Facebook has announced that they’re rolling out hashtags to help facilitate conversations, and help users find more content they’d be interested in. The feature is gradually being rolled out to Facebook users and pages. It will work pretty much the same way Twitter hashtags do — and it makes sense for Facebook to add this feature, since so many people automatically publish their tweets on Facebook.
How Facebook hashtags will work
When you click on a hashtag anywhere on Facebook — on your newsfeed, on a Facebook page, on a friend’s profile, etc. — a lightbox will appear featuring the people and pages who have used the same hashtag in reverse chronological order.
Here is an example of what the lightbox would look like if you clicked on the hashtag #NBAFinals:
Emphasis will be placed on people and pages the user is already connected to, but they will also be able to see mentions from people and pages outside their network. This means that you’ll have another opportunity to get found by a wider audience who hasn’t already “liked” your page, which is great news.
Using hashtags to promote your content
Use hashtags like a tagging system on content you share on your Facebook page. Simply type the #hashtag anywhere in your Facebook update.
For example, if you share an infographic about Game of Thrones that has some amusing spin relevant to your industry, use the hashtags #GameofThrones and #GoT at the end of the post. That way, people who are looking for content about Game of Thrones will find your post, perhaps find it funny, and share it with their friends.
This hashtag feature is an opportunity for you to be creative about visual content you share on Facebook — use pop culture tie-ins to relate to your audience!
Tips for using hashtags on Facebook
If you’re a social media marketer, you’re probably already familiar with the best practices of using hashtags on Twitter. But here’s a refresher:
- Make hashtag posts public. To make sure the posts get shown in the hashtag lightbox, make sure that your post is not restricted in any way.
- Create hashtags for events. If you’re promoting an event, create a unique hashtag for each event, and encourage your Facebook fans to use the hashtag when referring to the event.
- Keep hashtags short. #longhashtagscanbereallyhardtoreadandunderstand So make sure that your hashtags are short and quickly recognizable terms.
- Don’t use hashtags that aren’t relevant. If you’re just tacking a hashtag to the end of your post, and it has nothing to do with your post, that’s spamming. In the Game of Thrones example above, you’ve created a piece of content that ties it to your industry, so that makes it relevant to both audiences.
- Create unique hashtags. If you’re creating a completely new hashtag, do some searches first to make sure it doesn’t already exist.
Don’t have this feature yet?
Don’t panic if hashtags don’t seem to be working for you yet. In typical Facebook fashion, they will be rolling out this update gradually to all users. While you wait, start thinking about how you can get creative with hashtags on your Facebook page!