Facebook Hashtags – how they work and what they can do for your business, book or brand

Facebook HashtagsHashtag Basics
Hashtags began with Twitter but are now being used in other social media platforms including Facebook. Hashtags turn any word or phrase into a clickable topic link. This helps people find posts, about topics they’re interested in, that they might not usually come across – your posts! Hashtags begin with the # symbol followed by a word or phrase with no spaces or punctuation in between in order for them to be clickable. If you want to make it easier to read, you can capitalize the first letter in each word (#FridayReads), though this isn’t necessary. Numbers are also supported (#100happydays).

When clicking on a hashtag link, a feed of public posts which include the same hashtag will appear. You can also search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of any page. When searching hashtags, capitalization is not taken into account, so #newyorktimesbestseller and #NewYorkTimesBestseller will produce the same results. Hashtags shared by content from other services such as Twitter, Google+ and Instagram will also work in Facebook. Although hashtags that appear in comments are clickable links, they do not show up in hashtag searches, so are rather pointless.

Hashtags for Businesses, Books and Brands
Hashtags can help you expand your reach to people who are interested in looking at posts about your topic. They can be used to help get your brand out there, connect with potential readers or clients, encourage conversation, or promote events. By including a hashtag in your post, you could be seen by people who may not have otherwise seen your post. Use hashtags sparingly though, one or two on relevant posts is enough, otherwise it can be irritating for readers or even appear as spam.

Here are some tips for using hashtags for promotion on Facebook:

Make it public
Your hashtag’s visibility will depend on your privacy settings. All Facebook Page posts are public. But if you publish a post with a hashtag on your Timeline (personal profile) only those authorized to see your posts will have access to your hashtags (ie your friends). If you are using hashtags on a Timeline post to increase your exposure, make sure that you set the individual post to Public by using the dropdown menu under your name above the post.

Use appropriate hashtags
Use hashtags that are either popular or have already been designated to a particular topic. This will ensure that the hashtag is searched for frequently and increases the possibility of your post showing up in public searches. You can test a hashtag’s popularity by entering it into the search bar at the top of any Facebook page. With the right hashtag, readers or potential clients can find your message even if they’re not following you.

Be specific
When choosing hashtags, try to make them as specific to your goal as possible. A vague or generic hashtag such as #happy isn’t effective or useful as it doesn’t do anything for your brand and your post will get lost in searches.

Take advantage of popular hashtags
Use trending hashtags that are related to your industry, genre or interests. You can find these by doing a bit of research and looking to see what other popular pages are using. Facebook does not yet have a list of trending tags as Twitter does.

Create your own hashtag
You can create a unique hashtag for your brand, book, idea or Facebook page and include it in all your promotional material and across other social networks. You can also create a special hashtag for an event, contest or campaign. Make it informative, catchy, keep it short, and most importantly – make sure it hasn’t been used before! You will only want to create your own hashtag if you are going to use it regularly and put consistent effort into promoting it to get picked up by other users.

Here’s a list of 141 Hashtags for Book Authors from Book Marketing Bestsellers. Some are not yet used on Facebook, so it is best to check by using the search bar to see whether any hashtag is popular before using it. If no one else uses it, then your post will not be seen by any potential new connections.

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