#Facebook #hashtags: What you need to know

By Alexandra Golaszewska

You may have heard that Facebook is rolling out hashtags. If you're only on Facebook and not on Twitter or Instagram, you might not be too familiar with them. Hashtags — words or strings of words preceded by a # — are a quick way to find social media posts by topic. Spaces and punctuation don't work, so if you're talking about New York City you'd use #newyork, not #new york. Click on a hashtag, and you'll see posts from other users who have also used it, presumably about the same topic. If you want to see how powerful this can be, head over to Twitter right now and search for, say, #Brazil.

What you need to know: Facebook wants to encourage more public sharing of content. If you're trying to get a message out about an event or a brand, this is great for you, but you might not want your personal account to be so open.

What you need to do: If you post on Facebook with hashtags, look for the little toggle near the post to check its visibility. Options will include Public, Friends, etc. (There's lots you can do with your privacy settings, and that's a longer topic for another post.) Hashtags will also become active on older posts that were made when they didn't do anything, so if you've been using them for a while you might want to review those too. And keep in mind that they showed up on Facebook if you were cross-posting with them from Twitter or Instagram.

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Have a question for the next one? Email me at Alexandra@AlexandraGo.com.