The Pros and Cons of #Facebook Hashtags: Why You Should Care

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on August 28 | in Featured | by

Facebook Hashtags recently entered the social media scene, and brands and consumers alike are asking themselves, “should we #love them or leave them?”

While the answers to this digital debate aren’t easy to come by. As the Founder & CEO of Social Diva Media, here’s my personal and professional take on whether Facebook Hashtags are proving to be effective for people, search, and brands:

First, I’ll share the positive. I dig their intelligence factor. For example, when you search “#TBT,” you also see results for #ThrowBackThursday. And when I search for #Montauk, I also view results for #Beach, #Summer, and #Hamptons. This is critical, because context is key, particularly when it comes to online content.

That being said, however, I’m limited in my enthusiasm about these Facebook Hashtags because of their respective search limits. If I type in the same #TBT hashtag, plus a friend’s name, I don’t receive any search results. What’s more, I seem to lack the navigational ability to browse hashtags in an effective way. Perhaps I’ve missed something, but that in itself shows how much friendlier Facebook Hashtags could be to non-techies.

But before I stray too far into the #WhatsNotToLove, I must say I am enthusiastic that I can now include hashtags when posting with social tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite to all social platforms. Before, it was difficult to avoid making a spammy impression, which one might equate to social media suicide if done too often.

An expert, Sy Kraft, VP Digital Strategy Director at Publicis Kaplan Thaler, may have said it best: “It is certainly a step in the right direction, especially with cross-social platform aggregation. Now that mobile capability is there, it will be interesting to see how it picks up [because] more than half of users access Facebook from their mobile device.”

That’s true, and consumers are important. But do brands use Facebook Hashtags?

In short, yes. “We use [Facebook Hashtags] to capitalize on hashtags that are already trending, [such as] #MotivaltionalMonday and #ThirstyThursday. We’ve also made up our own: #WeighInWednesday and #FoxyFriday,” says Brittany Hennessy (Mendenhall) from Director of Digital Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Lucille Roberts.

Continues Brittany, “I think Facebook Hashtags are long overdue. They are a great way to track everything from branded phrases to customer service inquiries. With the success that they’ve had on Twitter, I am surprised it took Facebook so long to jump on the bandwagon.”

However, Brittany says Facebook isn’t doing anyone favors with their privacy settings. “People’s settings are so high, even if they share your content and use the hashtags, you can’t track them. I would say for every 100 shares we see, 20 of them are public. That’s fine for the fan, but not so good for [brands].”

My colleague agrees that there’s room for improvement. “They’re not growing on Facebook as rapidly as some expected. I’m not surprised. But there are moments when we can and should do it,” says Jeremy Goldman, Founder of the Fire Brand Group. For the social moment, Jeremy plans to track whether the brands he works with receives additional visibility from hashtagged Facebook posts for the moment, and use them until data shows they aren’t effective.

In summary, allow me to thank Facebook for Hashtags, especially when it comes to cross-platform posting. For now, I plan to keep my eye on how they evolve. Please share any solid brand success stories and stats, if you have them. I’m #interested!

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