A few weeks ago, Facebook unveiled the ability to tag, or electronically connect, friends and other Facebook users in your status updates, notes and such using the “@” sign before their name. As you start typing the name, the list of friends comes up, just like they would if you were addressing an email to them, and their name then magically becomes hyperlinked to their profile page. The same works for group or pages you’re a member or fan of.

Tagged - Photo by Lasse Kristensen on Shutterstock.comWhile some where all a Twitter about the move because the “@” function is a straight rip-off of similar functionality on Twitter, that fact is of minimal importance. No one owns the “@” sign. What’s important is that Facebook has expanded the ability for you to connect with your friends, fans or followers more frequently.

For a business, this can allow you to stay more top of mind with your friends or fans. When you tag someone, they receive a notification you’ve done so and, thus, come see what you tagged them in. This is potentially very powerful for businesses. As the administrator of a fan page, when you tag someone in a wall post or note, it appears to them as if the business or organization tagged them, not the individual logged in to administer the account.

(NOTE: The catch is that you can only tag those who are your Facebook friends as well. If someone is a fan of your business, but not a friend of yours on the network, you won’t be able to tag them. As a result, you’ll have to think through having a professional account for yourself that you use to friend people who are fans of your brand. Some may not feel comfortable friending someone from the brand as well, but some probably will.)

However, there are some best practices to consider when tagging others on Facebook so that you, or your business or organization, doesn’t abuse the ability and upset your fans. Here is my list of five best practices for tagging in Facebook.

Five Rules For Facebook Tagging For Business

  1. Only tag people who will find the information you’re posting relevant. Throwing up a coupon and tagging all your friends is spammy. Use your update or email marketing features for that. Use tagging when you mention one of your Facebook friends showed up at your event and you were glad they came. It sends a personal “thank you” in a public way and allows them to see that you appreciate them.
  2. Don’t tag the same people all the time. Just like blasting messages via email, when you get into copy and paste procedures, you become spam-like and annoying. Make sure you follow rule number one, but mix it up and tag different people in different messages, pictures or notes.
  3. Set your notifications appropriately. The first thing most people noticed when the tagging feature was added is they started getting notifications of not just being tagged, but when anyone else responded to the item you were tagged in. Change those email notifications to get the exact information you want from Facebook and one that you don’t want or don’t need.
  4. Be sensitive to your customer’s wishes. I would only recommend tagging people you have a great relationship with an know won’t mind you connecting them with your brand publicly. Your best friends … fans … advocates. Tagging a new person who has joined your Fan Page in a note or status update can seem a bit creepy if they haven’t had a chance to get to know you yet.
  5. Encourage your employees, friends, followers and fans to tag your fan page when mentioning you on Facebook. It’s a simple act (just hit @ followed by your brand name or page name, then select) that places a link to your page or group in their updates. I would recommend, however, you ask in a way that is subtle and implies that you’d appreciate the gesture but it certainly isn’t required. Don’t worry. They’ll share the love if they really love you.

I’d love to hear more about how you’re tagging folks and if you even like the new abilities. My friend Paul Marobella pointed out there’s no tagging functionality yet on the Facebook iPhone app. I’m sure that will come in an update soon, though. Jump in the comments and let me know what you think. Or, practice and tag me with a note on Facebook.

IMAGE: Photo by Lasse Kristensen on Shutterstock.com.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • ralphgraham

    Great information you people share over here, No doubt your efforts are quite appreciable.
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    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the comment.

      • jay

        3 things:

        It would be awesome if you can tag Lists so instead of having to tag your friends individually, you can tag an entire group

        It would be awesome to tag a fan page so that any of your friends who also might be fans of the same page would be notified somehow

        tagging for business pages wont work if you're saying that fans also need to be friends with the administrator of the page since that violates facebook's policy

  • http://amymengel.com amymengel

    This has so much potential for business fan pages, but the fact that in order to tag someone they have to be a fan of the page AND a friend of the page's administrator doesn't make a lot of sense and will really limit this functionality. If I'm a friend of a national brand like Coke or Dunkin' Donuts or Nike, why would I have any reason to know and/or become Facebook friends with the fan page administrators? Even with local businesses, I may know the proprietor of a restuarant or salon that I want to become a fan of, but not feel the need to personally friend the owner. Thus, they wouldn't be able to tag me in any updates.

    I'd also have to add that, although it's early, my only friends on Facebook who seem to be using the Facebook tagging feature (or know that it exists) are my “social media geek” friends. Those who aren't frequent Twitter users haven't used Facebook tagging at all yet.

    Will be interesting to see how this feature evolves…

    @amymengel

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      All very valid points, Amy. I think Facebook will eventually allow universal tagging, though we're a ways away from that. It will be good, though, for us to have an idea on what we can/can't do and how to do it effectively on the front end. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • dhepper

    Hi Jason — great article, as usual. I may be mistaken, but I believe if you want to tag another business from your page, you don't need to be a “friend”, but you do need to be a fan of the other page. I've tested this myself a few times, and it seems to work. I'm be curious on your thoughts regarding professional PROFILES vs. PAGES. I've struggled with it myself, but can see the value in it for certain types of professions. Love your thoughts!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Good point. You can tag as an individual, but it doesn't work the other way. If I'm logged in and posting a note or wall post as the administrator of a business's page, I can't tag individuals who aren't also my personal friends on Facebook. It's a filter that keeps businesses from abusing the tagging ability, forcing the tagger to have the “personal connection” to the person being tagged.

