Following the Digital Tourism Think Tank’s article earlier this year reporting rumours circulating on the integration of hashtags into Facebook, the social network has now finally confirmed and launched the feature. June 12th saw clickable hashtags incorporated into Facebook, allowing the discussion topics to be accessible via the search bar or clicking hashtag links.
All About Conversations
As reported by the Drum, Facebook discussed the update in a blog post, stating that, “to date there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what's happening or what people are talking about. To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook. Hashtags are just the first step. We'll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world's conversations.”
How does this change affect destinations and tourism organisations? Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide, hence any updates to its system are relevant to marketers targeting any demographic. Hashtags in particular are a great tool for travel boards to gauge people’s perceptions and feedback on various topics and campaigns, as shared amongst their personal networks. They allow an opportunity for conversations to be catalogued at a click for reference and strong insights. Additionally, with campaigns now searchable via hashtags on Facebook in addition to other social networking sites, a more unified approach to social media marketing can be taken, which in turn allows for greater audience recognition of these campaigns.
It must be noted however, as mentioned in our previous article, that users tend to keep their profiles much more private on Facebook than on other hashtag-enabled networks such as Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, thus limiting the power of the tool in connecting related discussions. The tracking of conversations is hence largely restricted to public pages, and the reach of the privately used hashtags reduced. All in all, however, the integration of hashtags into Facebook is a great opportunity for destinations and tourism organisation to tap into their customers’ interests and engage with them, and it will be very interesting to see how marketers will incorporate them into campaigns in the near future.
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