boost in followers, who can now engage with content posted to those pages. 

image credit: Shutterstock / Mircea Maties