      I've always been a big skeptical of businesses using a profile rather than a page, but it's the only work-around for this type of issue. The functionality is better using pages or groups (but I prefer groups to be started by non-company “fan” types) and the use of the profile as a business is also not in the spirit of how Facebook would prefer people to use pages for businesses, but if being able to tag your “fans/friends” is a priority, it's the only current work around.

  • http://www.themoviebanter.com/ craig

    I can see this ability would be great, but not sure the best ways to go about doing it. I like your best practices, trying to figure out the best way to go about it within my own purposes. I like to directly respond to people who leave comments on status, but never actually tag someone directly in a status, usually cause there is not reason to.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Craig. Everyone will adapt and have their own approaches. Some people won't use tagging at all, even. But it's good to think about how we might. If we don't, we won't figure it out at all. Thanks!

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    Great post! I have been tagging personal pages and I have seen some success. I haven't tagged fan pages yet. I need to try this.

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    this function does not seem to exist for Firefox browsers either.

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  • http://twitter.com/tgruber Tamara Gruber

    Hi Jason,
    I thought I had posted a comment here but I don't see it. Something that is top of mind for me. As a page administrator, how can I see what fans are tagging my fan page? I've run some tests and it doesn't show up on the wall or Insights. There are so many great monitoring and marketing applications for needing to know who tags my page. Especially since someone writing on my fan page doesn't show up in their news feed but someone's status update tagging my page does and therefore is more viral.

    I am finding Facebook extremely frustrating as a platform. It is nearly impossible to get answers and trying to figure out how to manage what should be simple things isn't so easy. Like how can I adjust my settings so that fans can write on my wall but only updates or RSS feeds from the page are put into fan's newsfeeds?

    I have a whole list of things that Facebook should do to improve fan pages. Errr. Maybe you have some suggestions.

    Tamara

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Tamara. Unfortunately, I think Facebook just needs to keep
      hearing from us in the help and support areas. They won't change it
      until enough people want it that way.

      I feel your pain.

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  • jan

    tag functionality doesn't work at all for pages.
    when i tag a fanpage on my personal fanpage, the administrator of that page doesn't get any mentioning of my remark.
    it's so pitty facebook won't fix this problem.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great point. Perhaps we can bring this to Facebook's attention, if
      it's not already. I know businesses on Facebook would LOVE the ability
      to tag people and pages that aren't directly connected to them. The
      question then remains, does that violate user privacy issues. I don't
      want every business being able to tag me. That could get spammy. Nice
      thoughts, Jan. Thanks for the ideas.

      • guest

        Anything new on this matter? 

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  • MJ

    I too find it frustrating that I can't see when fans tag my facebook page. I can only see it if they are friends of my admin page.

  • MJ

    Admin profile that is

  • Byron

    This use of tagging sucks. It's nagging and provides a negative image for the tagger. I totally discourage such an annoying practice.

  • Robin Thomas

    Update: Now facebook added tagging inside comments also.

    http://www.bluefacebook.com/ta

  • Guest

    Why can’t we see when our fans tag our page?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You should be able to see the posts on the page. If you want to be
      notified when someone posts on your page there’s a notification
      setting you can check to get that via email.

      • wendy

        do you know if there is a setting to enable posts by others tagging my page to appear on the timeline? For some reason these are not showing up. Thank you!

        • Jose Mathias

          Anyone figure this out yet? When I tag my page in my personal status, I can see it show up under “Posts by others” on my page.

          When I tag another business as my page, it rarely shows up in their “Posts by others” section, but I see a lot of other businesses who have tagged them and they show up.

          If that hasn’t confused you, would be great to find out what works with this

    • Guest

      We already receive notifications if there are posts to our page, but cannot see posts where we are tagged.

  • Mariana

    Can anyone help with the following? Why we can not tag from our business FB account, even if we “liked” their (other business) pages?. Other business can tag us but we do not seem to be able to tag them. It does not show on the pop up after the @. Every time we want to tag, we have to log with a personal FB account and tag from there. :0( 

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Hey Mariana. If I’m not mistaken, and I’ll double check later today, the problem may be that the businesses you’re trying to tag may have the ability to tag them turned off. I think (what I’ll double check) that if you add the business to your business page’s “Likes” that would be the only reason it shouldn’t be working.

  • Guest

    Although I’m personally friends with a fan of my page, I’m still not able to tag their name in a wall post. Please help!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Assuming all that is accurate the only thing it could be is that person has their settings private enough to not be tagged. Or it could be Facebook gerbils eating wires. Heh.

  • Guest

    I’ve found myself unable to tag people in a Note that I wrote from my Page, any ideas about that? I am talking about tagging using the Note tag feature, not the one with the @ symbol.

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  • Jayne DeLine

    I am trying to use my Facebook business page to add friends. When I get to my friends page, requesting is unavailable and of course I cannot post using my business page. I am only able to connect with other business pages in Facebook. That looks so cool, too!

  • Ajay

    I am not able to tag friend in my post, in facebook business page.

    The tag option is not showing on the post, help me….

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    Can someone please help me with an question I have? I am changing jobs and adding the new job to my about sectionon facebook. When typing the new companies name it populates and shows the fan page. Does it show the company that I have added them as an employer?

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