Facebook’s recent announcement that the platform will begin rolling out support for searchable hashtags (a central feature on Twitter since 2007 and more recently on Instagram) offers enticing opportunities for hotel marketers.
A central benefit of searchable hashtags is that they offer the ability for individuals (and page admins) to track “real-time” conversations and — most importantly — to participate in those conversations. In its own blog announcement of the new feature, Facebook’s corporate team highlighted the volume of these real-time conversations:
“During primetime television alone, there are between 88 million and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook — roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night. The recent “Red Wedding” episode of “Game of Thrones” received over 1.5 million mentions on Facebook, representing a significant portion of the 5.2 million people who watched the show. And this year’s Oscars buzz reached an all-time high on Facebook with over 66.5 million interactions, including likes, comments, and posts.”
The unmistakable scent of ad dollars is in the air with that description, as it seems clear Facebook’s investment in the new functionality is designed to integrate with its ad program. But that’s the business model. Despite it, or in service of it, hashtags will still prove useful.
How do they work? When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed displaying any comments people or pages are making containing the identical hashtag.
To take Facebook’s example, if you see a comment such as “Tony Parker rocks! #NBAFinals,” you can click on the hashtag and see a feed with everything from individual posts to posts from the NBA itself.
For hotel pages, it’s not necessary to focus only on hashtags that are trending widely. A hotel brand can create a hashtag in support of a sweepstakes or photo contest it’s promoting and encourage fans to use the hashtag in their shares with friends or photo submissions.
Or, enter a trending conversation and get creative.
I’ll look forward to seeing the use of hashtags evolve on Facebook and look forward to your ideas and #feedback!