On Wednesday, June 14th, Facebook announced on its blog that it’s rolling out hashtags.
Its social cousins have been using this pound sign followed by a word or phrase since their inceptions to add context to a post and indicate its part of a category or larger discussion. Facebook even admits that Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest have been using this feature for a long time to create conversation and connect users.
So why have they decided to release the hashtag feature now?
Because according to Facebook, “to date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about.”
The hashtag feature won’t take effect for everyone immediately, as the Facebook rolling out process is slow and steady to make sure it works for everyone, and is among a “series of features” Facebook is releasing that “surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public figures.”
Not only will you be able to search for a specific hashtag from your Facebook search bar, you’ll be able to click on hashtags that originate from other social media outlets, such as Twitter and Instagram. You can also write posts directly from the hashtag feed.
The ultimate question is, how will users respond?
Facebook may think that people will love the new feature because they use hashtags on almost every other social media outlet. And who know, hashtags may take off on Facebook. But what if they don’t? What if you use hashtags in your posts and the majority of your followers are annoyed? They could hide your post for now, or forever – or worse, they could stop following you altogether. For a business, how well your social media does directly relates to ROI, so losing followers on Facebook is the same as losing money.
There’s no telling what will happen with the hashtag on Facebook, but one thing is for sure – it should shape your ongoing social media strategy. Hashtags may work well with one business’ content on Facebook, but do poorly with another business.’ You won’t know how hashtags affect your company’s Facebook following and interactions until you try it and measure it. Use Facebook Insights and a simple spreadsheet to track followers and interactions based on when you use hashtags. These metrics will tell you whether to keep using hashtags or to vote them off the island.
Tell us what you think about hashtags on Facebook in the comments section below! As always, #opinionswelcome.
Digital Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts
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