Facebook Introduces #Hashtags: How You Can Use This for Your Business Now

Facebook Introduces #Hashtags: How You Can Use This for Your Business Now

2 days ago Facebook announced support for the Twitter invented categorization tool called hash tagging or #hashtags in support of Real-Time Public Conversations.  Now when you use the “#” symbol in front of any single word or connected word combination, they will now be clickable and will take you to a Hashtag generated Search Page in Facebook (much like a tag or category link in WordPress). (For Example:  #wordpress #social #plugins)

With this announcement, we can already see the Facebook Hashtag feature has been incorporated (in limited fashion) into Graph Search and it is fully expected to be a full and active part of Graph Search as it gets fully implemented.  This is also expected to be added heavily into Facebook Advertising as another tool for Advertisers to segment and target their Facebook Ads.

Twitter, who created the Hashtag has been using this technology for some time.  Google Plus has as well.  With the current trend of increasing mainstream use, Facebook needed to implement this technology to keep themselves on top of trending “Public” content.  Yes, Public content.  The Hashtag feature can be used by friend lists as well though much like is done between fans and followers on Twitter already.  Remember, the majority of Facebook content is private, but if you Hashtag content in private conversations you can still search and find it easily with this new feature.  I expect this to be used quite a bit in Facebook Groups where content searches can be extremely difficult as well.

Today I did a small test in Facebook via the site here at WPSocial.com and our Facebook Fan Page here:  WP Social Facebook Fan Page.  I wanted to see how this new worked and I wanted to see the possible implications for Business.  What I found is that it has been implemented very well, but it has not been added into the Open Graph API yet and it may never be.  Only time will tell.

The first thing I did in my test was add hashtags to the Open Graph Meta Data here at WPSocial.com on a single Product Page.  You can test the output of the page yourself by clicking the Facebook Like button on the page here.  I then Liked the page on my personal Profile and I then created a Post on the WP Social Facebook Fan Page.  Here are the settings I used in the WP Social SEO Booster Pro Plugin and the output which was generated when I posted on Facebook:

Hashtag Test

Facebook Hashtags

 

As you can see from the picture above, the custom description and hashtags I added to the test page Meta Data here at WP Social (via the SEO Booster Pro Plugin) did absolutely nothing.  In fact, when I did a Search in Facebook via all 3 of the Hashtags I tested in the Open Graph Meta Description I did not find anything in reference to my post here.  On the other hand, when I did a Search in Facebook using “#hashtag” right after I submitted this post, I was able to see both my Liked posting and the post shown above on the Facebook Graph #Hashtag Search results page.

I also tested their use in Facebook Comments and found they work both on and off of Facebook, making the use of Hashtags even more valuable.  See my results in Facebook Commenting here:

Facebook Comment Hashtags

 

 

Here is how Hashtags are now being used as a part of Facebook Search:

Facebook Graph Search for Hashtags

 

 

As an example, I also used the SEO Booster Pro to modify my Twitter Card Data for the same product page here at WP Social.  Twitter implements hashtags in a very similar way and they do not recognize them inside Twitter Card data either.  You can see my example settings in the SEO Booster and my Twitter Post here using the Twitter Product Card:

Hashtag Twitter Test

Twitter Card Hashtags

 

This is all important to note so when you begin using #hashtags, you don’t go crazy with it.  Tons of people already create mountains of Hashtag SPAM on Twitter.  Most people who do this do not realize that most of this kind of SPAM is ignored.  When you SPAM using Hashtags anywhere you lose credibility and no one is going to click on your offer.  If anything, you are going to be Unfriended and Unfollowed a lot.  Do not be this guy:

Hashtag SPAM

 

 

How Should Hashtags Be Used?

Now that you can use this new form of universal tagging of content, implementing a Hashtag strategy for your business can be an essential part of your online marketing and traffic generation plan of action.  The most important part of this is setting yourself apart from the rest of the crowd.  Start using hashtags which are unique to your business.  Don’t get lost in the mess of single popular tags everyone else is using.  Yes, you can still hit the main keywords for your business, but it is also important to use Hashtags to Brand your business as well.  Use your business name in your hashtag just like we are here at WPSocial.com with #wpsocial.  Remember that you can also use word combinations together like #socialmedia as well as single words.  Target your hashtags the same way you would target the Keywords on your site.  For posts on Facebook I recommend using 1-3 hashtags per post and no more.  Focus people to what they are searching for and don’t use a mass SPAM philosophy.  Believe me, it does not work.  Targeting works.

 

Use WP Social Tools for Automation

While the Meta Data generated by the SEO Booster is great for SEO and Optimizing your social media signals, it will not help you with Hashtags, but there are WP Social Plugins which will.  Remember that in both the Social Review Engine and Social Member Lock you have the ability to to customize the posts generated by Facebook and get posted to User’s Facebook Walls and your own Facebook Fan Pages.  Plus, this same capability is coming in the new Social Poster Plugin we are going to be releasing soon.  In it you will be able to customize and automatically post to multiple Social Networks and promote a very calculated Hashtag promotion strategy for you and your business.

