— June 23, 2017
Have you ever wanted to let someone else know that you were talking about them in a post to Facebook?
Or perhaps you wanted to share something about a particular business and would have liked to notify their Page.
But you couldn’t get it to work.
Whether you’re a long-time Facebook user or just getting started, understanding the differences and nuance of mentions and tagging can be a bit tricky.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how and when to mention or tag people or pages, including the potential use of third-party tools.
But first… what’s the difference?
While conversationally, you’re welcome to use the terms interchangeably since on other networks mentions are tags and tags are mentions, there is a technical difference between them on Facebook.
A Facebook Mention is when you write a post or comment and include a person or page’s name within the text. The name becomes a blue link to that page or profile, and the respective party receives a notification that they were mentioned.
A Facebook Tag is when you write a post and say you were with someone, or, you share an image and let Facebook know that one of the people in the picture is another Facebook user. Their name is then added to the post as “[Your Name] was with [Their Name].” They, too, receive a notification that they’ve been tagged.
So a mention is essentially for when you want to talk about someone, while a tag is essentially for when you want to say you were with someone.
You can mention (personal profiles) or businesses and organizations (pages) as well as Facebook Groups (though Groups don’t get a notification, just a link, and mentions of secret Groups will not be linked). You can only tag personal profiles (though you can check into a business if you were there).
Whenever you mention or tag someone, not only are you getting their attention, but also potentially putting that post in front of their connections and followers, so it can be a very powerful ally for the savvy marketer.
Make sense so far?
Great! Let’s get into the technical details, with a few pro tricks along the way.
How Do You Mention Facebook Users?
Normally, mentioning a friend is as simple as beginning to type their name and allowing Facebook to auto-suggest the person you want to mention – as long as you capitalize and begin to spell their name correctly.
But what if you want to mention someone who isn’t a friend? That’s when you can use the @ symbol.
Type @ and immediately begin to type a name, like, “@mike” and you will immediately get a list of people whom you may or may not be currently connected with.
Either way, as Facebook populates the list, simply click or tap on the name you want to include and Facebook will autocomplete and link the name accordingly. The notification of the mention will be sent once you complete and publish your post or comment.
How Do You Mention A Facebook Page?
To mention a Page, you must begin typing the name of the business with an @. Like, “@the social media” at which point Facebook offers suggestions that look like this:
Once your post or comment is published, the Page (and Page admins) will receive a notification that the Page has been mentioned.
How Do You Tag Friends?
As we mentioned earlier, tagging on Facebook is how you essentially say that you were with someone. There are two ways to do it.
First, when composing a post, whether you’re sharing text, image(s) or a video, you can click on the “Tag people in your post button” and choose from your available contacts.
You may only tag current friends, which means even if you’re following someone on Facebook (you see their public posts in your feed, but there has been no mutual friend connection approved), they will not be available. Using the @ symbol changes nothing and therefore is not needed here.
As you select one or more friends, their names will appear as “— with [Their Name]” and of course their name is linked to their profile.
The second method is if you’re sharing an image, mouse over the image and click on the Tag button. While not technically required, it is preferred by other users that you reserve this option for when someone is actually pictured in an image. Facebook’s facial recognition will allow you to click a face and assign a name to it – and may even suggest one of your friends!
Once your post is published, your friend(s) will get a notification that they’ve been tagged in your post.
If you want to tag people in multiple photos in an album at once:
- Go to the album
- Click Tag at the top right
- Enter the name of a person to tag
- Click each photo you want to tag with that name
- Click Save Tags when you’re finished
- Repeat this process for each person you’d like to tag
Can You Tag Pages?
As mentioned earlier, you cannot tag a Facebook Page in a post.
Facebook Pages also cannot tag Facebook users or other Pages. Pages can, however, tag products. This feature is reserved for businesses that have products of their own and have set them up beforehand or on the fly.
You can, however, check into a business which is similar to a tag. Instead of saying you’re with a business you’re simply saying you’re at a business.
While creating or editing a post, simply click on the Check In button and begin typing the name of the business. The initial set of recommended businesses will be based on your location and past check in history. As you type more characters, more specific matches will appear.
While using an @ character at the front does alter the results, in the end, it doesn’t seem to matter. Facebook will display up to 15 results at a time, with the results changing each time you change or add a character.
PRO TIP: If you do not see the Page or business you want to check into, try opening Facebook in a new tab and doing a search for that business. You may find that their Page name is not quite what you were entering and that a more exact attempt will yield better results.
Can You Mention People Using Facebook Scheduling Tools?
