Why Facebook’s new #hashtags matter to YOUR business

#Hashtags can be a huge gamechanger for Facebook marketing. WHY? #Hashtags are the only free Facebook tool designed to connect you with people looking for information about your topic.

Think about it. Right now, there are only three free ways people see your brand/fan page posts on Facebook:

1) They go directly to your page from a link on your site or because they search for you.
2) Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm puts your post in your fan’s feed. Two things to remember here: only fans will see these AND Facebook only shows your post to a small percentage of your fans — between 2%-17% of your fans, depending upon your page’s popularity.
3) You fans share your post with their friends AND Facebook shows that post to their friends. (Even people are “throttled” by Facebook, so while this is your best free option, it is still limited.) And, of course, there is no guarantee that friends of your fans share their interest in your business.

#Hashtags target your best prospects — people who are actively looking for information on your topic. They don’t have to be your fans or customers. They don’t have to search for you by name. Instead, they simply search or click on a hashtag and there you are.

#Hashtags will help surface content you posted months or years ago. Not immediately, as hashtags are new. Start adding hashtags now, though, and you’re poised to show up whenever someone is looking for your expertise… today, tomorrow, or next year.

#Hashtags let you join conversations right now. “Trending topics” on Twitter already allow you to see which hashtags people are talking about. As Facebook integrates  this feature into their search graph, the same thing will happen on Facebook. When your company or organization has a legitimate point to add to a news topic or trending hashtag, simply add the #hashtag to a relevant post and you increase your odds of the content being seen by the right people.  (You need to use this carefully — don’t pollute the stream by adding random popular hashtags to your post.)

You can’t expect hashtag search to take off overnight on Facebook. Still, position yourself for success by adding hashtags to all your posts, starting today.

Lynn O’Connell is the Creative Director of O’Connell Meier, a digital + direct marketing firm serving national trade and professional associations. Follow her tweets @omdirectLynn

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