Hashtags have finally found a home on Facebook.
The new feature, which is widely used on Twitter was met with mixed reactions on Facebook. A lot of people are complaining that they find hashtags annoying, and swearing they will never use them while others are thrilled that Facebook has finally ‘got it’.
But for healthcare marketers Facebook hashtags will be extremely useful for search and the discoverability of your brand.
While they’re still not available to everyone on Facebook, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about how to leverage hashtags to give your business a headstart.
Here are 6 hashtag tips for healthcare marketers on Facebook:
#1. Experiment with Facebook hashtags
Whether or not the new feature has been enabled on your page or profile, start using and experimenting with strategic hashtags (such as the ones you already use on Twitter) on your public Facebook posts. People who already have the feature will be able to search, see and click on your hashtag making it easier to discover your brand.
So don’t take the ‘wait and see’ approach – be a pioneer and jump in while others are still scratching their heads. Remember you’ve got to experiment to figure out what works!
#2. Use the Healthcare Hashtag Project
If you’re not sure what hashtags to use for your brand, check out the Healthcare Hashtag Project curated by the wonderful folks at Symplur.com. This resource is already wildly popular with healthcare marketers on Twitter.
So instead of re-inventing the wheel and trying to come up with new hashtags for Facebook, just use this handy database to find relevant hashtags that match your brand’s message.
#3.Use hashtags in Facebook ads
If you already use Facebook ads and promoted posts, or if you’re thinking about using them in the future, the new hashtag feature will help to amplify your campaign. Facebook officials are encouraging marketers to use hashtags in ads and promoted posts and also saying that “…Any hashtags you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook.”
This is all new stuff so you’ll have to test different strategies that drive conversations and interaction using hashtags. Again, the key is to get started and figure out for yourself what works and what doesn’t.
#4. Understand Facebook hashtag URL’s
The thing to remember is that each Facebook hashtag has its own unique URL e.g. https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/hcsm. People who search for #hcsm or any other hashtag will be able to see all the pages and profiles that have contributed to that discussion.
Right now very few healthcare marketers are using Facebook hashtags. Being an early adapter will show you off as a pioneer in the specific discussion you want to be known for. And I think in the end this will also translate into a lot of social cred especially if you keep up those conversations over time.
#5. Use hashtags in mobile posts
Even if Facebook hashtags are not yet enabled on mobile, start using them anyway to get you used to crafting strategic posts that will catch the attention of a growing mobile audience. Recent research from Edison shows that 53% of the American population now own a smart phone. Of that number, four in ten are habitual social network users, with Facebook dominating their time.
Using hashtags early in the game will give you a headstart and by the time they’re enabled on mobile you’ll already be ahead of other healthcare marketers.
#6. Find influencers and competitors using hashtags
Use Graph Search to search for a particular hashtag, and discover people, brands and even competitors that are already involved in those conversations. You can then monitor or even respond to these conversations in a way that demonstrates your expertise.
So for example if you’re an allergy doctor, search for #allergies on Facebook and you’ll see a stream of conversations on that topic. From there you can decide whether to interact with those posts or just keep an eye on those profiles/pages.
Have you started experimenting with Facebook hashtags? What opportunities do you see for healthcare marketers?