While usage of hashtags on Facebook has not yet grown extensively amongst common users, awareness of what they are has been developed from use at other social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Hashtags are still relatively new to Facebook, and represent a marketing opportunity, when used wisely.

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Facebook’s adoption of the hashtag has put an increased emphasis on this powerful engagement tool. Though many users still don’t completely recognize with clarity the purpose of hashtags, it’s an excellent time to leverage this feature as an early adopter in Facebook.

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Hashtags can be added to status updates by simply including the “#” symbol, immediately followed by a word that represents a particular topic or event that you’re writing about.

Once the hashtag is included in status update it becomes clickable for anyone to use the app. Once clicked, all status updates that include the given hashtag show up. So this provides users opportunity to tap into the collective conversation that’s going on in Facebook related to any given topic.

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Here are four excellent kisses of hashtags on Facebook:

1: Join a Conversation Already in Progress

Use a hashtag related to the topic of your interest or relevant to your business. This will allow users who are searching to see what’s already been discussed on this topic and creates an opportunity to find your content.

2: Discuss Current Trending Topic or Hot News Items

Social media is widely used consume news and get alerts on breaking events. If what you’re talking about relates to a trending topic, using hashtag allows users who are looking for news items related to your content to find you and your take on the trending topics.

3: Promote Events

Hashtags can effectively be used to promote an event or cause related to your business. The first step in engaging and encouraging conversation and the use of your event hashtag is to make your audience aware of the hashtag you’re using.

Research the hashtag first to ensure that it does not become confused with another. Encourage your audience to use the hashtag when talking about your events or cards. Simply introducing the hashtag in a post or status update will allow your audience to view the conversation that has already occurred related to your event or cause. In turn, this will create greater awareness of the topic.

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4: Create a Hashtag for Your Brand

By claiming a hashtag to consistently use for your brand, you’re encouraging conversation and examination of your business and brand not just the immediate future but over time, as well. Again, first research the hashtag you’ve considered using to ensure that it has not been widely used already. Once you do claim a brand hashtag, which could be the name of your company, begin using it regularly when talking about your brand, project or whatever you want to promote long-term.

While it’s too early to predict how hashtags will take off in Facebook, this simple tool can be utilized to open up conversation to gain attention outside of your existing audience. This offers opportunity in an area that is often a challenge for many Facebook Page owners.