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Facebook Gets in the Hashtag Game

by christine

Hashtags are a tremendous way to connect with target audiences across multiple social networks, so it was great news recently when Facebook announced that it is now recognizing hashtags in its news streams.

Now, when you click on a hashtag – any phrase with the # symbol before it – you’ll get a feed of comments using the hashtag. You can also search for hashtags and write posts directly from the hashtag feed.
Let’s say you sell kayaks and are interested in connecting with kayak enthusiasts in your market area. You can now search for local people talking on Facebook about “kayaking,” or write a post – “Anyone going #kayaking this weekend?” This could lead to online conversations with local enthusiasts.

According to Facebook: “Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event – people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world.

“To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.”

This greatly expands the traditional channels that Facebook users have typically used to create the possibilities for organic and campaign-driven chat rooms.

As a Facebook spokesperson explained, “Like other Facebook marketing tools, hashtags allow you to join and drive the conversations happening about your business. We recommend you search for and view real-time public conversations and test strategies to drive those conversations using hashtags.”

Hashtags are actually a part of a bigger initiative, according to Facebook, which notes that, “hashtags are just the beginning of a plan to “bring these conversations more to the forefront.” In the near future, you can expect to see more Facebook features that allow “public conversations,” such as trending hashtags.
I recommend that you give Facebook hashtags a test drive; find out the topics that are the most popular with your target audiences and think about how you can become part of the conversation. Use hashtags to engage with your target audiences and find out what they are thinking; that’s a lot less expensive than doing a focus group!

Are you using Facebook hashtags yet? I would love to hear from you.

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