Even before the social media giant supported them, hashtags ended up in people’s posts. Originally associated with Twitter, the hashtag has become ubiquitous in the social media milieu. In fact, there have been reports of it migrating from the Internet to everyday conversation.
(I’ll let that sink in for a minute.)
Looking at past Facebook status updates, some hashtag use was meant to be ironic. Other times, hashtags wound up on Facebook because posts are sent via another social media platform, such as HootSuite, where multiple social media accounts can be managed and messaged to simultaneously where hashtags are commonplace (think Twitter or Instagram). Rather than create multiple posts, people utilized the one-and-done approach, causing hashtags to end up in your Facebook news feeds.
At this point, Facebook may simply be jumping on the bandwagon; however, regardless of the motive, this is another outlet companies can use to get their message out. The hashtags are clickable and searchable, making content easier to find, and allowing you to follow a topic’s thread across the platform. Additionally, there will be an option to see trending hashtags, which will lend deeper insight into what people are talking about and when.
Another new feature is the related hashtag. Meaning, if you’re looking for a certain hashtag, such as #StanleyCup, the results page will offer related hashtags, such as #Blackhawks, #Kane or #Toews. This option will further expand the ability to follow a trend and see related conversations without having to search for them explicitly.
Right now, hashtag functionality is limited to desktop use and the HTML5 mobile site (m.facebook.com); hashtags are still non-functional on Facebook iOS and Android apps. That, however, should be working soon, although a definitive date has not been given. While hashtags are rolling out slowly, there’s no time like the present to start using them to connect with your Facebook following.
Unsure how to approach hashtags? This hashtag-specific Q&A can lend some great insight.