Facebook introduces hashtagsUnsurprisingly Facebook announced on Tuesday that they have introduced the use of #hashtags on its site to follow in the steps of Twitter and Google+. What perhaps is surprising, is that it took so long!

This latest system upgrade allows Facebook users to:

  • Insert hashtags into their status updates.
  • Search for a specific hashtag using the search bar e.g. #virtualassistant.
  • Click on a hashtag that originated from another social media site i.e. Instagram.
  • Create posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.

The only downside at the moment is that users can still control who sees their posts, even if they contain hashtags, therefore limiting the service slightly. However with the introduction of hashtags many users are now more likely to post their content as ‘Public’, opening up their discussions to anyone interested in that particular topic.

This is good news for both personal Facebook account holders and businesses using Facebook to market their services or product.

On a personal level, you can now easily keep on top of and respond to matters that are important to you in real-time e.g. what’s happening on The Apprentice (#apprentice) or the latest UK news (#bbcnews).

But more importantly, from a business perspective the introduction of hashtags will enable your service or product be found by Facebook users outside of your immediate circle of friends. Opening up new opportunities to interact and build leads.

Facebook’s Greg Lindley wrote “Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favourite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event—people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world. 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.”

So I wonder what else will be coming soon?

Via their Studio page, Facebook published advice to marketers on how hashtags can be used by businesses to discover and engage in conversations.

In a nutshell:

  • If you are already using hashtags in an advertising campaign through other channels, you can amplify these campaigns by including your hashtags in Facebook advertising. The same creative best practices on Facebook still apply – compelling copy and photography that is in the brand voice works best.
  • Any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook Page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook.
  • Like other Facebook marketing tools, hashtags allow you to join and drive the conversations happening about your business. We recommend you search for and view real-time public conversations and test strategies to drive those conversations using hashtags.
  • Hashtags do not impact your distribution or engagement in News Feed on either desktop or mobile. We recommend you continue to focus on your existing campaigns to drive your most important business objectives.

So don’t forget, next time you’re sharing news or offers via social media sites, include those hashtags for Facebook updates too.