After several months of speculation, it’s finally happening, as of the 12th June, users will be able to use hashtags on Facebook. Some Facebook users have been using hashtags ever since Twitter introduced them as a way of categorising posts, however up until now posting hashtags on Facebook has been ineffective. Similar to Twitter and Google Plus (which has also recently adopted the use of hashtags), adding “#” at the beginning of a word will turn it into a clickable link leading to a feed of any other posts which included the same #word.
Facebook stated that it offers users a “larger view of what’s happening” however we say that it offers businesses a larger opportunity to reach audiences with social media. Users are now able to:
- Search for a specific hashtag from the search bar – e.g) #royalascot
- Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram
- Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results
How can businesses take advantage of hashtags on Facebook?
Until now, conversations on Facebook haven’t been public, meaning that brands were unable to read any discussions an audience might have been having. However from now on, if a user clicks on a hashtag on Facebook, they will be presented with a chronological list of comments with the same term, this includes posts from users and pages that you’re not friends with and have not liked.
This is a major opportunity for businesses to reach larger audiences, and more importantly, reach those who are specifically talking about topics that involve the business’s products or services. In a similar way to Twitter, companies can add related hashtags on Facebook to each post so it gets discovered by a larger audience.
Here’s Facebook’s message to brands:
“Like other Facebook marketing tools, hashtags allow you to join and drive the conversations happening about your business. We recommend that you search for and view real-time public conversations and test strategies to drive those conversations using hashtags.”
As far as privacy matters are concerned, users are still able to control who can view their hashtags on Facebook. In a similar way to Facebook Graph Search, other users will only be able to see the comments that the author has authorised as public.
There are more features in the pipeline for the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights. Facebook does not currently allow advertisers to target people posting a specific hashtag or to sponsor a hashtag, as is the case with Twitter, however, we’ll be watching hashtags on Facebook as this may change in the near future! Click here to read Facebook’s announcement in which they introduced the hashtag feature on their blog.
Are you already using hashtags on Facebook?