It’s finally happened: Hot on the heels of Google Plus’ recent addition of hashtags to its user interface, and long after its assimilation into the millennials’ social vernacular, the #hashtag has come to Facebook.
For those of you not yet acquainted with this social search tool, the hashtag was first introduced on Twitter as a means for users to quickly and easily follow topics or conversations. A word or phrase following a hashtag, such as #socialrecruiting or #jobsearch, becomes a searchable, trackable signal to anyone else looking for status updates containing these terms.
The introduction of hashtags to the Facebook platform is yet more proof that Facebook is becoming (or, in my opinion, has already become) an ideal tool for recruiting. How? Considering that Twitter’s real value for recruiting has been the ability to search for and create conversations about #jobs, #locations, #industries, and other topics related to hiring initiatives, while also making it possible to broaden your reach to and engagement with users who might be looking to discover their next employer, the addition of this capability to Facebook adds another layer of functionality.
On Facebook, a hashtag included in a post will become a clickable window into a larger conversation. Click on a post tagged, say, “#ineedajob,” and gain instant insight into all of the people in your network who are talking about the same thing.
(Unlike Twitter, which is an open platform, Facebook’s privacy rules will remain in effect. In other words, if you click on a #hashtag, you’ll only be privy to conversations started by people in your network.)
Even more important, you can make your posts clickable, so that users who search for terms related to your jobs, your brand, your location, your industry, and your hiring initiatives can find you. Hashtags on Facebook will shorten the distance between users and brands, and between candidates and employers.
Hashtags have already proven to be drivers of traffic and engagement on other platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram. They allow you to not only find new followers, but also spread your brand message and engage in conversations. For example, a job post tagged with your #brandname could be seen by fans who might not have considered a career with your company, but now that they know about your open positions, they can like the post, apply for the job, share it with a friend, and now use your #hashtag to start a conversation about the job with you or with friends.
Hashtags will, like Graph Search and the new News Feed, roll out slowly to users over the next few months. As you gain the ability to use this tool, don’t let the opportunity to gain insight into your following’s interests or expand your recruiting reach to new candidates pass you by. I am interested to hear how you will start incorporating hashtags into your own Facebook hiring campaigns and your overall Facebook strategy. The good news is that, very soon, a #bestpractices chat will be only a Facebook post away.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.