Hashtags are all over Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. They’re widely used by both individuals and brands.
So when Facebook jumped on the hashtag bandwagon a while back, its developers likely thought it was going to catch on easily and quickly. Everyone already knew how to use them, right?
But that didn’t happen. In fact, many Facebook users seem to be annoyed by their use on the site. I’d venture to guess a big reason for that is because they’re being used incorrectly. When their friends use hashtags wrong, it’s annoying. When a brand uses them wrong, it’s offending. And when a brand overuses them — or worse yet, intentional uses them in a deceitful fashion — watch out!
So, to clear up some confusion, let’s break down the mystery that seems to be Facebook hashtags. After all, you can’t harness their potential power if you don’t understand how to use them.
A hashtag breakdown
1. Hashtags are one word. That means no spaces. For example, #websuccessagencyrocks
2. Cap it you want, or don’t. It doesn’t matter; they search just the same. So you can use #websuccessagencyrocks or #WebSuccessAgencyRocks. The latter is easier to read but searches just the same as the first.
3. There are no rules when choosing a hashtag. There are no length requirements. They can be as long or as short as you want them to be. But a word to the wise, shorter is better. #ButItIsAllAboutYou
4. Facebook hashtags are clickable. Just like on other sites, you click on a hashtag in a post and you’ll be redirected to a queue of all the public posts that reference that same hashtag. #ItsExactlyTheSameButDifferent
5. You can search for hashtags, too. Just type in a hashtag in the search bar to see what people are saying about that particular topic. Also, every hashtag that’s use has its own URL. Such as facebook.com/hashtag/WebSuccessAgencyRocks (OK, that’s not a real one, but it should be.)
A few do’s and don’ts
Before you go running off and start hashtagging like a mad person, read these few tips first.
DO research a hashtag before you use it. If not, you could easily fall into an embarrassing situation by using a hashtag already adopted for a very different purpose. Do this by simply searching for a hashtag and see what comes up. Check other social media sites, too.
DON’T use hashtags in every post. If you use them too often, it just looks like you’re pandering for more likes. You don’t want that.
DO use hashtags sparingly in a post. Too #many times #people think #hashtagging lots of #words in their #post will #get more people’s #attention but #they really #are just #annoying people. See, that was annoying, wasn’t it?
A final word
I don’t know if hashtags on Facebook will become as commonplace as they are on other sites. Only time will tell that. But as for you and your brand, you’ll never know if it will benefit you or not if you don’t give it a try.
And if it does catch fire and start to spread, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Thanks for reading,