About a year ago I exclaimed to a co-worker, “I wish Facebook allowed you to bold certain words in a post!”
Well, now they do!
Using Facebook #Hashtags to Highlight Important Words
I’ve started using #hashtags in Facebook posts to bold the words that I want to jump out in a post since the #hashtagged word shows up in blue while the rest of the text will show up in black.
In the above picture you can see that I bolded the word #gourmet so that it would stick out among the rest of the copy.
“Gourmet” is an powerful, descriptive word when it comes to talking about meals so it felt right to point it out.
In another instance, I recently use #hashtags to highlight specific words within a Facebook contest (yes, this type of contest is now acceptable on Facebook. They updated their TOS at the end of August).
Here you can see I “bolded” the words #CONTEST, #win and #winners.
I chose these three words because I wanted people who were also skimming posts while scrolling in their newsfeed to immediately see the word #CONTEST.
Usually this word will get people to pause and check out your Facebook post.
I also used a #hashtag to highlight the words “win” and “winner” because:
1.) They are attention grabbing words
2.) I wanted to draw attention to what you can #win and when the #winners would be selected.
When it comes to post that are a big heavy on copy (like the contest post where I had to include many details), #hashtags are a great way to draw attention to specific areas of the post.
Don’t Over Do It with #Hashtags
The important thing I should mention about using #hashtags on Facebook is that you should use them sparingly.
Use them to point out very specific words in your post copy. Do not #hashtag #every #word #because #they #are #all #so #important.
Doing so will completely defeat the purpose of using them to highlight special words.
Using Facebook #Hashtags for Discoverability
Shouldn’t you use hashtags specifically for discoverability?
In fact, Facebook introduced #hashtags for posts so that they can be used in the same way #hashtags are used on Twitter – for content discovery.
I have yet to see any research on how effective #hashtags are being used on Facebook for this purpose. In the very early days, when I would click on a #hashtag I would just see a bunch of spam.
But today, it is getting a lot better.
And there are ways to use #hashtags for content discovery AND to highlight important words in your post. In fact – these two goals really go hand-in-hand in 90% of the cases (contests probably take up most of the remaining 10% since #win and #winner are very broad/generic).
For example, the Pritikin Longevity Center is known for sharing really healthy recipes with their Facebook community.
In the above post you can see that a #hashtag was used before the word “recipe.”
This not only highlights the word in the post visually alerting viewers that Pritikin is sharing a new recipe, but it also makes the post discoverable by anyone scrolling through the #recipe feed.
By the way, I am really impressed with how clean and spam-free the #recipe feed is!
Final Word on Bolding Words on Facebook
Using the #hashtag method for highlighting specific words in Facebook posts has worked well for me so far.
Do I wish that there was a better way of bolding words in a Facebook post? Yes, but I can understand why Facebook doesn’t allow it.
The overall user experience of reading posts in Newsfeed would become much more chaotic if people could bold, italicize or change the font color or size of copy.
So, for now, I’ll happily use #hashtags to bold certain words in my post. It’s better than an alternative world where every marketer and (non-marketer) could go formatting-crazy!