According to Facebook, hashtags used in posts on personal profiles or pages essentially turn keywords such as topics or phrases into clickable links that are grouped together, much in the same way as Twitter.
So for example, if you were posting up something about the London Underground, you might use the keyword #tube or the phrase #LondonUnderground. Here is an example of someone either clicking a #LondonUnderground hashtag or searching for it:
As you can see from the example above, there is one post from a page, and one from an individual who has opted to make their post public in their post settings.
What are the point of hashtags?
As is the case with Twitter, hashtags serve one purpose – to group and index keywords and phrases about any given topic. But what are the point of hashtags on Facebook, you might be asking yourself?
Here are a few reasons:
People will click on them – if the hashtag appears in a post on someone’s newsfeed and it is on a topic that interests them, there is a high possibility that they will click on it. Let’s face it, humans are naturally inquisitive beings, so we would want to see what else was posted on that topic;
Posts won’t disappear into a black hole – like with Twitter tweets, any posts made using a hashtag will remain for historical purposes. For example, a #Wimbledon hashtag might contain a public post from you the moment you saw Andy Murray end Britain’s 77 year wait for a Wimbledon champion.
How can hashtags help my business?
The observant among you will have noticed that we mentioned hashtags can be used in posts from pages as well as personal profiles.
Businesses that utilise Facebook for social media marketing campaigns will have realised the increased marketing potential that this new feature on Facebook can bring for them. Here are some of the main reasons:
Competitions – by regularly posting up details on any competitions that you are running and using multiple hashtags, you will be increasing the likelihood of people clicking on links back to your page on Facebook and sharing your posts with their friends;
Product promotion – got a new product you want to promote? Post up about it and help the word spread! Like with competitions, well-worded posts and carefully chosen (and popular) keywords will ensure brand awareness is increased.
Before running any marketing campaigns on Facebook with a view to relying on hashtag clicks back to your page, you should make sure that you research popular hashtags to use on your posts. So using the London Underground example at the beginning of this blog post, #tube and #LondonUnderground are popular hashtags, but #TFL is not.
This helps you to target your posts at specific audiences, enabling you to maximise your marketing efforts on a core group of interested people.
There have been some concerns raised over the privacy of the Facebook hashtag feature.
The social networking giant has stated that any posts you share which have hashtags in it will only be shared according to your overall or individual post settings – so if you only shared that post with your friends, then only they will see your post, but if your post is made public then everyone that looks at the feed for that hashtag can see yours too.