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#Hashtags on Facebook: How do they work and what you need to know

Like it or not, hashtags are taking over the web. The popular trend of putting a number sign in front of a word first became popular on Twitter, then spread to Google+, and now Facebook is part of the fun. Just imagine all those crazy Instagram hashtags coming to life. I’m already beginning to scream internally.

While it might be annoying to see the misuse of hashtags on personal profile pages, the release of hashtags for brand pages has some huge advantages in terms of data collection and will change how users interact on Facebook. And now that they’re here, what’s the best way of using them?

1.) Don’t overuse hashtags. Just because they’re shiny, new, and clickable doesn’t mean that every word should be a hashtag. If your fans are unfamiliar with hashtags on your page, remember that they’ll be seeing these for the first time and might not understand why you’re using them so be cautious about how you introduce them and start by maybe tagging your posts with one or two to begin with.

2.) Use hashtags to add value. Just like you would on Twitter or Google+, use the hashtag to enhance the value of your post. What is your content about? Is there a relevant hashtag that would make it searchable? Give it more prominence? Think of the reader and how they’ll be connecting with the post. Does the hashtag make sense? If not, leave it out.

3.) Keep them short. We’ve all seen ridiculous hashtags that lead to nowhere. Remember that hashtags are meant to be searchable, not insane. Keep them short and pick hashtags that are commonly used or make the most sense for your brand.

4.) Don’t get crazy with trends. Have you seen the trending hashtags on Twitter? These are often misused for fan acquisition but don’t fall for the same bad habits for the sake for use a trending hashtag especially one that doesn’t makes sense to your brand. Facebook may or may not have trending hashtags however don’t be compelled to use a popular hashtag just because it’s there. Always consider your audience first and what makes sense.

5.) Monitor industry hashtags. Just like you would on Twitter or Google+, monitor the conversation revolving around hashtags involving your brand and what people are saying. Can you leverage that information in any way? What can you learn from it? How can you use it?

Have you noticed hashtags on Facebook? If so, how are you using them for your pages and what do you think?

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