This is just the beginning.  Are you ready?

 Share on Google

22 comments
Yannick Armspach - HANDYPRESS
Yannick Armspach - HANDYPRESS

basically, it is the same... But default wordpress tag system is out of your text content. It is not really user-friendly and seo-friendly. My plugin allow you to use tags "in" your content. A link in content is better for search engine and simple for users. The big feature is the sentence preview. Through your content, the plugin filters all the sentences containing the hashtag and displays them with link and thumbnail to related posts. I think, it's a really good way to navigate and discover related content over your site!

eastcoastjac
eastcoastjac

Hi Mike, Doing some research on behalf of a client (a charity organisation). Do I understand correctly that they should just be using the hashtags in their social media, along with links back to the website ... but not on their website itself? What do I need to include on the website (if anything) ... You mention adding hashtags to the Open Graph Meta Data, but I'm not sure how/what to add. Clarification appreciated :-)

Shek Jabbie
Shek Jabbie

Hello Mike. I just now came across this post and comments, and, sadly for me, I am a little lost too. As owner of two sprouting web sites, these are the stuff I should be well-versed in. The way I understand it, when you use hashtags on Facebook, conversations will be in real time as in Twitter, right? The benefit I see here is that thousands of people can follow a subject of interest as it is being discussed, whether you're addressed directly or not. Unless I'm more confused than I thought?

Glenn
Glenn

This is geat stuff but I'm still confused on where to put the hashtags in? Do I put them on keywords in my post? I use Twitter Products Cards for my main blogs. Should I put them there and in the blog posts? Won't the blog post content look weird when someone reads it with those hashtags in it?

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Hi Mike,Are you saying hashtagged words used in private groups will now be discoverable in public searches?

Carlos
Carlos

Hi Mike, your email came like an answer from "the cloud", lol. Believe it or not, today I spent more than a while searching for this very concept, without knowing that Facebook was on this race too. I do not use Twitter and was not familiar with #hashtags. Then your email arrived and, kaboom!, you got me updated again. No doubt, it is wisdom to quickly open your emails ALWAYSSS Thank you very much (once again)Carlos

Gio
Gio

Nice findings Mike..You are on top of the game, that is why I keep buying...

Steve eMailSmith
Steve eMailSmith

I might be a bit obtuse on this one, but I fail to see the major benefits...as long as most content on FaceBook is private. Hashtags should be valuable for search in a public environment.Maybe I'm missing something?..Cheers, Steve

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Nice. Thanks for the description. That helps.Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

So your hashtag plugin has the same functionality as Tags basically or is it broader than that? Looks good though.Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Yes, your Clients should be using Hashtags in all of their Social Media. Especially for branding purposes. For example, I don't do it with every post, but in content I really want to brand I will use: #wpsocial.This means nothing on your website itself. The hashtags must be in the post you create for your Social Media postings, not the links, pictures, or videos you share.You do not add hashtags to the Open Graph Meta Data. I have tested this and it doesn't do anything. What you can do though is via any plugin which allows you to auto post from your site, you can prefill in your post templates with the #hashtags you want to be referred to with your content. This is all very similar to what you do with Tags on your website now.I hope this answers your questions.Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

You are absolutely correct. There are tons of additional intrinsic benefits to this as well.Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

You use hashtags in your Social Media posts. Not in your Wordpress posts, not in your Twitter Card, Open Graph, or ItemProp content. Strictly in your posts and Tweets and I recommend not using more than 1-3 depending on what you are posting.Mike

Leah
Leah

"Remember, the majority of Facebook content is private, but if you Hashtag content in private conversations you can still search and find it easily with this new feature." That's what I thought too when I read the above.So you mean just the people having the private conversation and only the group members will see those search results. I guess that means more and more people will be joining more groups and making more comments than usual.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

No. Not at all. Privacy settings have not changed, but you will now be able to Search for specific content better than before in private Groups and through your own personal content, likes, and shares.Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

LOL. Glad I could help Carlos. That's what I am here for. :)Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Normal profiles are largely Private, but Facebook has found that several million users have been using Hashtags even without this feature due to its heavy use on Twitter. Now, when users Private or Not, click on a Hashtag link in content both Public and Private results will show up for the user, thus engaging them with your content. Plus, 99% of all Facebook Fan Pages and APPs are Public. Now, content shared from Fan Pages and APPs will be able to have their Hashtags linked in content seen on hundreds of millions of Private User Pages.You are missing a lot here Steve. I encourage you to take a harder look.Mike

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Yes, you will be able to search Private content using Hashtags more efficiently and the results you see will be based on your personal connections with all privacy features still in place.Mike

chris@beyondbeliefinc.com
chris@beyondbeliefinc.com

Check your google analytics under social just to see how much google knows, pretty eye opening.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

I actually use Custom Segments to see even more than what Google offers in their Social settings. I am going to do a post here about Social Analytics in the next week or so. Maybe sooner.Mike