Hashtags have become such a large part of our digital society that consumers insist upon using them even where they don’t belong. Yes, I’m one of the many avid Twitter users who has rolled my eyes at a hashtag on Facebook because, what’s the point? A hashtag isn’t just an excuse to make a random statement; it’s a tool that helps you discover conversations that you want to join. Think of Twitter, for example, as an ocean of thoughts and ideas. The hashtag is the bait by which one attracts a relevant conversation—and then joins it. Simply put, if you can’t click on a hashtag, it’s not doing its job.
Today, Facebook changed all that with the introduction of clickable hashtags. To date, according to Facebook, “there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what's happening or what people are talking about.” Now, the availability of hashtags on the network will open the floodgates to public conversation and take engagement to a new level.
For marketers, this is huge. If you’re already using hashtags in campaigns, you can now broaden your reach to a new—and incredibly extensive—audience. And what’s more, hashtags that are shared by content from other services, like Instagram, will also work on Facebook, further unifying your campaigns. And let’s not forget about listening. With hashtags on Facebook, you can now discover what people are saying about your brand beyond your page, and also what they’re saying in general to ensure you’re always getting to know your audience. Then, you can insert yourself into relevant, public conversations to bring real value to your target audience and genuinely engage.
And there’s more to come. Facebook stated that they’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, such as trending hashtags and deeper insights, which will be critical tools for marketers.
So, what’s your initial reaction to Facebook hashtags? And more importantly, how will they change the way you interact with your target audience?