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!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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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  • http://www.clicks4info.com/ CHANDAN DAS

    I love the alert system of Facebook e.g. if i submit content related to facebook and if i do not put any # tag with facebook (#facebook) and try to put at #facebook section it shows me that i can not put content at facebook due to missing of #facebook :)

  • http://theclosetgeek.net/ Barry Ricks

    I’m all for using hashtags, but even being a social media strategist I strongly dislike it when people pt only hashtags in their posts. Personally I look over the posts that have nothing but hashtags. You need to be creative and catch your audience’s attention. Don’t just spam it everywhere.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I totally agree Barry! I think too many hashtags makes the post unreadable if you are putting it in the text itself – I like putting a few hashtags at the end of the post or maybe just one or two in the sentences of the text. But don’t be an obnoxious hashtag stuffer :)

  • http://blog.digitalinsights.in/ Omkar Mishra

    I have seen brands use hashtag contests on facebook too just like on twitter..I am not sure if Facebook authorizes this as of yet..

  • http://theclosetgeek.net/ Barry Ricks

    Amen!

  • don rua

    Kudos for a well constructed and helpful article. The ‘considerations’ section at the bottom was an unexpected bonus, but oh so helpful as a reminder of best practices.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Andrea, I second what @donrua:disqus outlines! Well done, concise, and even a bonus for us! Great stuff! I’ll be in touch regarding having you as a guest on my podcast!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Andrea, thank you for the great tips! I have recently started using hashtags, and so this post is extremely helpful. I’m excited to test some of these suggestions out!

  • http://www.hounddogsocialmedia.com Hound Dog Social Media

    I use hashtags in key posts but not yet seeing any traction. I wonder if searching by hashtags on Facebook have caught on yet? Great post – and the 12-year-old girl in me was excited to see Norman Reedus and The Walking Dead in one of the screen shots. LOL! ~Jill

  • Cheri Nikkel

    Wow!! I’ve been ignoring hashtags until now – just didn’t see the relevance of them. Probably because I see people using such random phrases with them on their personal posts. It seemed like just another way to be ‘clever’… but this article puts it all in a very different perspective! Thank you for showing us practical ways and reasons to use them for our businesses – fantastic post!!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Another great post Andrea! I love hashtags. Personally, I like them mixed in the text and not tagged at the end, but that’s just me and I know I’m in the minority with this one. If your FB posts are auto-posting to Twitter I think it is OK to put those hashtags up front. Hashtags on Instagram are an art form and do not comply with any rules and I love that, too. Now you have to add a Chapter on hashtags to the new Edition of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies! :-) FAB post #hashtagsrock

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Yes, you can’t use hashtags on Facebook exactly like you do on Twitter – you can’t say “use this hashtag and be entered to win”. But you can use hashtags to help promote your contest like Jason’s Deli is doing.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks to you both! Looking forward to it @mikegingerich:disqus

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks so much John!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I think many people aren’t seeing the traction they hoped but I think that’s because Facebook is a little late to the hashtag party. I think as people remember to use them more on Facebook there will be more traction. But it’s challenging with all the privacy settings as well that aren’t in place on other networks. Glad you liked the #walkingdead reference :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Glad to help Cheri!! I know there are a lot of #randomhashtags out there :) But I think they can be useful for marketers.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Ha! Yes, we are adding a section in the new edition for #hashtags. I think they can be great when you are posting to both Facebook and Twitter and you can fit them in at the front of the post. That takes skill :)

  • http://blog.digitalinsights.in/ Omkar Mishra

    Thanks Andrea Vahl for confirming.. However, i did see HP India recently doing a campaign on it asking users to submit using their hashtag in the status update..

    Something you can refer here in their page post:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151803853614282&set=a.381232469281.193656.376019079281&type=1

  • Debdutto Banerjee

    I had never used hashtags in facebook, though i used them in twitter and google+. As i have recently opened my own facebook photography page, i guess using hashtags once in a while will help me promote my work, and also increase my reach to audience. I especially loved your point where you mentioned not to flood a comment or post with hashtags, thats really annoying. Thanks for this interesting read. Cheers :)

  • http://blog.tianakai.com/ Tiana Kai

    I haven’t noticed an increase in client’s pages yet, but it’s great for discovery!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks for this post on hashtags.

    I agree that you can brand your Facebook Page with your own special hashtag. For example, I’m the social media coordinator (freelance) for our community’s animal shelter, and I created special hashtags for them. All the public has to do is click on a hashtag, and they’ll see posts related to the hashtag. It cuts down on their search time.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great post, Andrea! I definitely agree that gauging how posts with hashtags do instead of just constantly posting them is a must. I’d also like to add testing popular hashtags or common industry terms before creating your own is a good way to reach a larger audience, such as #tech or #marketing before #yourbrandnamerocks. It will be interesting to see how hashtags on Facebook evolve with the limited visibility because of privacy settings!

  • Dara K

    I was excited when i found out that Facebook would be adding #. I have heard consumers complain about it, but I am looking forward to seeing how this addition will affect marketing and social media.

  • Leigh Strange

    Don’t forget that using a hash tag like #backtoschooldeals you are also giving your audience a shortcut to everyone else offering those deals including your competitors.

