Monday, July 29, 2013

Social Media Monday—Facebook Enables Hashtags—Is It a Match Made in Heaven?


I think it definitely is…and something long overdue.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Facebook has now enabled the use of hashtags. This use of hashtags follows Twitter (of course) and now Pinterest. Not sure what hashtags are? Here's a post I wrote on Hashtags and Twitter


There is one major difference in hashtag usage on Facebook. On Twitter, the default setting for every tweet is it’s public, unless privacy is enabled. On Facebook, the opposite is true. Everything is private unless public viewing is enabled.

This doesn’t make hashtags less valuable to writers on Facebook. It’s just something we need to know.

Today I want to acquaint you with how to search for hashtags on Facebook and the advantages in using them.

Searching Facebook Hashtags
This couldn’t be easier. Since the new timeline and graph search feature, just type the hashtag you want to find into the search window. For instance, I typed in #Amwriting and this is what came up.

This is what showed up when I typed #Amwriting in the search box on my personal profile.

When I click on the first option #AmWriting, this is what shows up in my feed.
This is what showed up in my timeline when I clicked on the first option after typing #Amwriting into the search box.
Advantages in Using Facebook Hashtags
  • As you saw from my search, it’s possible to find which of your friends have tagged posts with a specific hashtag and this can help you focus which updates you read. Of course, by tagging a post with a hashtag you enable others to do the same with your posts—a major advantage if you have several different audiences you try to reach through this platform.
  • Using Facebook hashtags AND choosing to make your specific update PUBLIC can allow people you aren’t connected with to find you.


NOTE: To make a post public, click on the dropdown menu when you compose an update. I’m including a screenshot below to show you exactly where to find the menu. I’ve gotten in the habit of making all my posts public, since so many of my friends are also business acquaintances.  

This is where you control whether your posts are public, private or something in between.
  • Many of us utilize an ancillary program to schedule social media. I prefer Hootsuite, but there are several others that also work well. Because of this, I often post the exact same update to Facebook and Twitter. Now, this makes even more sense.

The Downside of Facebook Hashtags
There are really only two, and they’re not very strong. 

  • The first is the fact I mentioned above. Facebook has a culture of privacy, so our audience (readers) will have to be educated to share certain posts publicly to get all the conversational benefits of following a hashtag. It’s hard to have a group conversation when no one wants to share what they say to everyone in the room.

  • The second is one that I’m glad the Facebook creators have instigated. The only time a hashtag will show up in a search is if the original comment contained the hashtag. If the hashtag is in a comment, it won’t show up. The reason behind this is to keep our private conversations from being hijacked through commenters.

All in all, I’m VERY pleased to see Facebook allowing the use of hashtags. Now I’d like to know what you think. Have you tried any hashtag searches on Facebook? Do you use hashtags in your Facebook updates already?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings
Edie

19 comments:

  1. Thanks, Edie. There's so much I am trying to learn about Social Media, and this helps a ton.

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    1. Larry, I'm glad this helps! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings,E

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  2. Awesome article Edie. What would we do without you as our social media expert?!

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    1. Thank you, my friend! Praying for you as you ride! Blessings, E

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  3. I'd seen some hashtags on Facebook these last few weeks and wondered what was going on since I only knew of hashtags on Twitter. Thanks for clearing up the confusion. Things change so fast on social media, I'm glad to have someone like to help me with it all.

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    1. Things do change fast with social media! I'm glad I'm here to help. Blessings, E

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  4. I LOVE hashtags! Glad to see FB finally joined the hashtag community. :-)

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    1. Dora, I agree. I'm excited about what's to come. Blessings, E

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  5. I'm still getting used to the idea that a Hashtag isnot a fancy hashbrown, LOL! Still, I plan to add more of this component of social media to my repertoire in August. As always, Edie, thanks for the timely information and help with how to use it.

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    1. Michelle, glad to help! Blessings, E

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  6. Thank you for posting. Very helpful.

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  7. Thank you for posting, very helpful. I'm a little intimidated by hashtags on FB, but I hadn't considered that they might actually be useful. ;-)

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    1. Anything that I don't know the hows and whys about is intimidating to me. Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  8. I use them a lot of Twitter and now I'll try them on Facebook. :) If you make one post public, it doesn't make everything does it? It's only that post, right?

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    1. Ane, when you choose public on an individual post, it's only for that post. To change all your posts to public, you have to go into the privacy settings. But with Facebook, it's ALWAYS good to ask! Blessings, E

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  9. This makes my head spin. Is this why I'm seeing only 3 or 4 posts on my newsfeed? I miss my friends' posts! The links for the birthdays and invitations are also not working.

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    1. Susan, the reason you're seeing only 3 or 4 posts from someone is due to the Facebook Edgerank Algorithm. BUT you can override that. Here's a post I did on how to see what you want in your Facebook feed: http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2012/11/social-media-mondaycan-i-set-what-shows.html.

      I'm not sure what you're talking about with the links for the birthdays and invitations. Email me and I'll see if I can help you out - edigmelson(at)gmail(dot)com! Blessings, E

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  10. I had just started using hashtags on my fan page because it tweets everything for me. I'm slowly learning these things piece by piece. I still need someone to hold my hand to set up a wordpress blog instead of blogger. My brain hurts.

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    1. Karen I emailed you a link to Michael Hyatt's blog today. He shares how to set up a self-hosted Wordpress site in only 20 minutes.

      I am curious why you'd choose WordPress over Blogger? If you think it's more professional or more respected, that's not the truth at all. It's also harder to set up and maintain for most people. But it's a pretty good platform (the free version - the paid version is the BEST out there). But I'm very familiar with both, just email me if you run into trouble. Blessings, E

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