Respect the Hashtag

By Shannon Maguire #Are #you #ready #for #this? Facebook has officially announced the integration of clickable hashtags in the social network. Over the next few weeks, Facebook will be rolling out this feature to all users. But what does this mean for the future of the platform?

Facebook users have long fought the good fight against the hashtag, often using the symbol as a joke. Now that the tagging tool has made its way to Facebook, I foresee a few outcomes.

Worst Case Scenario: #Everything #in #a #post #is #hashtagged.

Let's be honest, how obnoxious is that? Very. Going forward with this new feature, we need to remember that the hashtag must be respected. As social media managers, we are still here to create good, engaging content. We shouldn't fall back on the ease of tagging everything under the sun, just so your post winds up in as many users' search results as possible. Let your content do the talking, not your hashtag.

Best Case Scenario: Hashtags support your #content. #SocialNews.

If we learn to respect the hashtag on Facebook, we'll have a happier world. Brands should be supplementing content, not cluttering it. Make your brand's Facebook content standout by using specific category or topic tags to reach your desired audience.

Keep in mind that Facebook is not Twitter--or Instagram for that matter. It wasn't the first (or second or third) network to incorporate clickable hashtags and it certainly won't be the last. The popularity of the hashtag has definitely proven itself, from TV shows introducing custom hashtags to the release of Justin Bieber's "#ThatPower" and Mariah Carey's "#Beautiful,'" but does that mean everyone should be using it? Should we be asking Facebook, "If all of the other social networks jumped off a bridge, would you?" The reasons why hashtags work on Twitter and Instagram are searchability and trends.  You can easily cut through the clutter and dive into a topic of interest, where the discussion is constantly moving. On Facebook, this may not be as easy, as more and more users adopt private profiles, making their content unsearchable.

As we see the life of the hashtag unfold on Facebook, I'm sure there will be many changes and updates to make the feature more "Facebook," but in the meantime, let's try to respect the hashtag.

What do you think of the new feature? Share your thoughts in the comments!