6 Marketing Opportunities The New Facebook Hashtag Will Offer

Facebook is working on incorporating hashtags, says the Wall Street Journal. Although they gave no timetable for when the change will be implemented, the news is really exciting marketers. Why? Because this new feature will help get your business noticed by the demographic you’re after, if you pay attention to what they’re talking about.

If you’re on Twitter, you know what a hashtag is. If not, here’s what it is: It’s a tag, made by placing a number sign (AKA an octothorpe) in front of a word or phrase, like this: “#business” or “#SmallBizTechnology.”  On Twitter, placing the number sign in front of a word turns that word into a link, which, if clicked on, will bring you to all the other tweets that include that same hashtag. When you want to join a worldwide conversation about a sporting event or TV show or anything else, there’ll be a hashtag to facilitate that.

So now that’s coming to Facebook. We’ve looked at Twitter hashtags in the past, and they’re a mixed bag when it comes to marketing. Here’s some more information on what’s good and what’s bad about them.

CMIT Solutions was kind enough to send us a bit on a primer on what Facebook hashtags will be able to do for your business. Check it out:

  1. Your marketing team and social media managers should be cheering from the rooftops for the Facebook adoption of the hashtag, as the #opportunities are great.
  2. Hashtags can help get your business out there and discovered by the right people. Being savvy with your hashtag use can help you penetrate conversation threads of interest to your business’ targeted demographic(s); helping you to most effectively segment your message.
  3. This inclusion will offer you the opportunity to more effectively track your targeted audience and analyze the trends resonating in your customer’s mindset. This will reduce the effort required to follow your customers’ social activities and allow you an easy view of the latest trends and opinions relevant to your market.
  4. By giving your customers a hashtag in your posts, it encourages them to use it in their own statuses. This could lead to convenient observation of the complete product/service experience life-cycle. The translation of consumer interactions not only into Facebook statuses, but photos and videos as well will highlight your brand and potentially open the door for greater reach and the possibility of viral exposure.
  5. Though there is no replacement for conventional market research, hashtagging on Facebook will hugely impact the world of your researchers. The ability to track feedback from your customers without having to directly solicit it can be game changing. As it stands right now, a brand’s fans have to directly interact with the company page. Hashtags will empower your customers with the freedom to tell the world about their impression of your products/services.
  6. Offering your customers and clients this power will not only help you uncover areas that are in need of improvement, it will also help you to capture their words for testimonials which can then be used to entice prospective clients to take the plunge.

Overall, it looks like Facebook hashtags will enhance the lives of marketers by easily allowing them the ability to track what’s “in” and avoid what’s “out”. But keep in mind, there is a point where it can become too much of a good thing. Be sure you don’t become too hashtag slaphappy; spamming is never attractive to a consumer. Key practices to keep in mind when using hashtags: be specific, be relevant, and be observant.

 

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About Vincenzo Ravina

Vincenzo Ravina is a writer, journalist and giraffe enthusiast from Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can learn more at his website, http://VincenzoRavina.com, or follow him on Twitter at @RavinaSBT.

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    As some may imagine, we’ve spent a great deal of time wondering when Facebook would wake up and make the connection between keywords, its social graph, its social search and its Small Business audience. Instead, they launched Facebook Home. It doesn’t bode well for the social juggernaut when it can’t get its priorities straight for helping businesses effective communicate and engage with its target audiences in a way that’s not “slaphappy” as you termed it, Vincenzo. (I like that…slaphappy!)

    That said, as an active Twitter user (with more Twitter profiles than I care to admit), the birth of hashtags on Facebook equates to me being able to be more active on my Facebook Page perhaps (which is sorely lacking, mostly because it’s not where my target audience is). I’ve avoided auto-posting my tweets to my Facebook Page because the hashtags wouldn’t make much sense to average Facebooker. Now, that will change. Though, I’m not sure that will actually help Facebook. Hopefully Google+ will wrap the erstwhile Jaiku’s mobile functionality into the platform…so I can more actively interact with my personal network there as I am with Twitter.

    Thanks for the post!