Facebook recently introduced hashtags, which many users will use to join conversations about topics, hobbies, events, news stories, products and more. These hashtags just operate within Facebook, so it’s not like using hashtags in Google+, where the search engine can access that information.
But even if Facebook’s hashtags don’t directly impact your SEO, they can be used as part of your social media strategy – which should always complement your SEO strategy and other marketing efforts.
How Facebook’s hashtags work
In case you haven’t heard about this new Facebook feature, hashtags are a discovery tool that allows Facebook users to find out who is saying what about a particular subject. It also allows Facebook users to join a conversation whether the person who started it is on the user’s friend list or not.
To search for a particular hashtag, just type it in the search bar at the top of the main Facebook screen. For instance, you can type in “#seo” to see what the Facebook community is saying about SEO right now.
So how can you use this new Facebook hashtag feature to your company’s advantage? There are many ways, including these:
- Search for a topic related to your brand, product or industry to see what people are talking about – this could give you great ideas for new blog posts on hot topics (this is always helpful for SEO) or even new product offerings
- Search for your brand name to find out what consumers are saying about your company or products, what they like and they wish you’d improve or change
- Interact with Facebook users who post information on your products or services or reviews of them
- Compose your own posts directly from the hashtag feed or search results to join in the conversation
Soon, you’ll also be able to take advantage of more advanced Facebook hashtag features that will be introduced in coming weeks. For example, you’ll be able to see which hashtags are trending and glean other insights from hashtag user data.
Facebook hashtags and Instagram
One way that hashtags work in an interesting way on Facebook is that when you cross-post an Instagram image on Facebook, the hashtags you used on Instagram will appear in your Facebook posting.
However, when a user clicks one of those hashtags, it won’t show results for Instagram – only Facebook hashtag results. That’s not a deal-killer, but it is something to keep in mind when using Facebook and Instagram together.
What Facebook hashtags could mean for your brand
Brands may have a great opportunity in Facebook’s new hashtags, because this latest way to tap into consumer opinions and participate in conversations with your customers offers great potential for the kind of social media strategy that complements SEO strategies. And once Facebook introduces new features for its hashtags, they are likely to become a great source of information for marketers.
Love them or hate them, hashtags are here to stay, and they’re becoming integral to all social media. You might as well jump on the bandwagon as well – and reap the benefits.