Facebook recently announced the incremental rollout of the almighty clickable hashtag. In just a few short months, many Facebook users may be able to add hashtags to their posts, making these comments part of larger online discussions. Clicking on a hashtag will open a feed of what others have to say about that topic. By further integrating this massive online community, Facebook hashtags have major implications for marketers.
A hashtag turns a phrase or topic into a clickable link that helps people locate posts about interesting topics. Users will soon be able to post hashtags on Facebook pages and timelines. Hashtags can already be searched on Facebook and users can click on hashtags originating from Instagram and other external services. They can even combine posts from hashtag search results and feeds.
Once all Facebook members are able to use hashtags, marketers will find it easier to track Facebook conversations regarding their promotional campaigns. This is an excellent free alternative to paid monitoring services. Brands that currently use Twitter chats for marketing will soon be able to do the same on Facebook, gaining access to a larger, more engaged online community.
Facebook plans to roll out trending hashtags, making content discovery even easier. Marketers may even have the ability to pay for inclusion in trending lists as they can on Twitter. If trending topics on Facebook become as popular as they are on Twitter, the expense will be a no-brainer because a brand will be able to make money from it.
When Facebook rolled out clickable hashtags, it did not enable their mobile use. With mobile device usage exploding, brands relay on conversations from customers on the go. Once mobile use of Facebook hashtags is enabled, these conversations will be easier for marketers to reply to and track for refinement of future marketing campaigns.