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A lot has been written about how organizations have successfully unleashed the power of hashgtags in their marketing campaigns. Whether it was Nike’s #MakeItCount campaign, Domino’s #letsdolunch or even Barrack Obama’s #40dollars campaign in 2011, hashtags provide marketers with an excellent anchor for conversations in social media. With Facebook’s introduction of hashtags in June 2013, a new casket of opportunities has been unearthed in the realm of social media marketing.

An Overview

The advent of Facebook hashtags has created a lot of buzz amongst marketers across the world with discussions pertaining to its functionality, effectiveness, shortcomings, privacy issues and so on. To start with, the hashtags introduced by Facebook are clickable, enable users to search conversations on specific hashtags in the Facebook Search Bar and create new posts within the hashtag feed and search results, as well as empower marketers to add hashtags in their Facebook Ads. Users can even click through these hashtags to view users talking about the same topics on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. For users who have activated their settings to “friends only”, their conversations will only be visible in the hashtag feeds of their friends. Also, unlike Twitter, companies cannot purchase hashtags from Facebook as of now.

Facebook Hashtags: A Boon for your Facebook Marketing Strategy

Facebook Hashtags will provide a great means to index and categorize Facebook conversations. Apart from facilitating your brand’s exposure to millions of users, Facebook hashtags allow your business to track potential consumers by tracking real time conversations, harness the power of word-of-mouth advertising and make your content relevant to digital conversations. For instance, using a hashtag to introduce a new product is a great way to broadcast about it to users who are on the lookout for such a product. Similarly, using a catchy hashtag to launch a new marketing campaign boosts engagement levels and increases the chances of our content going viral.

Guidelines for effective usage

Optimized and judicious use of hashtags will enable effective customer targeting, with increased brand visibility and traffic. On the contrary, their unplanned use can lead to PR disasters on the lines of Mc Donalds (#McDStories) and Qantas Airways (#QantasLuxury). Here are 5 important guidelines for Facebook hashtag usage:

1.    Use a maximum of 2-3 hashtags per post; anything more than that hampers readability and appears unprofessional.

2.  Ensure that you use camel case, which means if you want to hash tag the keywords “best SEO company”; it should look like #BestSEOCompany instead of #bestseocompany. Also note that spaces are not allowed between hashtagged words that are clubbed together. So if you use #Best SEO Company, your conversations or ads will get featured in the hashtag feed for best facebook marketing strategy only.

3.    If you are broadcasting a particular product or service, make sure you are outlining a clearly visible “Call to Action” as well.

4.    Hijacking irrelevant or controversial hashtags has proved to be a major faux pas on Twitter (remember the Kenneth Cole #Cairo fiasco?) and the same is going to be applicable for Facebook as well. Using hashtags that could irk the sentiments of a certain section of users could create a lot of negative PR for your business.

5.    Make sure that the company-specific, brand-specific or campaign-specific hashtags that you use are unique and are not being used by someone else.

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