The introduction of hashtags on Facebook caused quite a stir among its users. While there were those who scoffed at this copy-cat move, many more were excited at the prospect of having fun with keywords to affix the hashtags with and keeping track with the currently popular topics. There’s also a group of people who should definitely be happy with the introduction of Facebook hashtags: Internet marketers and advertisers.
The Purpose of Facebook Hashtags
Facebook hashtags work the same way as they do in Twitter. When affixed right before a keyword, it becomes a clickable link that will then display recent posts containing the same hashtag and keyword.
The purpose is for users to know just how popular a topic is on real time. If there are no recent posts about it, there won’t be any results to show.
The great thing about it is users will be able to know what others are saying about a particular topic. Isn’t it that when we’re on social media posting about a very hot subject, we also want to find out what our friends think? Well, this feature will certainly make that easier. It beats scrolling through the news feed for related posts.
What This Means for Advertisers and Marketers
Having hashtags on Facebook is a huge thing for advertisers and social media marketers. One of the things that’s lacking in the social media site is a search tool for posts (something that Twitter is very good at). Now with this feature in effect, it will be easier for advertisers to promote brands and for marketers to run marketing campaigns.
They can do the same SOP’s when it comes to Facebook marketing: come up with interesting, memorable, and entertaining content which may have the potential to go viral and then post the said content with a brief description and a call to action encouraging others to share it. This time they’ll need to add a little something extra: a Facebook hashtag along with the brand name, product keyword, campaign title, or whatever it is that’s being promoted by the post.
You may have noticed that some advertisers are already capitalizing on this opportunity by adding plenty of tags on their posts. This increases their chances of scoring exact-matches, and as well as the chance to be visible hashtag feeds. This may be a problem in the future (when people start screaming spam), but for now it seems to be the track advertisers and marketers will be taking.
Here are some of the more specific actions marketers can do with the Facebook hashtags:
1. Monitor the effectiveness of the campaign – looking at feeds of hashtag variations for a campaign can show:
- – the volume of posts/reposts made regarding the campaign
- – the volume of posts made at a given time (you can quickly scan through the times and dates of the posts)
- – the geographical reach of the campaign
2. Promote campaign titles more effectively – by simply using the campaign title as a hashtag keyword, Facebook users can easily find out what it is about by clicking it and looking at the feeds.
3. Use keywords for optimization – marketers will now be able to utilize keywords more in their Facebook posts.
Issue of Privacy
As always, users were immediately concerned about the integrity of their privacy settings with the introduction of this new feature. Recall that the purpose of hashtags is to show all posts containing a particular keyword/topic. However, the privacy settings override this feature. If the account’s privacy settings doesn’t allow non-friends to see the user’s posts, his/her posts will not appear in the results feed unless the one viewing the feed is a friend.
In theory, the privacy settings of users rules over any of its features. There are some slip-ups here and there, but so far it seems like things are going well where Facebook hashtags are concerned. On that note, owners of business pages and accounts in Facebook are reminded to check that their posts are visible to the public so that they can be seen in the results feeds.
It’s still very early for the Facebook hashtags feature to be judged for its effectiveness (or ineffectiveness). It’s also probably safe to assume that lists of trending topics will also be available in the near future; otherwise the feature won’t be fully maximized for advertising. Also, the users themselves need time to acclimate themselves with using hashtags. It doesn’t seem to be very widely-used yet, and if only small a fraction of the members’ population will get into the habit of using Facebook hashtags, the feature may not become as effective for advertising as expected.