Use New Facebook Hashtags to Market Your #SmallBiz Nicci Troiani It used to be, that when your friends hashtagged words in their Facebook status, you just silently cringed and thought “that’s not how you do that.” (just me?) Well, Facebook has FINALLY made their hashtags clickable. This is really great for your small business. Why?– Because hashtags are great for marketers. They can expand your audience and enhance your messaging. Why hashtags are great: They compile a common thread of updates. So, #SmallBiz, for example, will be a thread of everyone who has used that hashtag. Using a hashtag specific to your business is an easy way to see all of your updates in one place. They increase your reach. Normally, only people who “like” your business page will ever see your updates. Now, your fans as well as people scanning through the hashtag thread can see your messaging. With new features, there are always some marketing rules. Here are our tips on what to do and not do with hashtags: What to do: Use a creative hashtag brand-specific hashtag to group all of your messaging. This will also help you track audience engagement as your update thread will also show anyone who is using that hashtag (customers and prospects). Use hashtags to reach out to a bigger group– when they make sense, use new hashtags to reach more eyes. What not to do: Post incredibly long posts with multiple hashtags – there is a reason that Twitter limits to 140 characters and that is because long, self promtion-y posts are NOT fun to read! Use popular hashtags that don’t make sense– While using a popular hashtag will increase your reach, if you use one for solely that reason and it doesn’t make sense with your messaging, people will see through that. Your audience doesn’t want to be marketed to! How are big brands using hashtags? Starbucks, (a personal favorite brand– only slightly having to do with my caffeine addiction) has jumped on board quickly. Here are a couple of examples: The coffee- giant uses the hashtag #treatreceipt to spread the word about their treat receipt promotion. Starbucks gets creative with straws and the hashtag #strawsome.