Facebook Hashtags for Brands: What You Need to Know

Facebook users have the ability to add a hashtag to posts as a way to aggregate conversations around a single topic. Anyone who has used Twitter is familiar with this. Everyone else will need to get up to speed.

Here’s a simple example, using the hashtag #facebookmarketing:

Facebook Hashtag

If you were to click on that hashtag, you’d see all discussions (public or that fit what you are meant to see due to privacy settings) that used it:

Facebook Hashtag

As mentioned earlier, hashtags do not overrule privacy settings. What you see may be different than what I see. You’ll see all public conversations and those the author allows you to see.

Brands have significant opportunities here. But there is also an opportunity to screw it up. Here are a few thoughts on brands using hashtags on Facebook…

1. Don’t Overuse Hashtags

Understand that the typical user is seeing these for the first time. They aren’t Twitter pros. They are going to be confused. If every other word is a hashtag, it’s going to be annoying.

Use one or two. Don’t write a paragraph of hashtags. It may increase reach, but it’s spammy and you won’t get the positive response you’re looking for.

Facebook Hashtags Overuse

2. Use Hashtags to Add Value

Have the reader in mind first and your business second. If you’re thinking about the reader, the hashtag will enhance your post. If you are thinking about your business first, it will be a distraction.

If your post is about a single topic, create or use a hashtag related to it for further discussion. It must be relevant.

Understand that if your post doesn’t add value, you are simply adding noise to that hashtag’s stream. And the hashtag itself adds noise to your post.

Facebook Hashtags Short

3. Keep Hashtags Short

It needs to be something that is easy to read and remember. Avoid slang and hard-to-spell words.

While short is better, abbreviations could create issues as well. For example, posts will get split up between #fbmarketing and #facebookmarketing. Or #fbads and #facebookads.

Use the hashtag that makes the most sense. If you want to create a conversation, keep it unique. If you want to join a conversation, use a popular one that is relevant.

Facebook Hashtags Short

4. Most Special Characters Don’t Work

Don’t use spaces or special characters in your hashtag. The linkable portion will stop before that character. The only exception is the underscore (“_”).

While using capital letters will make your hashtag easier to read, they aren’t case sensitive.

Facebook Hashtags Special Characters

5. Consider Niche vs. Popular

I fully expect most brands to latch onto the most popular hashtags. The goal will be Reach. They will be abused. And those streams will be spammed like crazy.

Again, think about this from a user’s perspective. Why would you follow a popular hashtag filled with spam and irrelevant content? You wouldn’t.

So feel free to create your own. Niche is okay. The purpose should either be to organize your own content under a hashtag or to reach a very specific group of users with your content.

Facebook Hashtags Niche

How Are You Using Hashtags?

This is just a sampling of thoughts around how you could and shouldn’t use Facebook hashtags for your brand. How will you be using them?

  • KirstenNelson

    Thanks for laying out the deets on this Jon! #youdaman :)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Kirsten!

  • CarlaB

    just started exploring the hashtags on fb. It seems to me they will be great to organize types of content and to promote our fb local pages, on the main page.

    • Mindy Drucker

      Could you give me an idea of what you mean about using hashtags to promote local fb pages on the main page? For instance, how might I use a hashtag to promote our local stores pages on our company page? Like use #ourcompanyname_thecityname as a hashtag?

  • Thanasut Vudthivichai

    Thanks Jon! It’s time to fix my post..right now.

  • Melissa Harrington Carrier

    I love hashtags on Facebook and I’m so glad they’re finally here! Yes, they will be abused by people but I try to ignore it. I’ve seen some that didn’t “hashtagize” over the past few days but that seems to be getting better.

  • Jamclouds

    I never liked hashtags over-usage. Its childish behaviour of seeking attention. But too keep it clean for filtering purpose is perfect. Thanx for the information

  • Janetsbiz

    Great post! I like the simple examples you give.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Janet!

  • Top City Real Estate

    Thanks for another great article, I do appreciate the fb info.!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks for reading!

  • Nazmul

    Thanks for this nice posts.its so obvious that we have to very careful using # Hash tag for Facebook marketing to enhance our branding. Posts must be non spammy, concise and relevant to attract fans and get greater reach.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I’ve seen FB hashtags, but never used them. I have seen common users try to use them without success. They don’t make the live link.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Just became live last week, Dan! Most hashtags you’ve seen until now were cross published from Twitter. They didn’t work on Facebook.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Oh, it’s a new thing. I’m glad to be up to date on things, even if I don’t always understand or use them. Thanks, Jon.

  • venkyiyer58

    Is there any possibility of “creating your own” hashtag that hasn’t already been thought of by someone else before (I am referring to hashtags of significance, not just any old thing).

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Of course! You don’t “own” hashtags. Use another one that’s already being used or use one no one else has used before. Just type #….!

  • http://bajabybus.com/ Ian Wright

    This is going to require some experimentation, I think, to use them as effectively on the hitherto more personal FB as opposed to the more open Twitter and Google+…

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      As always, Ian! Keep on experimenting…

  • http://www.design4dot.com/ Michelle Dettlaff

    Found your site on FB via someone who shared your post. (I love social media) Love this piece. With those who abuse hashtags, at least we’ll know who NOT to do business with.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Good point, Michelle, and thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    #Great #post #about #hashtags #on #Facebook @jonloomer:disqus…..

  • http://www.bizsugar.com/ Heather Stone

    Hi Jon,
    Hashtags, already hugely popular on Twitter, are a new thing on Facebook. So cool to find the overview and to have it shared with the BizSugar community.