Last week Facebook introduced a new hashtag feature to its users. Hashtags are frequently used on other social networks, such as Twitter and Instagram, to make posts part of a larger conversation and visible to anyone who searches for a particular hashtag.
Facebook hashtags can be used in status updates and comments, and you can search for a specific hashtag from the search bar. You are also able to compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results. The new feature makes hashtags in posts shared from Twitter and Instagram also clickable on Facebook.
The one major concern about the new hashtag feature for individual users is privacy. Adding a hashtag to your Facebook post will allow it to be more easily discovered by others who are searching for that topic. Facebook does give you the option of who you want to share your posts with, so you are able to limit the audience that will be able to find your post. Hashtags from previous posts are now also clickable, so you may want to go back and review your old posts.
This new feature will allow for more event and business-based conversations that were previously only available on Twitter. Hashtags allow strangers to talk about a topic together or share a common experience. Examples of this are when users live tweet a popular TV show, sporting event, or business conference.
How exactly will the new hashtag feature affect businesses on Facebook? Using trending hashtags will give you the ability to increase the reach of your posts to a far larger audience than just the people that ‘like’ your business page. Previously reaching a bigger audience outside your current connections was only possible by spending money on Facebook ads. Even though it is unknown right now how many users will begin taking advantage of the hashtag feature, at least the opportunity to share your posts with a larger community has been created. So, if you find trending hashtags that are applicable to your brand, it would be smart to jump on the hashtag bandwagon before your competition beats you to it!