A few months back Facebook introduced hashtags. Every word preceded by the hash symbol turns into an active link that redirects to separate page with a list of posts containing that hashtag. Are there any shrewd ways to utilize this feature as part of content marketing efforts?
Hashtags as a concept is not a novelty, given they have been allowed by other platforms much earlier. But Facebook’s enormous user data base offers new and exciting opportunities for marketers. Using hashtags on Facebook, you may get different results from those achieved on Twitter, G+ or Pinterest where hashstags are also available. But before you even begin, it’s best ruminate the whole idea and run tests for a few weeks. Then you can decide whether your brand needs hashtags at all.
Some say Facebook hashtags are rather pointless. But I think it’s best to figure it out yourself, given there’s no pattern that works for every audience and every country.
Here are five simple ideas how you can test out hashtags on Facebook.
1. Hashtag as a way to promote events
You can create a hashtag that serves as a referrence to an event, or a special offer. Thus, people interested in the event, or the offer will receive a quick and easy way to access their details. For example, an online retailer can come up with a hashtag #GreatDiscounts and use it in every post that conveys information about lower prices. Another example is a company organizing a yearly meet-up for their users. A hashtag #MeetUp2013 might be a great way to help people find all information about the event without digging into your previous posts.
2. Hashtag as a way to reach people unaware of your brand
Currently, Facebook marketing without paid ads can be daunting, given only limited percentage of fans see your posts. Hence, hashtags might be a way to amp up the reach and engagement, due to the fact that hashtagged posts are visible to people who aren’t your fans (yet). There’s no certainty that this strategy will work out for your specific audience, but it’s certainly worth checking.
3. Hunting for popular hashtags and including them in your posts
As with Twitter, Facebook ranks hashtags in terms of popularity. Basically, it means that some hashtags are clicked more often than others and you can find out which ones. What marketers can do about that? Well, obviously the thing is to track hashtag trends. In this way, you might be able to decide which hashtags to use in your posts and which to drop.
4. Create hashtags and encourage people to use them
Hashtags can be used as a simple online contest tool, in which you encourage people to use your hashtags. For example, you may come up with an online contest in which people take part by posting something with a hashtag. This might be an easy way to spread the word about your contest. Applying this strategy, you must remember that contestants must have their posts visibility set to “all”. In other words, they can’t block their posts visibility to other Facebook users, because you won’t see their posts.
5. Hashtags can be used offline cross-platformly
Facebook hashtags can be used in the offline world as well, given they might be easy to remember and type, especially for people on the go. Think of people waiting for a bus playing with their smartphones. It’s possible they may want to check out hashtags they see anywhere around them. If your hashtag strategy is the same on Twitter, or G+, you even don’t have to point them directly to Facebook.
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