The Right (And Wrong) Way To Use Facebook Tags

Facebook tags are a powerful tool that let you cross-promote with others on Facebook by placing a clickable "tag" within your status update.

To create a tag in a status update, type the @ symbol and begin to type the name of the person, group or page that you want to tag. For example, if you want to tag me, start typing @Dana. As you start to type my name, Facebook will display a list of your connections whose names contain the letters "dana", and then you choose the right person from the list shown.

In the example below, I am typing a note in my Facebook status update, posting a link to an article written by my friend Tony Eldridge. Notice that as I begin to type "@to" a list of friends whose names contain the letters "to" pops up.

As I continue typing the word "@tony", his name will appear on the list and I’ll click on it to select it. This will create a blue, clickable hyperlink to Tony’s Facebook profile. Here’s what my finished post looks like on my Facebook wall.

Now, here’s the really cool part. This same entry will also appear on Tony’s profile wall. With this tag, I have given Tony exposure to my own friends by linking to his profile in my status update, and I have also gotten exposure to his friends through the entry on his wall.

Below is an excellent example of cross-promotion and tagging by Lynn Serafinn:

Rather than just reposting a resource link that I had posted online, Lynn added her own comments and inserted three different tags: her Spririt Authors fan page, my profile, and my Savvy Book Marketing group. Each of the tags is highlighted in blue and is a clickable hyperlink. This message appeared on the wall of all three of the tagged pages.

Now, let’s talk about some of the wrong ways to use tags. One breach of etiquette is using tags to place blatantly promotional messages on other people’s profiles or pages.

Tags in photos can also be a problem. Sometimes Facebook users tag a bunch of people as appearing in a photo that’s posted on Facebook, even though those people aren’t actually in the photo. Also, there are apparently some applications that will create a collage photo from a bunch of your Facebook friends and tag those people. The really annoying thing is that each time one of the people tagged in the photo "comments" on the photo, you will get notified via Facebook’s direct message system.

Used strategically, tags can be a great way to cross-promote with others on Facebook. Just be sure to use them in ways that are constructive.


This is a reprint from Dana Lynn Smith‘s The Savvy Book Marketer.

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