Dear Emily: Hashtags and Your Social Media Arch-Nemesis

If you’ve got social media questions, our resident expert Emily has answers! This month we’re talking about how to use hashtags and what to do with a rude user who just won’t leave your Facebook page alone.


Having trouble navigating the rough waters and ever-changing tides of the social media ocean? Even the most seasoned online business owners may need a little help steering their ships from time to time. That’s where I come in.

Volusion social media expert Emily (that’s me!) is here to answer a couple of reader-submitted questions each month. Got a social media problem you need help solving? Feel free to submit your questions in the comments below and I’ll share my thoughts and advice in future editions of the column. You’ll be telling your social woes to walk the plank in no time.

Here are our latest questions:


1. I’m behind on social media trends so this question probably sounds pretty silly, but what the heck is a hashtag? I thought it was a Twitter thing, but now I’m seeing words and phrases with pound signs by them on Facebook, too. How do I use these things? What is their point?!

It’s not a silly question. While social media professionals may use hashtags on a regular basis, if you’re just getting used to promoting your company online, they may seem like a confusing concept.

First of all, you’re right; Twitter was the first mainstream social media site to utilize hashtags. As you mentioned, though, these days many social channels and websites have joined the bandwagon; some of the most familiar services you’ve probably noticed hashtags on are Instagram, Vine, Google+ and yes, Facebook.

Since so many social platforms are riding the hashtag train these days, it’s a good idea to hop aboard and start using them to your advantage. The good news is they’re not that tricky or mysterious. If you see a hashtagged word, you can click it and find a group of discussions based around said word. For example, if you click on “SEO” in this Tweet from Volusion:


Twitter will take you to all recent discussions on SEO:


Pretty handy, right? The same goes for Facebook, Instagram, etc. – just click the hashtag and you can see a collection of the latest posts mentioning that subject. This means if you want users to find something you’re posting about, make sure to hashtag the most important words and subjects of your post. Just don’t use too many hashtags; your post will become a confusing eyesore. For example:


Good luck, and happy hashtagging!


2. What do I do if someone’s harassing me online? I have a Facebook profile for my ecommerce store and one of my competitors keeps leaving rude comments on my posts and photos. I usually delete their comments, but they just keep coming back and posting more.

Yikes, I’m sure you’re very frustrated. Some people just don’t know how to behave online. First of all, this is an obvious suggestion, but have you messaged this competitor and politely but firmly asked them to stop attacking your store? It’s worth a shot. Sometimes people don’t think about the fact that there’s another human being with feelings sitting on the other side of their computer screen.

If this competitor still doesn’t stop posting all over your store’s Facebook, message them again and tell them you’re going to ban them from the page. Then actually ban them. It’s easy. If they’ve posted a comment directly on your wall, click the little arrow in the upper right hand corner of their post and select one of these options:


You can hide it from your page (but the post will still exist elsewhere on Facebook, like in people’s news feeds), fully delete the post or even report the comment if it was abusive.

If you select “Report/Mark as Spam…” the post will be hidden and you’ll still have the option to ban the user afterward:


If they’ve commented on one of your status updates, photos, etc., hover your mouse over the comment and click the little box that appears. Once you’ve done that, the comment will be hidden.. You can then choose to ban the user as well.


Not only can you ban them, but if their post was especially offensive or extremely off-topic, you can report them, too.

Check out this Facebook help page for reporting links and info. I can’t guarantee what kind of action Facebook will take, but if you’ve repeatedly asked this competitor to stop harassing you and they won’t, they could possibly qualify as an abusive Facebook page.

For more advice on the subject, check out this Two Minute Tuesday video about dealing with trolls on social media.


Thanks for reading, and if you have a social media related problem you need help solving, please drop it in the comments below! I’ll be answering two to three questions per month.



Emily Teachout was a Social Media writer and professional. She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Communications and a specialization in Technology & Society, and has managed social media campaigns for brands across multiple industries. In her spare time, Emily blogs about Austin’s culinary and entertainment scenes – in fact, she attends over 100 concerts per year.

2 Responses to “Dear Emily: Hashtags and Your Social Media Arch-Nemesis”

  1. Ronna

    What if they “share” the post before they then try to redirect to their FB page by saying “We have that product at…” Can I get their ID or what I need to ban them from sharing ?

    • Emily Teachout

      Hi Ronna! The process should be about the same. 🙂 If you want to stop someone from sharing your Facebook posts, click on the “shared” icon on your original post (it looks like a little piece of paper in the upper right hand section of the comments box). You can then click on the date it was shared by the other user. Then, click the arrow on the upper right hand corner of the post and click “Report/Mark As Spam.” From there, Facebook will tell you “Thanks for your feedback. You can Undo this action or Report this content as abusive.” and if you’d like to report them, click on “Report.”

      If this user has also posted on your Facebook wall, you can ban them entirely – just follow the instructions in the Q&A section above. Good luck!


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