While I have not tested every third party scheduling tool, the answer seems to be No. You cannot mention Facebook profiles using scheduling tools.
You can, however, mention Pages using some scheduling tools.
AgoraPulse – Click on Publish to start a new post, make sure your Facebook Page is selected, and begin typing your message. Use the @ character to indicate where you wish to insert a Page mention and start typing that Page name. AgoraPulse will auto-suggest applicable Pages for you to choose from.
Hootsuite – Similarly, use the @ character within the Compose field to mention a Page.
Whether you choose to share those posts immediately or schedule them, the appropriate Page will be mentioned accordingly.
PRO TIP: If the Page auto-suggest doesn’t pull up the Page you want, use their Page user ID instead of Page name. That’s the “slug” at the end of their Facebook URL so, instead of “@The Social Media Hat” you would use “@thesocialmediahat” and that will offer the exact Page every time.
If you’re using a different tool, just give it a try using the @ character and see what happens.
When Should You Mention People or Facebook Pages?
Unlike the technical instructions for Facebook mentions to this point, whether you should mention someone is entirely subjective. There are no rules – you can mention anyone on Facebook who has set their permissions to allow it – but I can, of course, provide some guidelines and context.
Here are a few very acceptable reasons to mention another Facebook user:
- You’re sharing their post or content and want to give them credit as part of the share.
- You’re sharing content (yours or someone else’s) that quotes or references the Facebook user you want to mention.
- You’re sharing something that you know the other person would be interested in (like when my friends share pictures of Star Wars Death Star waffle makers and mention me).
Somewhat less universally acceptable:
- You’re sharing something that you think the other person might be interested in.
- You’re sharing your own content and would like to draw attention to it from people who share/write similar content.
Those are the kinds of mentions that need to be used quite sparingly and with great care. While still coming from a perspective of genuine belief of the other person’s interest, it’s easy to abuse and annoy, as we’ll see with the next example.
Never acceptable under any circumstances:
- Mentioning influencers you don’t have a relationship with just to get their attention.
- Mentioning all of your friends just to draw their attention.
Don’t be an ass!
Just as with Facebook users, you can mention Facebook Pages whenever you’re quoting and referencing a brand, or sharing their content. Avoid mentioning brand pages just to get their attention, as it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
When Should You Tag People?
The intended use for Tagging is to indicate when someone’s been included in a picture, or was present when a picture was taken. That’s why Facebook uses facial recognition and provides a box around recognized faces for you to tap and tag.
And similar to mention-spam, posting a picture and tagging 50 friends just to get their attention is spam. Don’t do it! It’s a great way to get your account flagged and disabled – more on that in a moment.
Are Mentions In Facebook Comments The Same?
Other than the Facebook Notification saying “so-and-so mentioned you in a comment” instead of “mentioned you in a post,” the result is the same. The Facebook user that you mention will get a notification and their name in your comment will be linked to their profile.
What If You Mention or Tag on an Existing Facebook Post?
If you forget to mention a Facebook user or Page in a post, that’s OK, you can still edit that post and include the mention. It’s certainly best to do that as soon as possible so that the mentions get included within any subsequent shares of the post, but regardless of when you make the edit, the user or Page will still be notified.
Is There A Limit On Mentions or Tags?
You can mention up to 50 people or Pages in one post or comment. While there’s no way to add more mentions to the original post, you can mention more people in subsequent comments.
You can tag up to 50 people or Pages on a photo.
Can You Block or Delete Mentions or Tags?
If you accidentally mention or tag someone or the wrong someone, you can certainly remove it. But what if that happens to you? Or what if someone deliberately mentions or tags you and you don’t want that to remain?
When it comes to mentions, you cannot delete the mention itself – it’s like a link on someone else’s website to yours, which you have no control over – but you can choose not to allow the post to appear on your timeline.
Sometimes it’s not appropriate, whereas other times it just might be repetitive. Either way, when Facebook prompts you that you’ve been mentioned by someone and asks you to approve whether it appears on your timeline, just hide the post.
For those that want more control over tagging possibilities and visibility, head over to your Facebook settings and click on Timeline and Tagging Settings.
Here you can adjust who can post to your timeline, and whether or not tags must be reviewed by you first (recommended On).
You can also adjust the default audience for tagged posts, whether others can be tag their friends in posts you’ve created, and whether or not you are among those suggested to be tagged when someone upload an image that you’re in.
If someone is mentioning or tagging you too frequently, you can add them under Blocking, though it’s usually enough to simply ask them to knock it off.
If there’s a scenario or nuance that I haven’t covered, by all means ask in the comments below and I’m happy to clarify, research or explain further.