Facebook hashtags change the game and let marketers take their content to a wider, targeted audience.
One of the search engine optimisation headaches for online marketers was how to reach out to a bigger audience on Facebook.
Until now, the problem has been users opting in to see your posts and content, which severely limited the audience.
Facebook envisages that when users are discussing a TV show or event with their friends, they can become part of a broader discussion by adding a hashtag to their post.
For instance, Facebook reckons the recent ‘Red Wedding’ episode of the TV series Game of Thrones picked up 5.2 million viewers in the US and had 1.5 million Facebook users buzzing.
Clicking on #RedWedding or #GameOfThrones embedded in a Facebook post lets the user see what people across the service are saying about the event.
This opens a new vista to Facebook marketers who can hashtag trending events or topics to embed links to their own content.
A wedding supplier could embed content under #RedWedding and reach an audience of millions – for free.
So how does the Facebook hashtag work?
To make a hashtag, insert ‘#’ before a topic or phrase in your post – the Facebook example is:
I walked up so many hills today! #SanFrancisco.
When another Facebook user clicks the hashtag, a feed of all the other posts sharing with you are visible.
For businesses that share a public post on their page, anyone who clicks the hashtag will see the message.
Facebook hashtags will also pick up posts from other services, like Instagram, so you can crosslink content from outside sources to Facebook users.
“Hashtags are just the first step to help people more easily discover what others are saying about a specific topic and participate in public conversations. We’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations,” said a Facebook spokesman.