Best Practices for Facebook Hashtags

Peter Reitano

If you haven’t gotten the hang of hashtags yet, now is the time! After much anticipation, Facebook recently announced that they have finally integrated hashtags. As a result, we’re all going to start seeing a lot more of them. If you know what you’re doing, hashtags can a be a great tool for your business’s Facebook page.

What Are Hashtags?

Hashtags, which were first used on Twitter, are composed of a single word or phrase beginning with #. They don’t include spaces or punctuation. Clicking on one will lead you to a search of posts with that same hashtag. Think of it as choosing how a Facebook post should be filed. For example, if I used #hashtags in a Facebook post about this article, users could click on it to see more posts about #hashtags.

Facebook Hashtag Best Practices

  1. Remember Hashtags Are Keywords
    The first thing to understand about hashtags is that they are keywords. They highlight something important in a Facebook post and provide context. When choosing which hashtag to use, you’ll want to be specific. For example, #facebook might be better than #socialmedia because it is more specific and more likely to be relevant to the person doing the searching. It may seem like a good idea to use a broader hashtag such as #soccer, but if you’re really talking about the Toronto Football Club, you’ll get better results using the hashtag #TFC.
  2. Research Hashtags
    Always look up a hashtag before you use it. When there are many options available, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best one. Generally, the more common a hashtag is, the more likely it is to get searched. Are more people using #TorontoFootballClub or #TFC. You’ll want to know before you decide.
    Also make sure that the hashtag you want to use is not affiliated with anything negative. The last thing you want to do is be seen as insensitive for using the #Aurora hashtag to promote a dress, when it actually refers to a horrific shooting. These blunders have happened many times on Twitter, and I can guarantee they will happen on Facebook too.
  3. Think Local
    If your business has a presence within a local community, use it to your advantage. Got a great event you’re promoting in Toronto? Use #toronto at the end your post. Your audience will immediately know where the event is taking place, and anyone looking for things to do in Toronto will come across it in their search. Local hashtags can be used whenever your post is relevant to that community.
  4. Create Your Own Hashtag
    Use a hashtag that is personal to you, such as your business name. It will help you track conversations around your business. For example, Lou Dawg’s uses #TangledUpInTheBlues to post about their blues night every Tuesday. It’s a unique hashtag that is relevant to the event, and can easily be searched by the company later, to find all related posts. Often, when your community notices you’re using a certain hashtag such as the one above, they’ll pick up on it and start using it too.
  5. Keep It Relevant
    Newsjacking is a common practice that involves finding trending hashtags and using them in your posts (not unlike the #Aurora example). The idea is that people who are searching that hashtag will see your message. While this can be an effective way to reach new people, you should never use a hashtag unless it’s actually relevant.  You’ll come across spammy and risk permanent damage to your brand.

What do you think is the best way of using hashtags? Feel free to comment and let us know.

Peter Reitano

An active participant and early adopter in the digital space, our President Peter has strong insight into online behaviour and social trends.

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