If you’re on Twitter, then you have no doubt encountered hashtags at one point or another. They’re those words, or collections of words jumbled together, with a pound sign in front of them (e.g. #Technology, #Nonprofits, #SleepyCats).
This simple addition of a pound sign in front of a word or phrase allows users to easily search that word or phrase throughout all of Twitter, and as of last week, Facebook has hoped aboard the hashtag bandwagon, allowing its users to create and search hashtags as well.
What does this mean for your organization?
Potentially a lot!
Now you can add a relevant hashtag to a Facebook post and reach a broader audience beyond just those who follow you.
Let’s say, for example, you include the hashtag #DCNonprofits in a Facebook post. One of your fans could then click on that hashtag and see all other public posts that include #DCNonprofits, and vice versa.
This doesn't mean that adding a pound sign before each word is necessarily the best idea.
Here are a few tips on how to use the new Facebook hashtags:
- Keep it short and simple. Longer, more difficult to spell, hashtags won't gain as much traction.
- Don't use special characters with the exception of the underscore ("_"). All other character will break the hashtag link.
- Specific over broad. You're more likely to find users who will engage with you if they're searching a hashtag that is relevant to your message.