Wait…Facebook has hashtags?

Oh yeah, and depending on who you ask, they’re either a smashing success or a failure just waiting to flop.

Twitter users will see Facebook hashtags as Facebook finally catching up to the rest of the social sphere where they have been old hat for quite some time now. In the past, if a brand used a tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts and updates, a separate entry had to be made for Facebook or it was just skipped entirely. This was because the hashtags that appeared along with posts in the feeds of Facebook users were regarded as annoying and pointless because they were just taking up space.

The goal behind Facebook’s adoption of hashtags is to allow people to search for information in a “new” way – now users can search by hashtags as opposed to searching for things without hashtag identifiers via the Search Bar as their only option.

Hashtag adoption – big brands vs small businesses

Bigger brands are embracing the use of hashtags, and so are small businesses, but so far the engagement numbers might be a bit misleading.

Big brands already have much higher engagement numbers than small businesses, even popular ones, simply because they have a larger following – take a brand like RankPop for example. So while these larger brands are reporting high numbers, in reality the posts they are making that include hashtags aren’t necessarily performing any better than those posts that are hashtag-free. Because of this I feel that it’s a bit too early to tell just how successful hashtags will be on Facebook.

As more people and brands pick up on the use of hashtags in their status updates and begin using them regularly there might be an increased and obvious benefit to using hashtags to help draw in new traffic to your page. Until then large businesses will continue to perform well, small businesses will continue to adapt to and adopt this new feature.

Your takeaway

Using hashtags on Facebook is simply another way of categorizing your posts and making them easier to find when someone searches for them. Facebook’s adoption of hashtag functionality is beneficial because it enables users who are working with tools like Hootsuite to create a minimal number of posts – in the past separate posts would have to be created for Facebook that did not include hashtags. Of course there is great potential for hashtags to improve content discovery for individuals and brands alike if the idea of hashtags catches on!

If you believe that your audience wouldn’t mind (and might even benefit from) you using hashtags in your posts, give it a try and include a few the next time you log in to update your status! Widespread use of a new feature begins with a few brave pioneers and early adopters, and this is your chance to be on the leading edge of a new trend.

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