By now, all of you have seen the “#” symbol followed by keywords, phrases, and usually sarcasm. This week Facebook launched hashtags to their platform, but the real wonder is, what took them so long?
For any of you that don’t know, a hashtag is a form of metadata tag that allows social media users to follow topics that they are interested in on social networking platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and finally, Facebook.
Hashtags are used on Facebook just as they are used on other platforms by connecting people to others who are talking about that same topic. Now that Facebook has adopted hashtags, posting on multiple social networking platforms will be easier and more consistent. This most likely means that you will see a lot of repetitive posts across all social networks that misuse and over use hashtags.
If you want your hashtag to appear on a public forum, you need to set your post to public. Facebook is honoring its privacy settings by only showing your post including a hashtag to the audience you have selected. If you click on a hashtag you will be shown public posts and posts from your friends who have allowed you to see the post.
Hashtag Etiquette Don’t get me wrong; I love the idea of hashtags and even how they work. I find it very useful on Twitter to follow topics I am interested in or join the conversation at an event via hashtag. However, many, MANY people use hashtags wrong or are just plain annoying. Follow the below guidelines to correctly use hashtags. Please and thank you.
Less is More: This is the biggest and easiest rule to follow. Don’t add a hashtag for no apparent reason, and please do not ever have more than 3. Hashtags should only be used to help your content so please use sparingly.
Follow the Trends: Hashtags are helpful for following trends and can help your brand increase engagement. Using popular or trending hashtags creates a dialogue and also allows your brand to be a part of a current conversation. However, it is important to research the hashtag before using them. Don’t be that brand that inserts themselves into a conversation and has no idea why people are talking about it.
Style: Hashtags have their own unique look and feel to them so it is best to keep up with common practices and styles. Hashtags should be as short as possible and should not be a full sentence, cut it down to one word or short phrase. If the hashtag is multiple words, it is common to use #CamelCase which capitalizes the first letter of each word so it is easier to read.
Hashtags are nothing new, just new to Facebook. If you don’t currently use them, it is about time you start because clearly they’re not going away any time soon.
Image by Peter Weber via The Week