Facebook has succumbed to peer pressure and taken to the hash. Hashtags, that is. Joining the ranks of Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, Facebook says it will be supporting the categorisation technique as of this month, along with the introduction of several other complementary additions, including trending #hashtags.
Facebook’s hashtags will be clickable and searchable, allowing users to browse through related posts from friends and pages they follow. At the moment there is no advertising support for hashtags on Facebook, through it seems likely that this will be added into analytics at some point. Clickable hashtags may appear to be a small addition to the social network (and some users have always insisted on using them on Facebook posts even back when they were effectively useless) but this is one of the only significant user-based Facebook update of the last year, with most other changes being aimed at advertisers and sponsors.
So… what are #hashtags good for? Well, here are the basics:
1) Use hashtags to browse a keyword or search term. Just like on other social networks, Facebook’s hashtags will allow you to search through relevant posts, images and videos. This is useful for tracking current trends, specific keywords and current events while filtering out the rest of the ‘noise’ on your timeline.
2) Draw attention to a specific subject or point. Whether in personal or business posts, hashtags can be used to add an extra comment, emotion, opinion, and provide a cheeky aside or afterword to a post. After all, no one does snark like Twitter, where hashtags have been in operation since the dawn of the tweet… #catchupFacebook #oooohburn
3) Hold a live chat, hangout or conversation. Hashtag chats are organised and made searchable and trackable using… you guessed it, hashtags. Say you wanted to put together a weekly Facebook conversation on your page around your products and services. Simply create a hashtag about it, for example: #SocialMarketingTips, then put out the word about when your chat will be held and encourage participants to use the hashtag whenever they post within the conversation.
4) Track promotions, advertising and marketing posts. For businesses, hashtags can be very useful to see what customers are saying about your brand, products and services. Encourage users to use related hashtags when they mention you or interact with one of your posts and you will spread your name further across Facebook. Or follow hashtags that relate to your industry to see what your target demographic wants and needs…
5) Include hashtags outside of Facebook. Add hashtags to promotional material, emails, advertising and on your website or blog. If you use a hashtag consistently across your different social profiles then wherever a customer searches for the term, they should be able to find information relevant to your promo or company.
What do you think about Facebook joining #teamhashtag? And how will your business be implementing hashtags into your social marketing strategy?