What do #Hashtags Mean for Facebook?

2013, Jun 13    

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Facebook finally unveiled the hashtag feature that they’ve been talking about for a few months now. As an avid Twitter and Google+ user, I’ve been comfortable with hashtags for a long time, but for many casual social media users, this will be the first time they are exposed to the search utility. For bloggers, marketers, and anyone who wants a public presence online, this feature might be the most important one that Facebook has released to date, and here’s why:

Facebook posts aren’t just about reaching your friends and followers anymore.

One of the best things about Twitter and Google+ is that they are designed for you to get found. You don’t have to actually know someone to get followed by them on Twitter, and if you utilize hashtags, you could get found by thousands of interested users. It’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Before the release of the hashtag feature, it has always been really hard to find public (or private) posts with Facebook’s search tool. Google rarely shows Facebook posts in their results, and Bing’s social integration has been anemic at best. But, now that Facebook allows users to tag their own posts, it opens up a whole new world of opportunity for brands and bloggers trying to get noticed by more people.

The big question is, “will people use it?”

It’s hard to say if the average Facebook user will ever jump on board with hashtags. Do a search for something like #Google, and you’ll see a lot of marketing brands using the hashtag already. The problem is that most users aren’t sharing things publicly, so you might not see much from normal people in the hashtag search page.

Either way, it’s still great for Facebook

For Facebook, hashtags are a win either way. It allows them to more easily classify the context of posts within their network, it should allow them to more accurately present ads to users, and it might even open up some new revenue possibilities. What do you think of the new feature? Will you use it to reach more people or is it just another annoying thing to ignore? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.