Hashtags on Facebook
Hashtags on Facebook sprang to life last week as the social media platform finally embraced them with gusto.
They even have their own little moniker to identify them in the search bar now.
Hashtags are used to sort status updates about specific areas of interest.
Once the new Search Graph finally makes its way across the pond to the UK, hashtags will really come into their own because we will be able to search to discover which hashtags are being used and which are ‘trending’, etc.
That way you will be able to use them to put your status updates where potential customers are searching for your products and services.
For now, if you use a hashtag in a status update, the word after the # will turn into a blue hyperlink. Once posted, if you click on this link, it will show you all the most recent posts on Facebook that have tagged themselves with that hashtag.So, for example, if I’m running a social media workshop, I should make sure I use the #socialmedia within any promotional status updates.
Then, when anyone who wanted to know more about social media might search for that hashtag to get all the latest posts on the subject – and my post would be top.
Well, until someone else used the hashtag in one of their posts anyway.
You can see how complex and competitive this could become for some more popular search terms.
Facebook Privacy and Hashtags
Mari Smith advises that standard Facebook privacy settings still apply to hashtags:
* Hashtags work on personal profile posts, fan page posts, group posts, event posts, and all comments.
* As with all personal profile features on Facebook, privacy settings prevail.
* If you publish a post on your profile to friends only, and the post contains a hashtag – yes, the hashtag will be clickable and open up to display all other posts on Facebook containing that hashtag.
* But, ONLY friends can see friends-only posts that show up in hashtag searches.
* Public posts—with or without hashtags—are public.
* Private (friends-only) posts—with or without hashtags—are just that: private and visible to friends only.
*Even when friends include hashtags in comments on your friends-only thread, your post is still private and visible just to your friends.
*With hashtags shared in private groups, that clickable hashtag will open to show public posts with that tag (along with any friends’ posts with that tag), but posts from the private group would only show to members.
*Individual comments on threads do not surface in hashtag searches; just posts show in searches.
Use Facebook Hashtags on Twitter too!
More importantly, if you have your Facebook Page linked to your Twitter account so that it auto posts your Facebook updates there, the hashtags would work for Twitter search as well.
Does Google Index Hashtags?
Last year I was told that they probably did not. However, this image which picks up both my blog post on #hashtagtestament and a satellite site which shows the rss feed from my site shows that they certainly do now.
Having said that, referring to the experiment on Facebook that I did below, there is no sign of that original Facebook status update. My opinion is that Facebook status updates are indexed for only a finite amount of time. Whether they contain hashtags or not. More on this in the future.
POST FROM 2012
Do Hashtags on Facebook get indexed by Google
A lot of people were curious. So, what I did was a status update on 27 June which began #hashtagtestament and accompanied it with an image called hashtagtestament. People liked and commented on the test to help me to see what would happen.
When I checked google for the term #hashtagtestament on 14 August, it told me that there was nothing for that term but had some listings for hashtagtestatment without the punctuation.
There, at number 2 was a listing for my wall posts on Facebook and at number 3, the hashtag image with the accompanying status updates. Now I will probably have to try the experiment again but with no image, just a status update to see if I can get an actual post itself to rank.
We already knew that Google could index Facebook profiles and business pages to show bios in their results pages but what this shows is that they also index status updates. And that hashtags on Facebook are probably irrelevant.
See the notes in the updated section above on ‘Does Google Index Hashtags’
Hashtags on Facebook Groups
If you have put a hashtag into a comment or status update in a group and then use the search function within that group, it does not pick up the punctuation mark #, only the keyword itself.
So if you include #hashtag in a status update and then search within that group for hashtag, you will find a list of status updates or comments that have included the word hashtag and that word is highlighted.
Do the same for # and you will get some results but no # highlighted and no obvious relevance to that as a search term.
Hashtags on Skype
Others find them especially helpful in Skype groups about particular subjects where there can be lots of comments. If they use the # with a relevant word or phrase, search can bring up all the relevant remarks on that subject.
Hashtags on Google Plus
According to this status update on Google Plus hashtags are a very useful search tool on that platform, helping you to identify mentions of a specific word in both status updates and comments.
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