#Itsaboutime: Hashtags Invade Facebook
Some things in life are inevitable – like death, taxes, and terrible mobile phone signals. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Facebook (finally) introduced hashtags earlier this week. While this feature isn’t necessarily a “groundbreaking technology” it will affect the way brands approach their Facebook strategies. Because being “fashionably late” rarely works in social media, I’m here to give you the down-low on these infectious critters we call hashtags and why your brand should start seeing cross-eyed!
This Ain’t Your Old School Number Sign…
Hashtags were first introduced to social media by everyone’s favorite blue bird, Twitter. Hashtags are meant to serve as a means of conversational taxonomy. So, let’s say you have a profound interested in sweaters. You’re probably curious what other sweater connoisseurs are buzzing about, so you would run a Facebook search for “#sweaters,” which would then aggregate every third-party post that contains “#sweaters” for you, all in real-time!
The best part about this is that you don’t need a special membership card to join these conversations. Simply include “#sweaters” (or any # for that matter) in your post and you’ve officially joined the buzz. You can include as many #’s as you like and can simply click on any # you find in someone else’s post to view the respective conversations around that #.
- SEARCH POWER
Using hashtags will allow you to associate posts and trending keywords with your brand. If you sell sweaters, you can make a post that includes #sweaters and other related keywords, such as #wool, #winterwear, etc. Whenever users search these topics, your respective posts will appear in their results, thus brand exposure is born!
- GENERATE CONVERSATION
Hashtags can be used to generate conversation around brand-specific promotions or topics. If your sweater shop wants to engage users, you can prompt them to interact by generating incentives, like sharing their photos of their favorite sweaters. Simply ask users to post photos of their favorite sweaters using a branded hashtag i.e. #RepYourSweater.
If you’re brand is attending a sweater convention, you could hashtag the convention title and use it as a means to network i.e. “We’re at #SweatCon13 – stop by Booth 123 to say hi and receive a free sweater shaver!”
- FILTER OUT THE JUNK
When you search for hashtags on Facebook, the realtime results are displayed in a separate pop-up feed. In this feed, you can directly view all conversations around your # of interest, as well as directly respond/interact from within the feed. This makes liking, sharing, and commenting on third-party posts a lot easier. It’s like handpicking boring people from a party and only leaving the sweater-lovers. Score!
- PRIVACY LIMITATIONS
Many Facebook users have privacy settings that prevent their posts and profiles from being visible to the public. These privacy settings will limit amount of hashtag posts you can search. Unless you are friends with a user that has strict privacy settings (or if he/she already likes your page), you will not be able to view their post in public hashtag searches. However, you shouldn’t fret, there are still countless public sweater-lovers posting and joining each day!
- PEOPLE CAN BE ANNOYING
We all know that person who likes to include a million useless hashtags in their post i.e. “#omg #sobored #hashtags #are #fun #quotes #glitter #Sunshine #ForgotBreakfast #Whatsyourname #Gibberish.” Not only are these annoying on the eyes (and brain) but these can sometimes add useless posts to your conversation results. If someone is hashtagging every word that comes to mind, “#sweaters” being one of them, you’ll see this post taking up space in your hashtag search results and you’ll likely want to punch something.
At the end of the day, Facebook hashtags have more pros than cons. While the hashtag is a big move for Facebook, it will likely get bigger and better in the near future. It’s only a matter of time before brands will be allowed to build sweepstakes and promotions around Facebook hashtags. If leveraged right, such functionalities could help you acquire new like’s while generating significant buzz around your brand!
Is your Facebook strategy #lacking? Metaverse is always on standby to jumpstart your Facebook page with ongoing content creation and around-the-clock community management. Contact us to learn how we can build and engage your online community today!
Social Media Manager