Facebook’s recently released hashtag feature, which began rolling out globally last week, provides brands with more opportunities to monitor relevant conversations in order to engage with audiences in real-time, says integrated SEO, PR and social media agency, Punch Communications.
In much the same way as they function on Twitter, Facebook hashtags, when clicked, display conversation threads containing posts that have used that specific hashtag. This offers brands the scope to not only monitor live conversations – which could potentially concern the brand, its products, or the industry in which the business sits – but also to interact effectively with fans. Such activity could increase reach and page awareness, and by listening and engaging with generic hashtag terms, brands can gain a better understanding of how they are perceived.
Hashtags are also searchable, meaning that brands can seek out specific conversations to gain key insights into sentiment and preference. They are also a useful tool for conducting competitor research, and to identify new key influencers within the social environment; processes that were once resource intensive. The addition of hashtags also means that businesses no longer need to use social listening tools to track promotions, campaigns and events on the social media platform.
As with any major Facebook update, privacy is always a user concern. However, Facebook has confirmed that users with strict privacy settings will not be displayed in conversation streams.
Pete Goold, managing director of integrated social media, PR and SEO company, Punch Communications, commented: “The introduction of hashtags on Facebook could have a major impact on the way that brands monitor and engage with users on the platform. Not only does the new feature allow brands to gain in-depth insights into real time conversations on the company, its competitors, an event, or the industry it operates within, but it also makes it possible for them to join in with these conversations. Hashtags are easily searchable and it is anticipated that over time, this functionality will be used widely by Facebook users, meaning brands can tap into trending terms, as is possible on Twitter.”