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Facebook hashtags for marketers: a quick guide

Love them or hate them, they’re gaining momentum and are here to stay. Facebook rolled out a hashtag function in June, and they’ve also migrated from twitter to other platforms, developing a presence on Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.
As their use continues to grow on facebook there is no denying using hashtags can be a great way to expand your reach and grow your online audience.
So why not start making the most of them now?
If you haven’t started hash tagging on facebook already, here’s a quick rundown of the feature, and the do’s and don’ts.

Growing your online presence

Facebook hashtags, like on twitter, are a clickable link that groups all posts/comments on the same topic into one feed. Using a savvy hashtag in a post can get your brand in front of people you haven’t been able to reach before, and most importantly, people interested in your topic or niche.
This cabinetry design business got their brand in front of a large audience by using the hashtag #whistler during the lead up to the huge annual event Crankworx.

Whistler

 

Hashtag branding

Developing a special hashtag for your facebook page can widen brand awareness, help a new product catch on, or generate publicity around a special promotion. The Home Depot uses the branding #HDHacks.

HDHacks

 

By using the same hashtag branding for all posts about a particular product or promotion, you are creating a separate stream and providing an easier way for people to find the conversation, and information about your business.
Starbucks recently created the hashtag #strawsome for a promotion in which they, and their customers, posted photos of drinks with creative straw art.

Strawsome1

 

One word only

Hashtags have to be one word. So using #two words won’t work. It has to read #twowords. Capitalisation doesn’t affect search results and isn’t needed in a hashtag, although capitalizing in the first letter of each word in a hashtag can make it easier to read. For example, #FirstTracks may be easier to read than #firsttracks

Short and sweet

Long hashtags are a definite no-no. They aren’t easy to read or understand and people won’t necessarily take the time to take notice of your message. #coronetpeakfreshpowder isn’t necessarily the way to go. A better hashtag might be #freshpowder
Be careful with overly longwinded abbreviations too. #TKINTSFE is taking it too far. If people don’t recognise an abbreviation, or it’s too longwinded, chances are they won’t click on it.

Know your hashtag

There are no right and wrong hashtags. But you might want to do a bit of cross-platform research before using a hashtag for the first time. Using a hashtag that someone else is already using for a totally different purpose could put your message in front of the wrong audience. An easy way to check on facebook is by entering the URL facebook.com/hashtag/ and then adding your hashtag at the end, e.g. facebook.com/hashtag/lovethiscity. This shows you the type of conversations being grouped under that hashtag.

Cross-platform hashtags

If you’re on top of hashtags on Twitter or another platform, adding hashtags on Facebook will no doubt quickly become second nature. If you are using multiple platforms you’ll save time a bit of time too, being able to post the same content across different sites.
Although a post designed for twitter may not always work for facebook, and vice versa, having hashtags on both is handy for when use of the same content is suitable.

Overuse

Easy does it. Cramming a whole lot of hashtags into one post can put people off and take away from your message. One or two is probably ideal. Any more and you’re likely to turn people off.

Monitoring your hashtags

One way to check whether hashtags are expanding your audience is through facebook insights. You’ll be able to check this by monitoring your reach and engagement numbers.

Privacy settings

Using hashtags does not change facebook privacy settings. So if you’re hashtagging on your personal profile and it is set up so only friends can see your posts, using a hashtag won’t make your post instantly public. Only those who you chose to see the post will be able to.

 

Are you using hashtags on facebook? Let us know your thoughts. Are they working for you?