What on Earth is this #hashtag everyone is speaking of? It is a pound sign (#) but it is also used to categorize messages on social media platforms. I was watching a TV show the other night and one of the characters was talking in hashtags and driving his brother crazy. He said something like, “I have a big day today, #bigday and I am so excited about the party later, #excitedaboutparty”. And his brother asked why he was talking in hashtags?
It made me laugh because I have been thinking in hashtags lately. I am sure you have seen them around. They have made their way onto most social media platforms. These links take you to a page that explains the hashtag’s use on each of these sites (ex. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+).
Purpose of Hashtag
The purpose of a hashtag is to group together posts by marking keywords or topics and to categorize content and pictures. For example, if you are looking for positive quotes to share with your fans, you can search for #positivequotes and see what others are posting about this topic.
Be sure to research what others are using certain hashtags for before you use it. You don’t want to accidentally use a hashtag that is already being used in a negative context. According to Social Media Examiner, your goal is to use the right hashtag at the right time in order to reach your audience in a positive way.
Hashtags on Facebook
Hashtags are clickable on Facebook, so you can see trending information on any topic. When you click on a hashtag, you will see a feed of public posts and also posts from your friends that include that hashtag.
Reach More People
This can be useful in several ways. One is to expand the reach of your posts to other people who are looking at posts that have used the same hashtag for your topic. This allows you to get in front of people who may not have seen your post otherwise.
You can monitor this with Facebook Insights. If your Reach and Engagement Numbers are increasing on the posts with hashtags, then you know they are helping.
Promote Specials and Events
In order to promote a special or event, you can use a special hashtag. For example if a restaurant is running a Grand Opening contest, then they could post something like this. “For the next 7 days, you can submit a photo in front of our entrance (#contest) with #KingKhanGrandOpening on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram. Or you can enter using our contest app on #Facebook. Voting starts on September 2nd for your chance to win a #free full price entrée!”
Due to Facebook’s Contest and Promotional Rules, you cannot have people enter the contest by using the hashtag but you can refer them to an approved contest app on your Facebook page. But you can still help people find the contest across the social media platforms by using the hashtag in your Facebook posts.
You can research popular hashtags that are relevant to your post and include them, but be sure not to overload your post with too many hashtags (2-4) is plenty. Also, not every Facebook post needs a hashtag.
Tips On Use
Remember your privacy setting are still in effect, so if you have your post set to Friends then it will not be seen Publically. A hashtag has to be all one word with no punctuation and capitalization does not matter. You can make up any hashtag that you want. You can easily see what others are using hashtags for by searching in Facebook for the one you want to use.
It is important to hashtags and then measure your results via Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. Hashtags are new to Facebook but not to many of the other sites. Some people haven’t become accustomed to their use on Facebook yet, but they are probably not going away. So, I encourage you to embrace them and use them wisely. For more information on Advanced Facebook Marketing, check out my last blog post on the subject.
Have you used hashtags in your posts yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!