As we discussed last week, hashtags now are officially part of Facebook and Facebook marketing. Even though Facebook users had been hashtagging for months (if not years), the social network recently began formally recognizing hashtags. So why did Facebook suddenly warm up to hashtags, and how can marketers best utilize them?
It’s not hard to see the motivator behind recognizing and promoting hashtags: #money. Facebook has been floundering when it comes to drumming up new ad revenue, so seeing how successful branded hashtags have been for Twitter, it would be stupid not to hop on board.
“If you’re a viewer watching an NFL game on the couch and search the hashtag #MondayNightFootball, for instance, that’s prime real estate for companies such as Frito-Lay or Budweiser to slot a promoted tweet right in there,” says Mike Issac of All Things D. “And that’s a lot of potential ad dollars being lost by Facebook over to Twitter. Facebook even said that on any given night during prime-time television hours, there are between 88 million and 100 million people active on Facebook. Give those folks a way to use hashtags and follow content more easily on the social network, and you’re giving Facebook’s ad guys an easier way to sell against said hashtags.”
The hashtags aren’t yet available to everyone, everywhere (and not at all on smartphones). But it isn’t too early for marketers to start using hashtags as a way to promote events, discuss popular news stories and tag products and services. Like on Twitter, just make sure you’re using the same hashtag over and over again when it comes to original services and products. This is especially key when using hashtags to promote events, parties and openings. Hashtags like #3rdStreetArtGallery are easy ways for attendees to find and talk about your event, so keep the hashtags consistent throughout a campaign. Use hashtags on Facebook the same way you do on Twitter — to engage conversation. Hashtags, above all, are good icebreakers and help stimulate discussion. Lastly, not every post needs to be hashtagged. Use these valuable tools sparingly. A great rule of thumb is only hashtag posts that deal with hot topics, upcoming events and conversation starters.
Readers, now it’s your turn. What do you think about Facebook hashtags? #Fabulous or #Fail? Tell us about it in the comments section below!