Hashtags have finally arrived at Facebook. While the reaction has been very polarized, it is undoubtedly a major development for the world’s largest social network. This development brings new potential to Facebook for users and businesses alike.

With last week’s roll out of hashtags on Facebook, the mixed reaction illustrates what has already been long observed: casual Facebook users who don’t venture out to other social media sites are pretty resistant to change and don’t seem to quite understand the purpose of hastags. At the same time, users who’ve been active on other sites that do support hashtags are curious to see how this will open up the Facebook experience.

Facebook Hashtag Example

Here are three simple ways to leverage Facebook hashtags…

Find People Who Share Your Interests

Searching for hastags related to your business will allow you to find users who may fit your target market. This enables you to monitor and interact with these users, as you choose, which in and of itself is a brand new opportunity on Facebook.

2. Get More Eyes On Your Content

Just as you can find others through hashtags, they can find you and your content. Adding hashtags to your updates and shares will allow your content to become part of a greater dialog in your market, which makes you more of an influencer as you position yourself or your brand to dictate the direction of the discussion.

3. Market Research

Hashtags offer an excellent opportunity just to get a feedback and input from your market. To get a better sense of what your target market wants, monitor the conversation through the use of hashtag searches.

Only time will tell how hashtags are adopted on Facebook, but if they’re like many of the features that Facebook has rolled out over time, the skepticism will subside and smart business owners will leverage the expanded benefits that hashtags bring to Facebook.