By Jeff Korhan
I view Facebook as a social network that gives
below-average results, but nevertheless has high potential. The recent
introduction of Facebook Hashtags will now help you to tap into that potential. Get ready because this changes
Hashtags are clickable and searchable tags
that aggregate content. These two
qualities allow you to better focus and identify your online content for those
who may be searching for it. Many of us became familiar with hashtags through
Twitter. But because Twitter is easily searched, the value of hashtags on
Twitter is not nearly as powerful as they will be for Facebook.
When Facebook launched the Facebook Like button on April 21, 2010, the intent
was to integrate content from across the web with your Facebook friends and
page fans. This was accomplished with the Facebook Open Graph, a concept also
announced at that time.
We have waited until early this year for
Facebook to launch its Graph Search, which presumably allows us to access that
data. Unfortunately, this feature has proved to be a shadow of what it can
be.Now, Facebook hashtags will change that by giving you the
means to make your association much more findable in Facebook search.
Why Facebook Hashtags are Big News
Hashtags allow you to go deeper into the
social graphs of those you are digitally aligned with, thereby helping you connect
the dots to your association.If you are unfamiliar with social
graphs, just know that they are what the social networks use to
describe, connect, and align all of us online. (Editorís note: See the Resources section at the end of this
article for additional resources to better understand this important
Social graphs largely determine who gets to
see what your organization shares on Facebook. They act like filters, keeping
those fans that you are better connected with closer to you, and therefore more
likely to see your content in their Facebook newsfeed.
For example, when you make a new friend on Facebook, you are often asked if you
know them outside of Facebook. If you click "yes", you are telling
Facebook that you are indeed closely connected. If you do not respond either
way, Facebook will make its own decision based on your respective activities,
such as sharing, liking, and making comments on each other's content.
Business marketers use Facebook advertising (and promoted posts on your
personal profile) to extend the reach of their content beyond the normal Facebook
filters. Facebook hashtags will now allow you do what advertising
does ó extend your reach ó and it is all free.
How to Use Facebook Hashtags
Hashtags are nothing more than essential
keywords. To use them well, you will have to put on your SEO hat.
When you make a post on Facebook, you will typically include a short message
and probably a link to outside content. After that, you can include searchable
hashtags to make it more easily discoverable. Here are some hashtags I'm
considering to show you how this works.
The first hashtag is the title of my book, so
its use is primarily for my purposes. For you, this could be your business name
or one of your products. The others are tags that I believe others may be using
to search for the type of content that I am typically sharing on my Facebook
page. (Note that hashtags start with the # sign and have no spaces).
So, you want to start thinking about the hashtag keywords that will
engage current members or attract new members to your associationís
content. Here are some
ideas for determining which words to consider for your hashtags:
1. To help
prospective members discover your online content.
2. To amplify your
3. To build deeper
relationships with members and colleagues.
4. To promote
offers or special events.
I've tempered my excitement about the future
of this powerful update. So, here goes: Wow! Finally! Let's get serious about
Like anything else, it will take some time for this to start generating results
for your organization. So, just get started using hashtags now (even if you do
not yet have this feature that is still rolling out). You will be so glad you
Resources for Learning More
What Your Business Needs to Know About Social Graphs is a
comprehensive article that will help you understand more about social graphs,
the Facebook Open Graph, and social search in general.
3 Facebook Hashtag Marketing Tips is a new
article that will help you make the most of Facebook Hashtags, while also
avoiding the pitfalls.
How The Social Web Works is the first
chapter in my new book, and you can download it (for free) from that link. My
belief is if you read Chapter One you will want to learn more about The Social
Marketing Process and how the social web really works, which is the foundation
of the book: Built-In Social.
Jeff Korhan, MBA, is
a professional speaker, trainer, and coach who helps organizations use digital
marketing to create exceptional customer experiences.