Hashtags Help: an easy way to use them better.

Hashtags Help

A question that I get asked often is: How do I use Hashtags (#tag) on Facebook, what does it do and why use it? Let’s have a quick look at using hashtags on Facebook. This can help you if you are posting for your business. Use them right and they can help to drive traffic and make finding topics to post about easier.

But first something interesting.  This is what Chris Messina said, the guy that came up with the hash tag:

“I spent a lot of time working on technologies that I’d hoped would unify the social web and give people more choice – and instead of any of those efforts taking off, this stupid, stupid idea I had ending up being the thing that caught fire. Go figure.”

It was more an accident than anything else. Imagine, it all started with this message on twitter, and today you even see hashtags in TV ads. This is the tweet:

“how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

What does this mean?

Imagine you are in a huge library and looking for only the books that mentions a single word eg: foobar once or more. That will be very difficult if not impossible to do.  Online this is not just doable but easy as well. By adding the pound(#)  in front of a carefully selected keyword you tie the post containing the hashtag to all the other posts using the same tag. This works nice in searches, now things are grouped together allowing you to easily make comparisons.

This is where the trending thing comes in, it is possible to see which keywords are the most popular at this time. Trending topics/keywords are constantly changing, as it is a live score of what people are talking about the most now. More about that a bit later.

The plan is to get a better idea  with regards to, the right topics to write posts about at the best time.

When you start searching for tags on different platforms you will quickly see that, Searching for tags does not work the same in all apps. Some social networks do not support hashtags others you have to drop the pound key when searching. This post however, will only be looking at a single method for Facebook.

Using hashtags on Facebook.

Keeping in mind that randomly adding tags can become a hit and miss, luck driven lottery, not exactly our goal. We want to get real-time facts to make a calculated move. The starting point will be for you to start using tags in your posts.

Choosing a tag

You do not have to use your own tags to make this work, but choosing one or two keywords that is unique to your business and adding them to all your posts is a good idea. Creating and using your own tags gives you more ways to find not only your content, but also related content (important!).

How many tags to add to your posts?

Not too many, three is a nice number. One for your business, a second that can relate to the category your post deals with and last a trending keyword eg: #loadshedding. Always keep tags relevant to your topic.

Now we work them

Do a search on Facebook for the #tag you used, without the # like this:  foobar
Now all the posts using the #tag – #foobar will show up in the results. With the grouped results we can assume that other people who used #foobar will have the same interests. This is where you want your personal tags to show up more on other people’s posts, you have to actively encourage that all the time.

If you are looking at a very personalized tags, and other people used it, well… That’s what you are looking for! The people who added your tags will be more likely to engage with you in conversation.

Before we look at why you want to engage and how to engage, we drifting off and first finding out how to pin down trending tags.

What is trending?

The first easy way is to go to my home page reniersky.com, there you will find a widget that displays the current trending keywords related to South Africa – local hot topics. The widget also sports a basic popularity indicator. By clicking any of the keywords, pops open the article, these tell you what the story is about.

The first very handy app used to measure trends over years is:  http://trends.google.com/ Google Trends allows for very specific search filters to be used. The idea behind this is to shape your posts around the trending keywords.  A quick take from the widget on my site showed up the following keywords as trending:

  • India vs. Australia
  • Andreas Lubitz
  • Spree
  • Germanwings
  • Zyan Malik
  • Senyaka
  • Load Shedding
  • Jeremy Clarkson
  • Perrie Edwards
  • Kickoff

Lets say you are posting for a car dealership, as you can see you in luck now, you have some RELATED words, focus on related. So we choose Jeremy Clarkson. This gives you a couple of words you can use:

  • Jeremy
  • Clarkson
  • Top gear
  • BBC

Okay, that’s a start. Now we bop over to Google Trends and do a search, here is an example of what came up when searching for Jeremy Clarkson.

Jeremy Clarkson Keyword Trending
Click to enlarge


Looking at the results in the interest over time graph above you can immediately see clearly see IT’S HOT!!!! Now is the time to add this in your posts.

The regional interest helps to make sure you are spot on with the country, pointless using something that is trending outside your niche.

Thirdly, and the goal of this, you will see Related Searches. This gives you more key phrases. Add these to your mix and your posts should perform better.

How do you engage?

If you want people to like your stuff, you have to start by liking their stuff, and if good enough share it, then leave a comment or ask a question. Very important because that’s how you evoke a response.

When they respond you can qualify the response, and if good suggest to them to sign up on the website, either for email notifications or submit their story or continue along your calculate already in place strategy. That there is the first simple step towards having a good working conversion strategy.

Try it out, tell me what response you get.

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.