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How/Why to Use Facebook Hashtags – A Beginner’s Guide

When Facebook announced users would be able to use hashtags in their posts, many people were excited. Those who are active on other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, welcomed the functionality they were so used to using those sites. Meanwhile, others were confused. They may have wondered things like “What is a hashtag? Why would I use Facebook Hashtags? And how do I use # tags?” Looking for a quick beginner’s guide to hashtags? Simply put, a hashtag is the “#” sign before a word or series of words in your post that organizes your content and makes it easily searchable. This improves the chance others will see the post. Hashtags efficiently offer a way of grouping your status messages and trending topics on various  social media sites. Via hashtags, you can quickly search certain keywords or trending phrases and know about what other people are saying about the searched word/phrase. That being said, there are some things you should know about hashtagging before you start tagging your every random thought. Here are some cool social media tips if you’re wondering how to use these new Facebook hashtags:

Join the Conversation


For years, hashtagging has been vital to managing Twitter content. With millions of users posting millions of 140-character bytes of information every minute, sorting through that information to find what you’re interested in is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

But by searching for posts with keywords marked by a hashtag — perhaps the name of a television show you like, a national news event or even a phrase describing an interest, such as “#booklover” — you can easily find other tweets or posts with that label. In addition to making it easier to find posts you’re interested in, tagging your posts allows you to be a part of the larger conversation on that topic. In essence, hashtagging enhances the social aspect of social media, letting you interact with others who share your passions.

Grow Your Friends/Followers Circle

While hashtagging allows you to organize your posts and find what you’re looking for, the real benefit is that it allows you to grow your social media circle and gain more exposure. For example, when you tweet your thoughts on a popular reality show and other viewers are looking for posts on that subject, your hashtag lets them find your thoughts and engage with you. When this happens, not only will you potentially build your list of followers, you’ll also increase the chance your post will be shared — again increasing your exposure.

While tweets are generally public, if you’re using hashtags on Facebook (a new feature designed to help users find relevant posts using Graph Search) keep in mind your privacy settings still apply. In other words, if you have your posts set to be viewed by friends only, even if you add a hashtag, only your friends will see the post. If it’s a public post, your hashtagged post will show up in the results of anyone searching for that keyword.

How to Use Hashtags (Correctly)

The key to getting the most from your hashtags is to use them properly. While incorrectly using hashtags won’t get you banned from social media (although it may irritate people enough that they stop following you) you won’t gain the maximum benefits of tagging your posts.

The best way to start using hashtags is to look at trending topics. On Twitter, you can target trending topics based on individual cities; try tweeting on one of those topics to take part in one of the day’s most popular conversations. You can also search a number of hashtag-listing websites to determine the right tag for your post. Some topics have official hashtags associated with them, such as major events or new products, while others may have user-adopted hashtags that will help your post be easily found.

How ‘Not’ to Use Hashtags

However, you’re not limited to one hashtag per post. You can put as many tags in your post as you wish — but more isn’t always better. You don’t want to hashtag every single word in the post, i.e., “#I#am#having#a#great#day.” Each of those words is a separate search term and your post probably won’t show up in any results. You also don’t want to tag the same word more than once in each post, as that won’t do anything but annoy others.

Another way to alienate followers? Adding hashtags that aren’t relevant to your content. A particular story may be dominating the news and thus trending, but don’t add those trending tags to your posts unless they are relevant. Someone searching for posts about a new law that’s been passed is probably not interested in your unrelated blog post.

Finally, use hashtags sparingly and only when necessary to provide context or when you want to attract a particular response. Randomly adding strings of words to your posts will not add much to the conversation, but using hashtags effectively will only enhance your social media experience.

How Hashtags Work on Different Social Media Sites

Twitter

The concept of #Hashtags took birth on Twitter and it is obvious why today  you need to use them to be successful on Twitter platform. As far as social media sites are concerned, Twitter’s major strength lies in its ability to generate conversations during live events. Concerts, Movie releases, TV shows, Music/Video album releases and even riots, natural calamities etc are some of Twitter’s most popular trending topics. To find these trending topics at a given time, search for key phrases in the top bar. Scan the results to find trending hashtags. These often also include “Twitter chats,” where you can join a conversation with others about a particular topic.

Facebook

Since, it is only recently hashtags were introduced and they are so new to Facebook, folks are still trying to learn how to utilize them. As we know, tolerance for spam on facebook is very low and hence make sure that you are using hashtags sparingly and intelligently. As a rule, try not to use more than a few hashtags in a given FB status message and you should be safe as long as your are staying on-topic.

Pinterest

Oddly though, hashtags have had very little popularity in Pinterest. Irrespective of whether or not it has a hashtag, while searching something on Pinterest, you will find results. Due to this you need not worry about them while pinning. Focus more on writing good descriptions for your pins, instead. This will let people find your pin even though you don’t bother to add a hashtag.

About the Author: Ava Addison is a self-proclaimed social media addict. She also blogs about social media and digital marketing. She uses MyLife.com to keep track of her online profiles.

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Jojo is a Software Engineer in his early twenties who has a keen interest in technology, blogging, gadgets, gaming, movies, smart phones and people-watching. Jojo has an intense interest in Photography and loves delicious foods (mostly chicken) but struggles to appreciate street dogs and bad weather. Jojo is the Co-owner of TechChunks.com and writes here frequently. !

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8 Responses to " How/Why to Use Facebook Hashtags – A Beginner’s Guide "

  1. Joan Binnie says:

    Thank You for writing this article. I’ve been on Twitter for several years now,enjoying interactions that have come my way solely by luck it seems ; I never resorted to the use of hash tags because I did not fully grasp the concept. (I had read that they should be used sparingly,so I never utilized them at all!) Now I’m almost frightened by the power they may have to garner attention. I’m kind of enjoy my low twitter profile.But thank you for knowing that dummies like me exist out here who need basic things explained to them! Sincerely,J.B.

  2. rakesh kumar says:

    This is the first time i have read such an extensive article on facebook hashtag. Do you also know any website tool that can help me to know which hashtags are hot on facebook.
    rakesh kumar´s recent blog post ►► PageSpeed WordPress Theme – Faster than Fastest Loding WordPress theme

  3. Sanjeev says:

    I have heard a lot about hashtags on Google+ and they have made it easy to search posts and tag them easily…but have not seen hashtags on facebook that much….it still needs some time to catch up and facebook needs to make them easily accessible
    Sanjeev´s recent blog post ►► Scribe SEO – Why Its Your Best Friend For Improved Author Rank

  4. Yann says:

    Thanks for enlightening readers as to what hashtags are, what they are for and when is the time to use them. Like a lot of people, I know what hash tags are, but never really understood all that they are. Naturally I would not ask anyone, and hear, “What, you don’t know what hashtags are? Where have you been living, if a cave?” Now I know, thanks!

  5. really i don’t know what is hash tags in Facebook before.thanks for posting such an useful topic for us.let me try this in Facebook right now.keep on posting new tips.

  6. Shiv Saroya says:

    Great post – thanks! Interested to see the impacts of using hashtags.

  7. Frank Donald says:

    I actually tried but facebook doesnt show any increase in reach eventhough I use hashtags.Everything seems to be normal probably reach will work out only if we use their boost post in advertising…

  8. Shahbaz Jam says:

    Best article to understand meanings and use of Hashtags. Hashtags plays important to understand and search out your post/article. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    Shahbaz Jam´s recent blog post ►► Gerrit Cole Salary Information

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