#RumourHasIt that Facebook is looking to incorporate the hashtag feature into its News Feed. Sure, the same feature that set Twitter apart from the rest of the social media networks - until Google+ started using them too. People have gone so far as to create Facebook pages to protest against the possible notification monsoons.
However, as a social media manager, there is much to rejoice about. Hashtags can open great opportunities for marketers.
1. Out of the Shadows:
Just like keywords help you optimise your business pages for Search Engines, hashtags will help you get discovered by the right people. Hashtag lists can be the SEO for Facebook. Using the appropriate hashtags, you can penetrate into conversation threads that are being read by people of similar interests and of specific demographics which will help you segmentize your message effectively. Specially since Facebook introduced the new Graph Search, hashtags can be a very promising feature!
2. Sherlock Holmes for Facebook:
The inclusion of hashtags also means that you will be able to keep a better track of what your target audience is engaged in. This will help you better analyse social media trends and understand the consumer's mindset. You won't need to put in too much of an effort to follow your customers' conversations, record their trails and tab their activities. The hashtag listings will give you an easy peek into latest trends and opinions. Creepy for the customer, gold for the marketer.
The Facebook hashtags can introduce what movie makers call a "second screen" experience. So your customers enjoyed your BTL activity? Give them a hashtag and encourage them to update their statuses about it! Soon, you'll have entire experiences translated as Facebook statuses, photos and videos for others to witness. This gives your brand a greater reach and higher chances of virality.
4. Brands, lend me your ears:
You can't replace conventional market research but Facebook hashtags will be a huge help for your researchers. You can easily get feedback from your customers by following your brands' hashtags and finding out what customers all over the world are saying about you. Right now, fans can interact with brands on their pages but brands can choose to hide their customers' posts and filter them. With Facebook hashtags, your customers will have greater power and more freedom to tell the world what they think about your products.
When your customers talk about you, you not only get feedback for improvement, but their words also work as testimonials for your prospective clients. Imagine the possibilities when the functionality of blogs and reviews gets merged into the most popular social network on the planet!
That's not all. Brands need to engage with their consumers and become a part of their conversations. With Facebook hashtags, it will be easier for you to search for topics that are similar to your product categories and gain credibility by voicing your opinions.
All in all, it seems that Facebook hashtags will favour the marketers immensely. Your brand can get recognition, your customers will be empowered, you can keep track of what's "in" and what's "out", create second experiences through social media and respond more effectively to your customers' feedback.
But beware! There is a high chance that there will be businesses who will overdo hashtag marketing and end up spamming their consumers. At all costs, avoid spamming. We'll write more about this as soon as we get updates on this aspect. Be sure to keep checking this space for more news.
About the Author:
Nabiha Zeeshan is a social media addict currently loving her job at Cygnis Media. She spends her leisure time researching on social media trends and consumer psychology. Follow her @NabihaZeeshan