Facebook announced that it recently incorporated hashtags as a way of bringing conversations about public events, people, and topics to the forefront. The world´s largest social network considered the amount of buzz people tend to generate around popular television shows, sport games, and breaking events. “During primetime television alone, there are between 88 and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook – roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night,” Greg Lindley stated, when announcing the new feature in the official blog post. To date, there has not been a more convenient or organized way to monitor events or discussions on Facebook on a grand scale. But now, the roll out of hashtags should help people participate in public conversations they are interested in. The hashtags will work on personal profile posts, fan page posts, group posts, event posts, and all comments.
Basic Hashtag information:
- Click on the hashtag to get redirected to its feed. You can also click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram.
- Every hashtag on Facebook has its own unique URL.
- Search for a specific hashtagfrom your search bar, for example, #NBAFinals or type facebook.com/hashtag/xxx into your browser (replace the x’s with the tag you want to look up).
- Compose posts directly from the hashtag feedand search results.
A few #HashtagTips
Marketers are already embracing the power of hashtags and coming up with ways they can be used to their highest potential. You can find some great tips and ideas under #hashtagtips including:
- Whether you have the new #hashtag feature or not, start using strategic hashtags in your public Facebook posts (profile and page). Everyone who has the feature will see your hashtags as clickable links.
- Each hashtag on Facebook has its own unique URL with a status update box at the top. Drive traffic to that URL from other sites to spark more conversation.
- Include hashtags even when posting on mobile. Although hashtags don’t work on mobile (yet!), they do work on desktop when posted through your mobile device.
- Use #hashtags to start a conversation with a group. Every word you make into a hashtag will be grouped into its own status update box!
- Think about your industry and target market, and the types of hashtags you use on other social networks.
- Use tags in trending topicsrelated to your industry.
- Capitalize the #FirstLetterInEachWordof your hashtag to make it more readable
- Don´t overdo your post with hashtags, 1 – 2 is more than enough
What about hashtag privacy?
You control who sees your posts, including those with hashtags. Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith summed up all the hashtag related privacy settings as follows:
- As with all personal profile features on Facebook,privacy settings prevail.
- If you publish a post on your profile to friends only, and the post contains a hashtag, the hashtag will be clickable and open up to display all other posts on Facebook containing that hashtag.
- But, ONLY friends can see friends-only posts that show up in hashtag searches.
- Public posts—with or without hashtags—are public.
- Private (friends-only) posts—with or without hashtags—are just that: private and visible to friends only.
- Even when friends include hashtags in comments on your friends-only thread, your post is still private and visible just to your friends.
- With hashtags shared in private groups, that clickable hashtag will open to show public posts with that tag (along with any friends’ posts with that tag), but posts from the private group are only available to group members.
- Individual comments on threads do not surface in hashtag searches.
Will hashtags affect the reach of your posts? Will they engage more people and keep them talking? Before we bring you the answers, check out these 8 basic hashtag tips and sign-up for a free 14-day trial with Socialbakers Analytics to see how your social media performance compares to your competition.
Hash tag tips
Now we can see more and more platforms incorporating hashtags into their services like Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and rumor has it that Facebook is considering to incorporate them as well. What started off as a symbol that would organize and classify the eclectic stream of messages and information on Twitter has developed into a language of its own, embraced by the online community as a very popular way of communication. Subsequently it developed into a business as marketers started appreciating hashtags for their power to create buzz around their products, projects, campaigns, events, and more.
1. Keep it Short and Sweet
When choosing a hashtag, make sure that it´s easy for users to remember and that it´s easy to spell. Short and concise hashtags are more effective and compelling than #verylongonesthatarehardtoread.
2. Pay Attention to Formatting
Hashtags should consist of a word or phrase with no spaces or punctuation in between in order for them to be clickable by users. The #underscore_is_an_exception but why would you do that when you can make hashtags more readable by starting each word with an uppercase letter like #PayAttentionToFormating? It looks neat and it will definitely eliminate the chance that your audience will forget to type the underscore and will therefore get lost in the conversation.
3. Create Unique Hashtags
Try to create one that will stand out of the crowd and differentiate you from your competition. Using hashtags like #conference or #webinar are too general to trigger conversations related exclusively to your company.
4. Promote Your Hashtag
To trigger the buzz and the volume of conversations you are aiming for, help your hashtag out with promoting it anywhere you can. Stick it on to your website, to all your social media channels, to your email signature and even to your marketing materials.
5. Remember that #Hastags look Good in Sentences
Think about how you want people to use your hashtags. If you want them to join the conversation and follow the same stream of thoughts, create a hashtag that will look good in sentences. It will also provide them with the right context and it will help you save space.
6. Protect Your Hashtag from Getting Hijacked
Once a hashtag is established and shared, it is public and anyone can see it and use it. That´s great but keep in mind that hashtags can also easily backfire, they can be hijacked, and manipulated. It’s especially dangerous when it´s very general and can be easily taken out of context. For example McDonald´s #McDStories have turned into a wave of negative and controversial stories about the fast food chain. Using acronyms and numbers could prevent this from happening to an extent.
7. Call to Action
You definitely need to give users a reason to use and share the hashtag in order to seal its success. It could be anything from a contest, an upcoming event, user feedback, a controversial discussion or a good cause. Treat a hashtag as if it was a conversation starter just like in real life because that’s what it is effectively.
8. No More Than 2 Hashtags per Status
Less is sometimes more and it definitely applies to hashtags. Posting more than two of them in a status could be overwhelming and could trigger confusion which you surely want to avoid.