Hashtag use has become second nature for social media users trying to categorize or for users searching for messages of a certain topic. Many users--and even some brands--have requested improved functionality for Facebook hashtags for some time; many have even included hashtags previous to the release, even though they didn't serve any purpose.
Now that they're here, it's important to know what they mean for your brand. To cut to the chase: they probably don't mean much for the customer service activities of brands....yet.
While similar in theory to Twitter hashtags, there are definitely some ways in which Facebook's hashtag stream falls short in helping brands provide better social customer service. The main kicker is that while Facebook users can like, share and comment on content created by both pages and users (unless privacy settings prevent otherwise), brand pages are only able to interact fully with content from other pages in the stream.
With brands increasingly being proactive with their approach to social customer service the inability to reach out to customers will be frustrating for many. In light of Facebook’s user agreement disallowing users from having more than one personal account there appears to be no legitimate way for brands to reach out to customers who do not post on their official page. The ability to share is also unlikely to be something that brands will want to do, as sharing content will create a new post on their page, circulating a potentially negative comment to a much wider audience than would otherwise be the case.
Still, a limited hashtag stream is better than no stream at all--it allows brands to see whether users are mentioning them and engaging with their campaigns. It's certainly a good start, but Facebook hashtags are not a major game changer for social customer service.
Download the brief to answer:
How does presentation of hashtags differ between brand pages and user profiles?
What can brands do to take advantage of Facebook hashtags?
What privacy concerns arise from use of Facebook hashtags?
Where does the functionality of the hashtags fall short for brands?