You've all seen hashtags at some point. Twitter introduced the use of the # symbol a long time ago as a way to categorize what people are talking about. This widely popular symbol has grown to be very prevalent in other social networks such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and others. You may have even seen people use them on Facebook but completely irrelevant – until now!
What are they?
Hashtags are simply a way to categorize popular topics. If you’re talking about an area like Myrtle Beach, you would use #MYR, if you’re talking about the NBA Finals, you could use #NBAFinals. As a lot of people use the same hashtag, you can then search #NBAFinals (or whatever topic you’re interested in) and find out what everyone is saying about that topic.
How to use them?
Just put the # symbol before the topic you are talking about. Not sure what hashtag to use? Do some searches and watch what others are using. Once a hashtag is used, you will see it highlighted in the post and you can click on it to see what others are saying.
No issues here. Facebook has always received pushback on privacy so this is of the utmost importance. If you’re sharing a post with friends only, and using a hashtag, only those friends will be able to see the post and see that post within the hashtag's feed.
When are they coming?
Facebook announced that they are being released today. Although, I can't see them yet, they always release things to a few people and then slowly roll them out to the masses so this will likely be introduced in the coming weeks. However, we do have some VIP's in the office such as our Social Media Extraordinaire Dan who has the access to provide some great screenshots for us.
Opportunities for Businesses!
- Find other targeted users with common interests! For brand pages, this is HUGE!
- Hashtags will most certainly influence Search Engine Optimization and Graph Search Optimization within Facebook.
- Surely there will be advertising options soon to "promote posts" to come up at the top of any hashtag you would like. This is already being done on Twitter and I can see a lot of value in this to businesses on Facebook.