In June 2013 Facebook announced it will roll out a hashtag feature that’s been going on Twitter now for a good couple of years. It is too early to say how many businesses and marketers have thought about taking advantage but it’s believed that once people get used to the idea hash tags on Facebook could well become as popular as they are on Twitter.
In short, the way it works is, you may write something on your Facebook status and end the comment with a hash tag. Something like:
“I am watching the Second Test at the Oval and it’s very hot out here in the stands! #theashes”
The hash tag “The Ashes” (which should always be written as one complete word with no spaces, represents the cricket series between England and Australia taking place over the summer of 2013. By clicking on the hash tag in Facebook you will be automatically linked into several other posts that have also used the hash tag. However, you will only see those posts that are specifically shared with you (and of course any public ones).
This could work wonders for businesses as you might want to write something like:
“Two drinks for the price of one down at #Corkyswinebar tonight!”
Now clicking on the hashtag for Corky’s Wine Bar would automatically take users to all the other posts for the wine bar and of course they will see such phrases as the many other special offers that may be taking place at the wine bar this week.
It’s possible you could work this for any business be it car mechanics, accountancy services, restaurants or festival events. Facebook users who are encouraged to promote a business hash tag would have to be encouraged somehow to make their status updates public. By default only around a quarter of all Facebook’s users make their updates public, so there would be a great deal of missed opportunities here. On Twitter all posts are made public automatically, where as Facebook is defaulted to private (or Friends Only) unless you select otherwise.
At present the hash tag in Facebook will only link to those that have the tag in the status update. If your hash tag appears in one of the comments that follow a status update, then it will fail to make it in the search results. The Facebook hash tags will be rolled out everywhere by early 2014.