If you’re a social media user who still doesn’t know what a hashtag is, it’s time for you to learn something new.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag consists of words or phrases (with no spaces), preceded by a # sign (i.e. #SBW13 or #StanleyCup) that is used to tie various social media posts together and relate them to a topic. Topics are sometimes connected to an event, TV show, sporting event, or any happening or trend of your choosing.

Hashtags have been popping up all over the place in recent years and most likely, you’ve seen them on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or even Vine.

And while some thought this day would never come, this week, Facebook finally announced that they too will support clickable hashtags that let users start conversations and organize topics on their social network.

Find out why this announcement matters to you and get caught up on all the marketing news of the week in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. Hashtags have finally arrived on Facebook

Facebook confirmed this week that all users will soon have the ability to follow conversations via hashtags on their social network. This announcement comes just a few months after reports of them coming out on Facebook began popping up back in March.

It appears that the new Facebook hashtags will work the same way that they do on Twitter and other social networks. Users will be able to view a feed of comments by searching for a hashtags or clicking on one.

According to Facebook, the ability to use hashtags will be rolling out to all users in the coming weeks.

Bottom Line: Whether you like them or not, hashtags are a key part of social media marketing. In fact, 71 percent of people on social media use hashtags. They aren’t that bad either. The same study found that 43 percent of users think they’re useful and 34 percent use them to follow categories and brands of personal interest.

When we heard the news, we asked our fans on Facebook what they thought of the latest development. Read what they had to say and don’t forget to share your input!

2. Yelp adds local recommendations

Yelp announced the addition of personalized local recommendations to the “Nearby” feature on its mobile app.

Previously, “Nearby” only provided a basic list of restaurant categories that allowed users to find businesses by proximity and ranking. Now, it offers a new look and feel and will provide recommendations.

Recommendations will be generated based on a number of factors including, location, previous Yelp check-ins, reviews, and Yelp friends. Interestingly, time of day and weather will also be considered when recommendations are being provided.

Bottom Line: With more than 45 percent of all Yelp searches now coming from mobile, it’s clear that Yelp has evolved into a different type of marketing platform. By providing local recommendations, Yelp is giving businesses like yours more opportunities to get discovered by mobile users.

If you haven’t yet, make sure the information users find on your Yelp page is accurate and up-to-date. For help, read how one Vermont restaurant is able to manage their online listing and achieve online marketing peace of mind.

3. Twitter testing new analytics features for all users

Twitter began testing a new feature this week that would give all users access to Twitter analytics.

Up to this point, Twitter has only provided analytics to its advertising clients but, that may soon change.

While Twitter has not confirmed any plans to roll out analytics to its entire user base, it did say that they were experimenting with the possibility.

If the new feature is added to all user accounts, Twitter users could soon have access to valuable insights including:

  • How many favorites, retweets, and @-replies-specific tweets are received
  • Follower growth overtime
  • The interests and geographic locations of followers

Bottom Line: These days, more and more social networks are realizing the value of providing analytics to their user base. While Facebook and Pinterest were among the first to take this important step, Twitter has stopped short in providing full access to Twitter analytics.

If this test is any indication, this could soon be changing. In the meantime, there are tools currently available that you may want to consider.

One of our favorites is Hootsuite. Here’s a great video tutorial from Kristen Curtiss, social media specialist here at Constant Contact.

4. Third of all Americans now own tablets

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 34 percent of American adults now own tablets.

The survey, which collected data from more than 2,200 adults in the U.S., also found that tablet adoption is highest among 35-44 year olds, with 49 percent of respondents saying they now own a tablet.

Other interesting data included:

  • Tablet ownership among parents with minor children living at home has grown from 26 percent in April 2012 to 50 percent in May 2013
  • Adoption by those living in households making at least $75,000 per year has increased from 34 percent to 56 percent
  • The penetration rate among college graduates has jumped from 28 percent to 49 percent

Bottom Line: While smartphones are generally the first thing people think of when it comes to mobile, it’s clear that tablets are also playing an important role in the lives of your customers. With tablet adoption nearly doubling in the last year and more than a third of all Americans now accessing the internet via a tablet, it’s never been more important to be thinking about mobile.

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