  • Leigh Strange

    PS: rather than a ‘hash tag strategy’ I’d suggest what marketers need to do is consider how to use hash tags, which are simply another tool, to best effect within their communications strategy, as with any tactical options.As always, strategies need to be driven by the target market/audience and your objectives not by the latest gadget :)

  • Leigh Strange

    PPS some helpful tips there, thanks!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Glad you found it helpful and good luck in your photography page – I think hashtags could be very beneficial for you since interesting visual content is easily shared – sometimes it’s just a matter of it being found!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Interesting to hear your experience – I do also like it for discovery! Hopefully more people will start using it for discovery to help to increase the visibility for people who use them :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Great to know how you are using them! Yes, I think it can be good to help break out the conversations on each page with some special tags. Great idea!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Sarah! Yes, I’m interested to watch the evolution. I hope they continue to gain popularity because I do like finding new things with them!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I agree – I think people just don’t like any change on Facebook :) But it will be interesting to see how they evolve!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Great point Leigh! Probably a good idea to check and see who is using those hashtags beforehand!

  • Pamela. J. Watkins

    I’m excited to see hashtag making it’s appearance more and more in Facebook. I agree it is late coming but being that Facebook was originally and primarily ‘social’ its understandable. However with its new course being all about marketing and getting your name out I think we will see hashtags take on a whole new life. I’ve seen some pretty creative hashtags. I’m anxious to see how constructive our Facebook members use this powerful tool.

    Pamela J. Watkins

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    I have not seen people searching using hashtags on FB, like they do on twitter or G+.
    I dono how much effective will be the hashtags. Graph search is not so effective like Google Searches.

  • Barbara

    I love every imput that Andrea and Grandma Mary give in any article. Making it fun, easy to understand and while I read it I come up with lots of ideas for my own work. Thanks!

  • Courtney Stevenson

    Hi Andrea – great information !
    Question, how do I link a hashtag to my facebook page?
    is this possible? Thanks for your help

  • Kimberly Paine

    Thanks! I’m definitely going to start brainstorming ways to amplify our brand.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    You can’t really “link” a hashtag to your page – when you click on a hashtag it brings up a search that shows every post with that hashtag in it. So if your Page has been posting a lot with that hashtag, your page will dominate the search results. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Barbara! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I agree – Graph search is not as good *sigh*. But I think we have to look at hashtags like any marketing device and ask questions – does it work? are people using it? etc. Thanks for your thoughts on this!

  • Kelli Thompson

    Thanks for the informative article it helped me understand how to use hashtags and how I can use them in Facebook. How is LinkedIn using hashtags?

  • http://www.praverb.net/ Praverb

    Great information here. DO NOT go hashtag crazy haha. I can’t stand that. 1-2 should work right Andrea?

  • http://blog.tianakai.com/ Tiana Kai

    Haha, exactly! Full circle. ;-)

  • Pingback: Facebook marketing weekly review - August 2nd

  • blakemiller

    I don’t they they have seen the traction, nor ever will, simply because Facebook is a different animal and people go there for a different reason than other SM Platforms. I’ve never used them for what every “How To” describes. “Just because one can, doesn’t mean one will” is the quote that comes to mind when I think of #FacebookHashTags

  • http://www.seomasterexpert.com/ Swapan Kumar

    I haven’t used the hashtags before.. Thanks for the great tips!! Really an amazing post for me.. I will definitely try all these. Thank you once again.

  • https://www.facebook.com/manojsethi46 Manoj Kumar Sethi

    Totally agree with you @barryricks:disqus . Yes one need to be creative while pttng hashtags in their content but the real fact is users more often starts putting every thing.

  • https://www.facebook.com/manojsethi46 Manoj Kumar Sethi

    @sarahmordis:disqus I am using brand hashtag and hashtags relevant to your topic in every posts.
    Getting two benefits :
    1.Branding
    2.Post is reaching to right users

    But the problem is the topic hashtags. Its time taking in finding the right and exact hashtags matching your content.

    Would be interested to know the easy and effective way to find hashtags specific to your content topic.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Hey @manoj_kumar_sethi:disqus, I’m not sure if everyone has full access yet, but I’d suggest you check out trending topics/hashtags (Located at top right of your newsfeed.) Seeing what others are talking about and joining in by posting related content is a great tactic. You could always check out Google+ and Twitter for inspiration too!

  • Daniel Balboa

    Hi.

    I´m new using hashtags in my Fanpage, and i have a little problem.
    I would like to use a hashtag on my old photo post to group all the portrait photos, but dont’n works. It is possible that hashtangs only works in the new publications?

    Thanks!!

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  • AniStefani

    Do hashtags have a shelf life? Like if I wanted to build one over the school year, is that possible?

  • http://acodez.co.uk/ Ackolf Londake

    Thats because we can’t edit our old post on Facebook.
    A Facebook Feature?

  • http://www.liolee.com brigittelee

    Love the article! But I still don’t see how you gather the results of the posts with the hashtag ? Do people that use the specific hashtag need to be a fan of our facebook page? or will I see anybody’s post in which they used the hashtag even if they’re not fans?

  • johk

    Hi,
    I am trying to get my head arond the hashtags for facebook but go stuck.
    If you have a facebook page featuring different projects you work on etc.
    Can you use a hashtag to ‘filter’ the projects? For example I might have several post for one project.
    Could I then use a hastag say #project 1 for all the post regarding project1? When a user clicks on this hashtag they will see all our posts re project 1?







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