Facebook recently announced that there are now 1 billion monthly active users on the platform — a major milestone for sure! Facebook has also launched hashtags to highlight keywords or trends in posts. While many marketers rejoiced, others were left scratching their heads as they tried to figure out how the trend will really affect them says Peter Decaprio.
To start with, hashtags can be used to enhance brand results by connecting content to fan pages and other trending topics on Facebook — which is great news for brands looking to connect with audiences beyond having an account on Facebook. It’s important however to remember that people are using hashtags differently across social networks so it’s not yet clear exactly how Facebook users will be using the hashtags to enhance their posts.
The good news is that marketers can learn from how other platforms are using hashtags and figure out what works best for them — whether it’s adding tags to increase audience reach or creating branded tags to track conversations about your business. We believe that hashtags can also be used in our app to create content marketing campaigns, monitor trends and spark discussions across multiple networks (more on this soon!)
So what does this mean for brands?
Hashtags mean more content creation opportunities. Hashtags provide an opportunity for brands to join trending conversations happening on social media networks like Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Brands can tap into these trends to pull in targeted followers and reach a larger audience, but they must be strategic about it.
Content is king
Hashtags will make content more discoverable on Facebook — which can give brands a competitive edge if they are able to provide quality content consistently across social networks. After all, the mantra ‘Content is King’ still holds true today! The challenge for marketers lies in creating engaging content that people actually want to share without being too sales or promotional says Peter Decaprio. It’s also worth noting that hashtags do not guarantee high engagement as research from Buddy Media shows. In fact, hashtags might only increase engagement by 1% as opposed to 32% using pictures as per this study.
As with any new feature on social media platforms, it’s important for brands to monitor the conversation, see how people are using hashtags and then create content that aligns with trending topics.
What are Hashtags?
Hashtags are keywords or phrases used to index content on social media networks. For example, you might choose the hashtag #marketing tips to gather all of your company’s marketing advice in one place. This is great for creating an online community where people interested in learning about marketing can engage with each other and your brand!
How Can Brands Use hashtags?
Brands can use hashtags either by adding them directly into their posts or find relevant topics/hashtags organically through search. Adding hashtags to a Facebook post will make it appear under that hashtag but not necessarily every time someone searches it out — so be sure to monitor what works best for your brand.
What are some examples of Brands using hashtags well?
Brands can use hashtags to join a larger conversation happening around a specific topic or event. Just make sure that the content you’re producing fits with the desired tone of voice. Starbucks has been using this tactic quite effectively during events such as the Oscars. The brand also used hashtags to engage their audience. By asking them what they thought about proposed changes for their rewards program. Another example would be Oreo, which was able to create engaging posts around current events by adding relevant hashtags. For instance, they added #Oscars and #movies when talking about the 87th Academy Awards. Instead of simply referencing award shows in general. Oreo has also used trending topics like #Throwback Thursday and #TBT, to engage their audience.
What are the downsides to using hashtags?
It’s important for marketers to monitor trending conversations and hashtags. So they can see what is working well — rather than trying to take advantage of it. What will likely be short-lived trends (e.g., #Grammys). It can be time-consuming and difficult to try and replicate this level of engagement. Without it looking likes spam or seeming too promotional.
Hashtags are a great way to create content that will connect with an already engaged audience explains Peter Decaprio. Marketers should monitor trending hashtags and conversations. So they can take advantage of larger audiences for events or topics that align with their brand’s tone of voice.