Monday, 22 July 2013

Don’t make a Hash of it. Facebook #Hashtags, Why Your Brand Needs to Get on Board

Waseem Saddique Marketing Services, an online marketing solutions service provider, examines the early impact of Facebook Hashtags and makes the case for business brands to get on board.

The Facts

According to Social Media Today, in the first two weeks of hashtags being launched and made clickable some very interesting stats emerged:

·         56% of the top 100 brands on Facebook used hashtags in a post
·         38% of the top 100 brands on Facebook posted at least two updates with hashtags
·         18% of the top 100 brands on Facebook posted more than five times using hashtags
·         6% of the top 100 brands on Facebook posted more than 10 times using hashtags  

Waseem Saddique comments: “If big name brands have embraced the use of hashtags on Facebook, it makes sense for all business brands, on Facebook, to follow suit.”

Hashtags on Facebook are a relatively new addition however; hashtags have existed on other social networking sites since their inception. The # is most commonly associated with Twitter and other social media sites such as Google+ and Instagram soon followed suit.

For many social media analysts it came as no surprise that Facebook joined the hashtag revolution, as they allow users to keep track of information, conversation threads and their favourite business brands. 

Why do businesses bother with hashtags?
Simple, it allows them to implement interactive and unique conversation threads that are relevant to the business brand. It also allows companies to establish a consistent brand message spanning multiple social media channels. For instance, now that Facebook has initialised hashtags brands that upload a large amount of visual content on Instagram or Twitter can make it simple for their followers to see a consistent message that carries a consistent message across many platforms.

How to use Facebook hashtags
The most important aspect of using Facebook hashtags is to create a tag relevant to your brand. It should be unique; to avoid getting lost in the clutter, but not too obscure otherwise followers will not engage with it.   

The Facebook help centre provides a practical example of how to use its hashtags:
‘Hashtags transform subjects and phrases into clickable links in your posts on your personal timeline or Page. This helps people find posts about topics they’re interested in. To make a hashtag, write # (the number sign) along with a topic or phrase (written as one word) and add it to your post. For example:

I walked up so many hills today! #SanFrancisco

When you click a hashtag, you’ll see a feed of posts that include that hashtag. You'll also see some related hashtags at the top. You can search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of any page.’

Waseem Saddique says: “To enhance your business brand on Facebook, hashtags represent the best course of action. They’re target specific, yet flexible, allowing users to implement unique conversation topics and quirky & catchy slogans that capture interest and provoke intrigue.”

Facebook hashtags have featured prominently over the last couple of weeks, particularly in recent news stories including: #royalbaby in relation to the impending birth of Prince William and Kate’s baby, #georgezimmerman and the not guilty verdict given in relation to Trayvon Martin’s murder and #iOS7 marking the launch of the new Apple iPhone.