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Facebook Considering Hashtags: 5 Ways to Use Hashtags

facebook hashtag redo

Facebook hashtags could make it easier to find others on the social networking site and market your business, if the hashtags feature is soon added as insiders and a recent Wall Street Journal report have suggested.

Hashtags, a feature up until now associated mostly with rival Twitter, have forged an accepted place in marketing on social media sites. Flickr added hashtags [1] recently to its latest mobile app. Google+ and Pinterest also recognize  hashtags. If Facebook adds hashtags that will round out the top social sites.

Hashtags (a word or phrase prefixed with the symbol #) could improve the way business owners and entrepreneurs network, interact and share on Facebook.  Hashtags make information easier to find, especially if you give a unique hashtag to an event or topic of news that is currently hot.  People tag their content with a hashtag phrase, and others can find it by searching on such phrases.

Reports have been unspecific about when the company may roll out the new Facebook hashtags feature.   But until then, below are five ways suggested by Janette Speyer and Katrina McNeill [2] of Web Success Team about how to use hashtags in your business marketing.  In anticipation of hashtags being implemented on Facebook at some point, I’ve described how hashtags could be applied in the context of Facebook:

5 Benefits of Hashtags for Marketing

1. Find Better Conversations

It goes without saying that conversations are still happening on Facebook, but they can be difficult to locate using simple Facebook search tools. Because you are often networking with people you know on Facebook rather than discovering new people who share your interests, hashtags may be a huge help in connecting with people in your niche or industry, just by finding their conversations.

2. Join a Chat

Of course chats have long been possible on Facebook, but hashtags could make them so much easier to start and follow. Instead of setting up chats on a particular fan or personal page, hashtags would make it easy to organize a chat around a topic, niche or interest. This would allow others to view that chat later through the same hashtag.

3. Do Some Research

You can do some simple searching to locate pages of interest on Facebook today, but the search may be difficult with some terms yielding literally hundreds of results. Hashtags, if incorporated on Facebook as they are on Twitter, might make it easier to monitor trending topics and to locate specific conversations built around the topics in which you are most interested.

4. Locate Tribes

Distinct hashtags may make it easier to locate specific groups of Facebook users. For example, those having discussions around very specific hashtags like #smallbusiness or even #BizBookAwards. Knowing these hashtags ahead of time would make it easy to connect with these tribes more quickly and join in their discussions.

5. Check Out the Competition

Obviously, hashtags on Facebook could give you the opportunity to see in a different way what audiences are saying about your competition (and, for that matter, what they are saying about you [3].) They would allow you to track conversations beyond your competitor’s Facebook page to see what messages are going out to other groups of users and what kinds of responses they solicit.

Remember, Facebook has not yet implemented hashtags, and according to the Wall Street Journal, they are “not imminent.” No one knows exactly when they will be implemented.  Still, the above advice is good for using hashtags on any social network.

Last week we reported why some businesses might want to rethink Facebook [4] for their marketing and communications needs.  Will hashtags change anyone’s mind, if they’ve given up on Facebook?  We doubt it.  But for dedicated Facebook users, it could add more functionality to help convey information and build an audience around specific topics.

Share how you will use hashtags for your business, when they are launched, and whether the new feature will change how you look at and use Facebook in the future.