When Twitter Met Facebook: How Your Brand Should Use Hashtags

Wednesday - July 3rd, 2013

Written by: Tristan Pelligrino

When Twitter Met Facebook: How Your Brand Should Use Hashtags

It’s official: Facebook has launched its new hashtag feature, jumping onto the popular bandwagon that has defined the Twitter experience. With Facebook hashtags, marketers experience the benefits of organized posts on the world’s largest social media network. Finally, there’s a simple way to see the larger conversation and participate in it as a marketer or brand.

Currently, hashtags are only available to a handful of Facebook users, with expansions planned for the following weeks and months. Hashtags are designed to be the first step in Facebook’s long-term plans to continue developing deeper insights into the social network and the marketers that use it.

When unveiling the new hashtags feature, Facebook cited the Super Bowl and the Oscars as prime examples of the marketing opportunities hashtags can one day provide. For instance, there were over 66.5 million Facebook interactions revolving strictly around the Oscars. And there are up to 100 million Americans on Facebook during primetime television every night of the week.

So how can your brand utilize Facebook hashtags for your marketing efforts?

  • Develop a hashtag for your brand. By tagging all of your posts with your brand’s hashtag, any user who likes your post can easily see the rest of your posts. Furthermore, as your following grows, customers and fans will recognize your hashtag and will include it in their posts should they write about your business.
  • See what’s trending. Whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook, use the hashtags feature to see what the masses are talking about and feel free to add your brand’s voice to the conversation. Remember, just because something is a “trending topic,” it doesn’t mean that it’s an appropriate opportunity for your brand to get involved. It’s much more appropriate to join a #FathersDay trend versus a #political trend.
  • Use hashtags appropriately. Hashtags are meant to connect thoughts – simply. Some people try to get complicated or fancy by hashtagging an entire sentence. This is a major no-no. Take a few notes from television programs who utilize hashtags for their “second screen audience.” For instance, FOX posts about #Idol, but would never post #TuneIntoAmericanIdol tonight. Hashtags are a simple thought – typically just a word. And if you must hashtag more than one word, be sure to capitalize the first letter of each word for readability.
  • Don’t be desperate. A hashtag or two per post is usually enough to be effective. There’s no reason to hashtag a dozen things in a single post. Remember, hashtags shouldn’t be the bulk of a post’s content; instead, they’re what increases the likelihood that the post will be read by a wider audience.
  • Be cautious. Anytime you market online, it’s impossible to predict the way that audiences will respond. It’s best to be cautious, especially when you’re trying to market a sentiment via hashtag. For instance, McDonald’s tried using #McDStories to get customers posting about their positive experiences at the fast food chain. Unfortunately, the hashtag was hijacked and there ultimately ended up being thousands of negative posts attached to the campaign.
  • Be consistent. Be consistent in your use of hashtags and feel free to use them in any Facebook ads that you’re running! After all, a good marketing effort is consistent in all its aspects!

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