Thursday, June 13, 2013

Facebook Hashtags and How To Use Them

TechCrunch has announced that Facebook confirms it will implement functional #hashtag capabilities. 

Hashtags are used to facilitate discoverability of content related to topics, issues, people, places, TV shows, celebrities, politics, locations, conferences, beliefs, companies, events, products, etc. -- whatever users mark with a hashtag. 

Facebook claims the hashtag content will be governed by your privacy settings, so a hashtag post will be viewable only by who you enable to view it according to your account's privacy settings. 

I hope this means we can finally search our own FB content, if we hashtag it, like #stevenstreightSEO or #str8sounds or #stevenstreightlocalnews.

Max Woolf is not impressed. He claims that the implementation of hashtags on Facebook is stupid. Hashtags on comments won't be searchable, nor will they be included in conversation feeds. Privacy settings will greatly limit the hashtagged content available for public view. Marketers will exploit hashtags. Porn spammers and other ne'er-do-wells will abuse hashtags.

Read his article "Facebook Hashtags are Fundamentally Broken."

You must learn how to use hashtags correctly and effectively. They must be phrases with no spaces between the words, for example.

The purpose of hashtags is to identify, organize, and find specific conversations. The key to effective use is to determine what the essential keywords are, which is a classic SEO tactic. 

You don't want to pick an unpopular hashtag, nor do you want to use a nebulous or inexact keyword for your hashtag. For example, a #marketing hashtag is so vague, you probably won't find it as valuable as #mobilemarketing or #eventmarketing conversations. 

Instead of hashtagging an event as #conference you should hashtag it with the name and year of the event. For example #smx or #sxsw2013 or #pubcon2013 

Sometimes people are using multiple hashtags to refer to an event, topic, or whatever. So you may have to click on #summercamp2013 and #chillicothemusicfest and #threesisterspark and so forth. 

You can use more than one hashtag in a post, but it pays to discover what exact hashtag others are using predominately for a given topic. For example, ABC Television prefers that people use #DWTS as the hashtag for Dancing With the Stars, rather than, or in addition to, hashtagging the individual dancers. Search a hashtag BEFORE you use it. 

You may find out that what you wanted to use as the hash tag for a topic is already being used, but for a very different topic. 

Using stupid hashtags just muddies the waters. The classic example is Entenmann's using "notguilty" in a hashtag about their cookies, when everybody was using the same tag for the Casey Anthony murder trial verdict. Hashtags are often used by spammers and cyberbullies. 

You should become familiar with the black hat SEO and trolling ways of using hashtags for negative purposes. There are #hashtagdirectories that give you standard hashtags in common use for specific topics, events, people, and issues. 


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