How (and Why) to Tag People on Social Networks

Tag you’re it!

Tagging people brings back such great playground nostalgia. Back then it was such a great feeling to yell out, “You’re it!” as you sped away.

Now, in the world of social media, we are playing a whole new version of the game with all new rules. But now instead of it being a bad thing to get tagged, now it’s rude not to get tagged.

We use tagging on social media for a few important reasons. In particular:

  • To include someone who was at an event/happening
  • Alerting someone when you talk about them
  • Give credit where credit is due
  • Increase the reach of your social media marketing by encouraging others to share it

When to Tag on Social Networks

If you are posting anything related to an event it can be a nice gesture to tag people who were in attendance.

This way they know that you posted about the event and they can view whatever it is that you posted. This is important to do when sharing photos in particular.

If someone is pictured in a photo then you should make sure to tag them in the photo. This way they will know that you posted a picture with them in it.

Tagging someone in a post will also let them know that you are talking about them.

This is the polite thing to do online so that you are not “talking behind their back.” Whether you are saying something good or bad, you should still tag that person so that they know you are talking about them and have a chance to respond if need be.

Tagging them will also mean that not only will the people that follow you see the post, but then gives the opportunity for the people that follow them to see the post. It’s beneficial for both parties involved for more exposure.

Tagging On Twitter

Tagging people on Twitter is pretty darn simple. All you have to do is type @ then their Twitter handle. That’s it.

tagging people on twitter

Now, that being said, there are different ways to tag someone for different effects.

One thing you can do is an @reply. This name is misleading as you are not always replying to something they said…but sometimes you are.

For example, if you click on the reply button on someone’s tweet then it will be a reply to specifically that tweet. The tweet will then start with @theirtwitterhandle and the reply will be connected to that conversation.

The other option is to write a tweet from scratch that is directed at them. This is formatted the exact same way, with @theirtwitterhandle at the beginning of the text.

This will then be a tweet that they will see but is not connected to a different tweet.

If you want to have your tweet go out to everybody just like normal you can tag the person anywhere in your tweet.

If you want to start the sentence with them being mentioned but still have the tweet treated as a regular public tweet, then you simply put any character before the @.

This could be a letter, symbol, punctuation; anything works as long as it’s before the @.

tagging on twitter part 2

If you are sharing something that somebody else wrote or created, it is important to give credit to them. The most common way that people do this is by writing “via @theirtwitterhandle” at the end of the tweet. This signifies that what you are sharing came from them.

Tagging on Facebook

Facebook is probably the most simple social media channel to tag people on. All you have to do to tag someone you follow is to start typing in their name while writing your post.

Facebook will then pop up suggested names of the people you follow that it thinks you are writing in. Once you see the correct person that you are trying to tag, you can just click on their name and they will be tagged in the post.

tagging people on facebook

You can use this type of tagging for people outside of who you follow if you are both following the same update. For example, if you both have commented on the same post, you can then tag that person to get their attention if you want them to read your comment.

If you want to tag an organization page you will have to directly tag them with an @.

You simply do this by typing the @ then their page name. To do this, you do have to be following them by liking their page.

Direct tagging with an @ then a person’s profile name will allow you to tag them without following if you are using your own page to post.

Keep in mind that if you are posting as an organization on Facebook, this won’t work.

As far as the rules on when you should tag someone on Facebook, they are basically the same as when tagging on Twitter. One big difference between Facebook and Twitter is how many characters you have in every post. Facebook doesn’t limit you to 140, so you should never be stingy with your tags.

If somebody should be tagged in a post, tag them.

Facebook also allows you to directly tag people in photos that you post as well. This way you can not only tag them as being there, but you can highlight which person they are in the picture. This is especially helpful for sharing photos from events.

Tagging on Instagram

Instagram’s tagging system is basically the same as Twitter. Simply put @somebodysname and bam, you’ve tagged them just like that. Tagging on Instagram serves a couple of purposes but are generally similar to other social media channels.

If you want to reply directly to someone else’s comment on an image you simply start your response with @theirusername and they will see that you responded to their comment.

You can also tag somebody in the description of a photo to state that they are featured in the photo.

tagging on instagram

This works well for brands that want to increase interactions with their followers. Many brands run campaigns that have their followers tag a picture of themselves using the brand’s product and tag the brand. This way they see the picture and can even feature it on their Instagram page.

Another common tagging technique you see a lot on Instagram (and Facebook as well) is the use of tagging to get someone’s attention to look at a post.

This is simply done by commenting on a post with only a tag of a person’s name. They will then get the notification of having been tagged and can then go look at the post.

Tagging on LinkedIn

So far most social media channels are very similar in how they handle tagging. At first look, it seems like LinkedIn is different from the rest in how to tag, but in reality it is basically the same.

Tagging on LinkedIn can be used to let people know you are talking about them, or according to LinkedIn’s documentation, “a way to get them to view and contribute to your content.”

tagging people on linkedin

LinkedIn does require people to be in your network in order to tag them, unless they have commented on the same update that you are tagging them in (this is generally in the comments).

To tag somebody in a post, whether a business or individual member, you will tag them similar to Twitter by simply typing @ then their name. As you type the name a box will pop up with potential matches to the name you are typing.

When you see the person that you want to tag, simply click their name. Once they are tagged and you post the update they will receive a notification that you tagged them in the post. The tag will also directly link to their profile the same way that it would on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Go Forth & Tag Like A Boss

As more and more social media channels keep popping up, there will surely be more channels that will allow for tagging. Currently there are plenty of channels that don’t have a tagging functionality but should they offer it in the future then you can still follow the same general rules around tagging.

Just make sure that you know which posts you should tag someone in and which posts should remain private.

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Alan Meyer
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Alan Meyer


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