Facebook #Hashtags and Brand Benefits

Kadee Gray / 21st June 2013 / Comment

facebook-hashtags

Boasting a much larger network than its social counterparts, Facebook recently jumped on the #hashtag bandwagon by releasing their own version earlier this week.  Like Instagram, Twitter, and Google+, the Facebook #hashtags will enable users to discover and take part in public conversations. #Hashtags work in personal updates (but are only searchable when the update is set to public), fan pages, groups, events, and comments.

In this post, we break down the benefits of #hashtags, how they behave on Facebook, and a few tips for brands looking to join the conversation.

#Hashtag 101

  • Members use a specific keyword with a #hashtag (e.g., #Facebook) to connect related conversations.
  • By adding a #hashtag to a public update (all Facebook brands are public), your update then becomes a part of the discussion.
  • If enough people use the #hashtag, it can become a trend and attract more people to the conversation.
  • You can track the conversation and see what everyone is saying by searching the #hashtag in Facebook’s search bar, or clicking on one you see in your feed.

#Hashtags and Facebook

Hashtags facebook

  • #Hashtags, when used in a status update, are automatically hyperlinked to an overlay page (with a distinct URL) that displays a history of the most recent updates using that #hashtag.
  • #Hashtags do not impact Facebook’s news feed algorithm. This means it will not give more weight to your status update, only the ability to be surfaced in a #hashtag search.
  • #Hashtag results include posts from your friends first, and then from public pages and people.
  • If your personal posts are set to “private” or “friends only” any updates that include #hashtags will not show up in public search and will only be seen by friends. You can read more about Facebook’s privacy settings here.

#Hashtag Tips for Brands

98 days to shine

  1. Don’t #hashtag everything. Facebook communities may take a bit longer to adopt the use of #hashtags so take the time to play around with them sparingly to see how your community reacts and engages.
  2. Keep it simple. Stick with one or two #hashtags (at most) per update and don’t feel like you need to use one in every update you send. Which takes us into point #3.
  3. Make sure the #hashtags are relevant to the conversation you’re already having on your page. Being a part of the conversation gives you the potential to increase engagement and find a new audience in real-time. Do not, for the sake of discovery and popularity, use a #hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand.
  4. Keep advertising to a minimum. If your fans get a whiff of fake association or covert advertising, you risk losing them. #Hashtags amplify your voice in the midst of the conversation and with Facebook still a relatively private platform, users may not take to advertising activities as well Twitter users.
  5. Have fun. When thinking about #hashtag campaigns, think of using them in a way that will spark conversation and creative thinking rather than an opportunity for brand name recognition. A great example of this is the ESPN Women campaign titled #98DaystoShine which encourages women to take pictures (with new prompts daily) of their health routines. #98DaystoShine not only lends emotion to the campaign, but puts you in a completely different mindset. Sounds a lot more exciting than #espnW does, right?
  6. Go beyond talking. If brands decide to use the Facebook #hashtag feature as just another way to get their name and products out there, they won’t have much success. My favorite thing about the #hashtag feature (from the brand’s perspective) is the ability to listen and, for the first time, engage (!) with people on their updates. Before, brands were limited to responding to fans who posted on their page or engaging with other brand pages. Now, they have the ability to initiate conversation and interact with people who post public #hashtag updates. Take advantage of this feature by listening to the conversations and genuinely interacting. It will take more effort and time, but the chances of creating a meaningful connection are much higher.

What do you love (or hate) about the Facebook #hashtag feature? Have any tips of your own? 

By Kadee Gray