Leave it to comedian Jimmy Fallon to kick up an old social media habit and make it cool again. If you’re a Facebook user, get used to the idea of “hashtagging,” or as savvy social media gurus know it, as “#.”
As can be seen on Youtube,  comedian/show host Fallon recently did a skit on his show, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” with singer-actor Justin Timberlake. Timberlake played on the excessive use of hashtags, a social media metadata tag popularized by Twitter as a way to extend a conversation or brand idea. Fallon’s skit is just one example of how hashtags are becoming popular again  — so much so that other social media giants, such as Facebook, are seeing its value and potential.
The Rise of the Hashtag
The hashtag has become so popular and universal — #ReTrending — it even has its own website (Hashtags.org), where one can see what’s trending up and what’s trending down. The site also gives you pointers on how to use it.
As annoying and “#overused” as hashtags may be to some Facebook users, they can be a great tool for businesses and organizations looking for ways to promote a campaign or product further.
As Socialbakers explains, every hashtag used on Facebook has its own unique URL. This drives more traffic to that URL, not only from that company’s Facebook hashtag, but from other Facebook users who search for either that particular word or phrase, such as #localevents.
For example, when TrueCar , an automotive consultant business, wants to get the attention of Facebook users to its #truefacts campaign of increasing the volume of California’s zero emission vehicles, it can boost exposure by adding #California or #Zeroemmission to its posts. Facebook users interested in information on California or emission-related posts will then be drawn into TrueCar’s hashtagged post when they search for those particular words.
What’s advantageous about using hashtags on Facebook is that Facebook is an avenue for group conversations among new and familiar “friends” of a business. Every hashtagged word is virtually its own status update box, thus pushing the idea, topic or campaign that much further with every person who sees and responds to it.
How to Make Facebook Hashtags Work for Your Business
With hashtags making a comeback and becoming more useful, business owners may need to brush up on just how to use hashtags effectively on Facebook. Sites such as Social Media Today  are guiding Facebook users to be selective and creative, but cautioning them to not be overzealous with hashtags.
Some suggestions are:
• Have a strategy on how you will use hashtags. Will you focus on one hashtag or multiple, and how will they relate to your campaign? Be sure to test the plan, and tweak as needed.
• When you start to use hashtags, let your audience know. You want everyone to be on the same page and to know the hashtag isn’t just a cute little plug-in, but an actual link to more information and additional conversation.
• If Miley Cyrus is all the rage, and you know your Facebook friends are talking about her, you can bet there will be a hashtag on it. The smart money is creating a hashtag on the little Disney girl-gone-bad, and flow it into your business’s brand or campaign somehow. Research what is trending beyond your brand, and use current news to boost your campaign.
• Try to keep your hashtags broad. Use Celtic Wonder #Latte instead of #CelticWonderLatte or “Get ready for the #Fall” instead of “I love #ThisTimeOfYear.” The broader and simpler your hashtag, the more people you reach.
~ Janice Fuller