Last week, Facebook started rolling out clickable hashtags (if you don’t have it yet, don’t worry, you will soon). This will be a great tool for businesses looking to reach a new audience who might be searching for your subject matter. But there are also some privacy concerns if you use hashtags from your personal profile. So I’ve done a little research and compiled a few notes about using Facebook hashtags effectively.
First of all, how exactly do you use them? Once this feature is available to you, you will notice that any words that start with a hashtag now show up as blue links. When you click them, a new box will pop up showing a list of all updates with the same hashtag. There will also be a space at the top where you can add your own update to the conversation (remember that this is a “status update” and it will show on your profile as well). One shortcoming I noticed is that you can only post as your profile, and you cannot post as one of your pages.
You can also search for hashtags in the search bar at the top of your screen.
Hashtags can be a very effective tool for your business or blog page, or a really annoying one. Let’s look at two examples I found:
I had never heard of Sensible Web Guide until I did a hashtag search for “Blogging” on Facebook. Their update is very clean and simple. They state what their post is about, then they include the link, then they list three relevant keywords to their business and tag their Facebook page. Then they include an image, a small one, from their post. Everything is on separate lines so it is easy to read and navigate. This update makes me want to click through and read more (and I did “Like” their Facebook page!).
This update from Conceito Europeu is an example of how NOT to use hashtags effectively. It is clear this update is strictly hashtag-bait; there are no links or anything of substance in the update. We also learn that it appears Facebook has a “hashtag per update” limit of 30 hashtags. And, the picture is huge (I trimmed it for this post).
Here are my key tips for using Facebook hashtags:
- Incorporate hashtags naturally into your updates, or use them as keywords at the end of your updates.
- Use no more than three hashtags per update, lest you annoy your followers. #Don’t #hashtag #every #single #word.
- Main Hashtag Rule To Remember Forever: If you’re concerned about privacy, don’t use hashtags from your personal profile. Ever! If you thought it was silly to use non-functional hashtags in the past, you may want to go back and delete those posts or they may end up in a search result. Facebook has said that your current privacy settings will be honored (so if your profile is “private,” your updates won’t show up in a public search), but you can never be too careful when it comes to your privacy.
Have you tried using hashtags in your Facebook updates yet? Let me know your thoughts about this new feature and how you plan to make it work for promoting your business or blog.