4 Ways Marketers Can Use Facebook Hashtags

social media how toHave you started using Facebook hashtags for your business?

Are you wondering how to best use a Facebook hashtag?

In this article, I’ll reveal four important benefits of using hashtags on Facebook.

I’ll also explore important considerations when putting together your hashtag strategy.

Why Facebook Hashtags?

As you’ve undoubtedly seen, hashtags are now clickable and useable on Facebook.

Using a hashtag # (or pound symbol) in front of a word or phrase turns the word into a clickable link.

When you click on the link, you’ll see a feed of public posts (or posts that are visible to you due to a friend relationship on Facebook) that include that hashtag.

Here’s how you can use Facebook hashtags:

#1: Expand Your Reach

As hashtags gain momentum on Facebook (they’ve been in use on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+), they’ll help you expand your reach to people who are looking at posts in your topic.

Hashtags have been a great way to help people interested in niche topics find each other and find the conversation.

walking dead hashtag

The #WalkingDead hashtag connects people interested in this show.

By including a hashtag in your post, you can possibly get in front of people who may not have seen your post otherwise.  But you’ll have to monitor this in your Facebook Insights.  Make sure you watch your Reach and Engagement Numbers to see if your hashtags are making a difference in your posts.

reach column

Click the Reach column in your Facebook insights to see which posts are getting the highest reach.

#2: Amplify Your Brand

Branding your Facebook Page with your own special hashtag can help an idea or new product catch on.  By branding all your posts about a new product, you can break this information out into a separate stream of information and give people an easy way to share information about that product or idea.

Think carefully about what types of things others would also be interested in sharing.  If the posts are too promotional and not valuable, you may have a hard time getting people to share them with their friends.

home depot hashtag

Home Depot uses #HDHacks to share fun ideas with their audience.

#3: Cross Social Platforms

If you’ve already been using hashtags in your Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest posts, it’s now more natural to use hashtags in Facebook.  You can save some time by being able to post the same content across several platforms.

While I don’t recommend doing this for every post in Facebook (some people are annoyed by the hashtags entering into the Facebook realm) it does work to your benefit to occasionally cross platforms with a single post.  Plus many people have already been doing this with their own posts from Twitter and now the hashtags are more searchable in Facebook.

starbucks hashtag

The Starbucks #treatreceipt hashtag has been in use on Twitter in the past and is now searchable on Facebook too.

#4: Promote Specials and Events

You can use a special hashtag in your posts to promote something special.  For example, this can work really well for a #contest.

jasons deli

Use a specially branded hashtag to help promote a contest across several platforms.

Realize that you can’t have people enter your contest on Facebook by including your branded hashtag like you can on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.  Because of Facebook contest promotional rules, you can help people find the content across platforms by including the hashtag in your Facebook posts.

If you know some popular hashtags that fit your marketing goals—such as offering a special coupon or deal—then you can include them in your post as well.  I don’t recommend stuffing your posts with tons of hashtags that aren’t relevant because that doesn’t look good and may turn off some of your fans, but a few relevant hashtags are OK.

back to school hashtag

You can also attach a hashtag at the end of your post that's relevant to people looking for special deals such as #backtoschooldeals.

Important Considerations When Using Facebook Hashtags

1.  Privacy settings are still in effect.

If you’re using hashtags on posts on your personal profile, they’ll still have the privacy settings set up according to how you control your privacy on your profile.  Just because you use a hashtag doesn’t make that post suddenly public.  If you add a hashtag to a post that you only share with a certain group of your friends, only that group will be able to see that post.

privacy settings

Your privacy settings are still in effect even when you add a hashtag to your post.

2.  Hashtags have to be all one word.

If you wanted to use #Facebook Marketing as your hashtag, it will need to be posted as #FacebookMarketing or #facebookmarketing (see the next tip).

3.  Capitalization doesn’t matter.

You can choose whatever capitalization you want in the words themselves and the hashtags will show the same results.  #FacebookMarketing and #facebookmarketing show the same search results.

4.  You can make up whatever hashtags you want.

There’s no “hashtag registration” or “database of approved hashtags”, you can make up whatever hashtags you want to use.  Consider your goals.  If you want to brand your own hashtags, you can, but make them short and easy to use and understand.

A hashtag that’s overly complex or hard to read won’t get much traction.  If you’re abbreviating, make sure it’s clear what point you’re going for – a hashtag like #IKPMTTTRWD won’t mean much to many people.

5.  Research your hashtag before you use it.

There have been some recent embarrassing cases of brands using a hashtag that’s already in use for an entirely different purpose that doesn’t align with their company message at all.  Take a look at the social sites where hashtags are in use such as Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ and see if your hashtag is already being used by people.

6.  You can easily look for hashtags on Facebook by URL.

Easily search for hashtags or bookmark their results by using the URL:  www.facebook.com/hashtag/ then just include your keyword on the end.

For example https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/FacebookMarketing shows you the results of posts that include #facebookmarketing or #FacebookMarketing (or any alternate capitalizations).

Conclusion

I strongly recommend you test out hashtags as part of your Facebook marketing strategy and measure your results.  Use them sparingly (not in every single post) and don’t over-stuff hashtags into your posts.

While some people may not be as excited about hashtags on Facebook, they’re firmly entrenched in other social sites and aren’t going away anytime soon.

How about you?  Have you been using hashtags in your posts?  Are you going to give them a try?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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About the Author, Andrea Vahl

Andrea Vahl is co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and also uses her improv comedy skills to blog as Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer. Connect with her at www.andreavahl.com. Other posts by »




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