Facebook Finally Gets Hashtags: How They Work

Twitter has them. Google+ has them. Instagram has them. Now Facebook has them, too. Hashtags have arrived on Facebook, giving the company a much needed way to tap into the marketing dollars that have been flowing into hashtag-focused campaigns.

Meet Facebook Hashtags

Facebook posted today about the new hashtag support with an overview, saying:

Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.

Here is Facebook’s example of how they look:

Facebook Hashtags

Making Hashtags & Clicking To New Hashtags Feed

Below is a post I made with one. Anyone who has dealt with hashtags will get the concept easily. You just put the word you want to be a hashtag on its own, with the # symbol as the first part of the word:

When you click on a hashtag, a new overlay window appears showing you matching content:

When you’re in one of these overlay windows — what Facebook calls the “hashtag feed” — you also compose a new post at the top of the window.

Searching For #Hashtags

Ironically, while you still can’t search for posts in Facebook Graph Search, you can search for hashtags. Begin your search with any hashtag word, a word starting with the # symbol:

Facebook Hashtags

After you do this, you’ll see any matching hashtags appear with special icon next to them and the word “Hashtag” underneath, to indicate that you’ll be doing a hashtag search. Doing the search provides results in the hashtag feed window.

Hashtags From Instagram & Elsewhere

Hashtags shared by content from other services will also work. For example, an Instagram picture with hashtags with it will have hashtags enabled on Facebook — though clicking a hashtag should still find only matching Facebook content, not Instagram content.

Here’s an example, an Instagram picture I shared to Facebook with hashtags:

When I click on one of those hashtags, I get matching content. But the content isn’t from Instagram. It’s anything posted to Facebook, directly or indirectly, with that hashtag:

Trending Hashtags Are Coming

Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to see what are popular hashtags on Facebook. Even typing words into the search bar beginning with # doesn’t produce any suggestions.

But Facebook says this will change, with “trending topics” coming in a few weeks:

Not at this time, but we will be rolling out trending topics in the coming weeks.

Getting In On The Conversation & Advertiser Dollars

Facebook hashtags have been expected. They should help Facebook better compete for advertising dollars, since hashtags have proven popular with advertisers doing branded campaigns.

For example, hashtags were heavily used in the last Super Bowl. That effectively meant that Twitter got far more mentions than Facebook, since hashtags — in terms of how they were used by advertisers — really only worked for driving conversations on Twitter.

Now Facebook has a way of demonstrating to advertisers and marketers that it, too, can be part of the hashtag conversations they want to build.

Postscript: Search Engine Land corresponding editor Greg Finn isn’t won over. See his story today, Why The New Facebook Hashtags Are #Awkward & #Unnecessary

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook: News Feed | Social Media Marketing: Hashtags | Top News


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Mohit Sharma

    Not Working For My Posts :(

  • Matt McGee

    I love how Facebook’s announcement mentions several other services with hashtags … but not Google+. Heh.

  • http://sushubh.net/ chromaniac

    The implementation is more like Google+ than Twitter.

  • Jimmy McMinn

    So I’m new to this blog writing thing, and I wrote one about this topic… Can you guys give me some feedback! http://leapclixx.com/blog/facebook-adds-hashtags-hoping-to-boost-popularity/

  • http://www.side-line.com Bernard Van Isacker

    It doesn’t work in every country yet I noticed. Currently in Bulgaria and the hashtags cannot be clicked.

  • Squiffy2

    Doesn’t work in the UK either #facebookfail

  • xmichaelx

    Hashtags predate Twitter by over a decade.

  • Squiffy2

    Now working in the UK! Welcome Facebook to 2007!

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