Thanks to their rich collection of consumer information like age, workplace, interests, and much more, Facebook is a virtual gold mine for marketers who want to advertise to a targeted audience. Last week, the social media giant announced their plans to roll out yet another function that will increase their ability to collect data on their users. The hashtag function, originally made popular on Twitter, is now available on Facebook, and it has the potential to change how marketers engage with the site as well as how users interact on it.
More Accurate Targeting
Facebook already allows its marketers to target their potential clients based on their interests, but the introduction of the hashtag function will make those marketing efforts even more accurate. Currently, Facebook may tell a marketer that a user likes a band or a product or an activity simply because they liked the page that is affiliated with that particular entity. This can be an incredibly useful way to target consumers who may like your product, but unfortunately, it is not always an accurate way to target them.
The average Facebook user may have simply liked a page because it popped up on their feed one day, and they may not even feel that strongly about it. In other cases, after liking a page, a Facebook user may have changed their interests and forgotten to unlike the page. Unlike the pages that people have liked, hashtags prove that an individual has a vested, active, and current interest in a band or product or activity, and marketers can use this interest to their advantage.
Amplify Marketing Efforts Across Platforms
Facebook was actually one of the last social media sites to add the hashtag to their list of functions. Hashtags are already commonly used on Twitter, Flickr, Google+, and Tumblr as well as many other sites, according to AffinityExpress.com. If you have already integrated hashtags into your marketing strategy on other websites, you can simply roll those efforts onto Facebook.
Track Your Brand
Hashtags allow users to easily track conversations and trends. How this may change Facebook in general is still up in the air. Currently, the site tends to be a place for family and friends to keep in touch, and most users prefer their information to stay private. If the hashtags take off, it has the potential to change the site into a sphere for online conversation among people with shared interest regardless of whether or not they have met in person.
Regardless of how hashtags may modify the overall Facebook culture, marketers can use the hashtag feature to track when, how, and how often consumers are mentioning their brand or their company. Whether a marketer is promoting a product like small business credit cards or a specific brand, they can use the hashtag feature to get an intimate look at how their current and prospective clients are engaging with their brand.
As use of the hashtag increases, it may completely change how marketers use Facebook. Rather than promoting their brands by encouraging consumers to like their page, marketers may take a more conversational approach. They may plant conversations and hope for them to go viral, or they may follow trending conversations and manipulate or guide them as needed.