Hi, Lauren Kaye, with this week’s Content & Coffee and I’m here to talk about hashtags. Click play to watch the video, or read on below.

What started as the humble pound sign has since become a cultural phenomenon in its ability to organize social media content. The hashtag was born on Twitter, and it quickly entered the American vernacular as a way to reference trending topics.

But have we had enough of the hashtag? Some people think the iconic social media symbol has overstayed its welcome.

From its beginnings on Twitter, the hashtag made its way onto other social media forums like Instagram, Google+ and, most recently, Facebook. And while it works wonders to help users track and discover relevant content on Twitter, the symbol may not provide equal benefits on other sites.

Data recently compiled by EdgeRank Checker found that hashtags added to social content doubles the chances of ReTweets. Unfortunately, they do not have the same effect on Facebook. Hashtagged content shared on Facebook actually reaches smaller audiences and sparks less engagement. The study proposes this is because brands are the primary users of hashtags on Facebook, and consumers steer clear to avoid promotional content.

I shared these findings on Google+ and sparked a conversation with users – one of whom said hashtags have no place on Facebook and another who seemed to think it’s time for hashtags to hit the bench. What do you think?

I agree that there’s a time and a place to use hashtags, and brands might find they actually reach more followers and engage better qualified audiences simply because they’re refining their outreach. When you use them to enter relevant conversations, rather than insert yourself in massive discussions, you’ll also find that your posts have a longer shelf life.

Catch you next week, and happy content marketing!

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.