The jury’s still out as to the effectiveness of Facebook hashtags, but regardless of whether or not they change the face of social media marketing, you can still harness the power of this new tool to help you build and promote your business.
By bookmarking relevant hashtags, you can keep a finger on the pulse of topics relevant to your company.
Research on your customer base and demographic is key for knowing what they’re talking about right now, what’s trending for them, their likes and dislikes. Track hashtags that are relevant to your company and your target audience to listen in on the conversation.
You can easily monitor consumers’ responses to the latest campaigns, promotions, and products, or services by creating unique hashtags for each new program and monitoring thoseindividual feeds rather than parsing through each timeline or wall post.
Additionally, you can listen in on what your competitors are doing by following their hashtags.
Be cautious selecting a hashtag, however. Do a little hashtag research prior to committing to one for a particular launch. You don’t want to accidentally step into a conversation that isn’t appropriate for your brand or image.
Hashtags on Facebook are a good way to source user-generated content.
If someone posts something pertaining to one of your brand’s hashtags—either one you created for a campaign or product, or one that you’re following because it relates to the brand—you might be able to repost that picture to your company’s page (depending on legal guidelines). This is a great way to let your fans see that you’re listening to them and/or generate new fans by promoting their content. It also adds fresh content to your brand’s Facebook page—important for keeping your page fresh and at the top of your followers’ feeds.
Facebook hashtags can expose your business to a previously untapped audience.
Depending on privacy settings, you don’t need to be a friend, follower, or fan to see a brand’s hashtagged post. This means that your post can be seen by the entire Facebook community, and potential customers who previously might not have heard of your company may suddenly become a fan due to an interest in a trending hashtag topic.
Be judicious in the use of hashtags—they’re better for a targeted approach than shotgun style.
Hashtags are best used wisely—a scattershot approach to hashtags (tagging every post with every keyword tag that you can think of) will result in alienating fans and potential followers alike. Too many hashtags, and they become little more than spam. Remember that your content is king and hashtags are just the PR machines designed to draw people in. Make sure the hashtags are ones specific to the conversation and not just generic keywords.
Be aware of the hashtag’s limitations and keep that in mind when gathering your data.
Right now, hashtag search applies only to public posts. As the majority of Facebook posts are private, you may not be seeing the whole conversation when following a hashtag feed as many of the posts may be hidden due to privacy settings.
Additionally, hashtags search only applies to status updates and not comments (yet), so if a fan or follower responds to someone else with a hashtag, it won’t show up in the feed. So while hashtags are a good way to gauge trends and impressions, it doesn’t quite show the whole story.
Created as a way to quickly follow topics of interest on Twitter, hashtags are a great way to follow a conversation on any social media platform. Used wisely, Facebook’s newest tool can help you build your brand and improve your exposure.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California and currently writes for PlanetTelex. As the founder of Gryffin Media, she understands how important it is for companies to use social media to engage with their audience.