Last week I wrote about how Facebook adopted the “Verification” feature that Twitter had introduced over 4 years ago. Today, Facebook announces it will adopt another Twitter feature that was rolled out over 4 years ago. Hashtags. Speculation of Facebook hashtags began in March, 2013 when the Wall Street Journal wrote about it. Now it is official as it was announced through a blog post by Facebook. Twitter began the trend 4 years ago and other Social Media powerhouses like Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ soon joined in on the hashtagging fun. Facebook is the last Social Media powerhouse to finally fall in line with these hashtag filters.
Despite hashtags having no specific function up until today, it never stopped Facebookers from using them in the past. Especially those social media users that that link their social media accounts together. For example, one could take a picture on Instagram, load it with hashtags and then share it not only on Instagram, but on Twitter and Facebook as well. Many traditional Facebook users were frustrated by these useless hashtags, but now there is no hiding from them on any popular social media outlet.
The hashtag function will allow users to perform filtered searches on specific topics. One example of a search term that is currently popular is #NBAFinals. The new filter feature will allow people to see what other friends and friends of friends are saying about the same topic. The tricky part that Facebook will have to answer questions about is how the privacy of these searches will work. Public conversation has different rules on Facebook than it does on Twitter because of Facebook’s privacy rules and restrictions. A Facebook spokesperson claims that from a privacy standpoint, hashtags will work similarly to the Facebook Graph Search. You’ll only see the comments and posts that you’re authorized to see. So if you include a hashtag in a friends-only post, then only your friends will be the ones who can see it in a hashtag search.
From a business standpoint, hashtags on Facebook can be used as a new way to market your product and services. When making a post on your Facebook business page, you can hashtag the products and services mentioned in the post. Then, as Faceobok Graph Search continues to take off, more people will begin to search for products and services that they need by using hashtags to filter the search, such as #SEO. This is not a game changer in the business or marketing world by any means, but it will payoff to understand how it all works!
By Mike Fedotowsky