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Facebook Note Tagging Guidelines

image Is it just me, or have you noticed a surge in the amount of friends tagging friends on Facebook Notes recently? I’m a big fan of using Facebook Notes strategically.

However, I believe we need to see more best practices around Note Tagging.

Several of my Facebook friends recently contacted me in private inquiring about my take on Note Tag spamming and Note Tag etiquette. This post is an attempt to address those questions.

In case you’re not familiar with Facebook Notes – it’s a default Facebook application where you can (1) originate a Note inside Facebook, and/or (2) import your blog feed.

imageYou can include HTML formatting in your Note and you can tag any of your Facebook friends.

Now, here’s what happens with those tags:

  • The tagged friend receives a notice in their Notifications list that you’ve tagged them.
  • A story pushes into the tagged friends’ Mini Feeds.
  • A story pushes into your friends’ – and the friends of your tagged friends’ – News Feeds.
  • Every comment made on the Note – whether originated on the Note, in Mini Feeds or in News Feeds now also shows up in your and your tagged friends’ Mini Feed and News Feed.
  • Every comment sends another notice to ALL tagged friends’ Notifications lists.

Sounds like a lot of viral visibility, yes? Especially now with the new Facebook design – there’s an opportunity to appear on the profiles of your friends simply by commenting on any line item (story).

Potentially, with appropriate use, Note Tagging can create a wonderful ripple effect, spark terrific conversations, introduce new Facebook members to one another, and much more.

HOWEVER, on the flip side, there’s much potential for overuse, misuse, and inappropriate use.

When Note Tagging is not done effectively, to me, it says, “I can’t be bothered connecting with you individually, so here’s an en masse way to do it while pretending we have a relationship and at the same time I’m going to piggy back on all your friends to get myself some visibility.”

In other words, it can be a poorly disguised attempt at reaching out to befriend someone further when in fact there’s an underlying self-serving agenda.

Every Facebook member may choose his or her own user experience, within the Terms of Use, of course. I’m not here to impose my approach on anyone. However, I’ve come up with the following guidelines you may find useful…

Guidelines for Facebook Note Tagging:


  1. Think about what you’re writing – the subject line, the topic, the tone. Is it clearly in alignment with your own focus and business pursuits? Or are you just jumping on the latest viral feature of Facebook?
  • Stay on topic. Do not dream up Note topics just for the purposes of tagging prominent people on Facebook.
  • Reach out and connect first. Don’t tag friends where the tag is your first contact other than accepting them as a friend.
  • Tag friends with whom you have a relationship. This may mean you’ve at least exchanged a few communications, begun to build rapport and sense there’s an alignment in the way you both do business.
  • Only tag friends directly mentioned in the Note. If you look at the story that pushes into your tagged friends’ Mini Feeds, it actually says “[Name] mentioned [name] in his/her note [note title].
    [Screenshot from my Mini Feed showing a great example of tastefully done Note Tagging by my friend Travis Campbell].

    (One friend of mine recently shared with me that it’s a pet peeve of his to see in his News Feed I’d been tagged in so-and-so’s Note and then he’d hop over, read the entire Note, and find I wasn’t mentioned nor was the Note all that relevant to me).
  • Do not go back to tag everyone who leaves a comment on your Note (this is the equivalent of manually subscribing someone to blog post comments on their behalf).
  • Keep in mind most professionals are extremely busy and may prefer not to have excessive additional activity that isn’t directly relevant to them – especially with this “agenda-based” approach now permeating Facebook Notes.
  • If in doubt – ask. You can always add a tag after a Note has been written.

Again, these are what I’ve come up with – your choices are up to you. But if these make sense to you, let me know in the comments below. If you have other guidelines to add, please also write a comment.

[By the way, if you’ve been tagged and do not wish to be, you can (a) remove yourself by clicking “remove tag” under your pic on the Note, and/or (b) write to the author of the note requesting to be removed.]

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

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  1. RamtinBashi on February 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Mari, thanks for your insightful guidelines. I do

  2. Ram on October 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Very useful guidelines. Can You advise me how many names i can tag in a note. I seem to be doing easily 20. Is it OK. Again ” Only tag friends directly mentioned in the Note.”- is not cler to me. I only tag where am i mentioning the name “Directly”in the note. Again after all is it not a social network and what is wrong in connecting to so many. Can You explain and help. Thanks

  3. payer en ligne on August 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Hi ,
    could you tell me how to “untag” ??

  4. Carla Omaga on April 6, 2011 at 8:26 am

    when you edit the tagged friends list in one of your Notes and add a new friend to be tagged, will the previously tagged friends receive another Notification about the same Notes I published?

  5. Chris Morin on September 5, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I could not figure out the tagging thing.. I did a note from a new product my friend is offering, but I can’t see where to put a tag? 🙁

  6. Stephanie Bell the Spirit Coach on August 7, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Mari — as usual you provide ever MORE valuable insight and useful information. I agree with your guidelines — and I do think it is unfortunate how many people just do not seem to understand what “self-serving” means. That being said — I can see how some can honestly have a dilemma — because if we are doing a “good” job at marketing our businesses — it’s almost impossible to have a completely clear agenda when ommenting, posting, twittering, etc. For me — the best I can do is be scrupulously honest with MYSELF as to my intention and err on the side of NOT doing it to ensure the least possible amount of “self-service”…
    Thanks again 4 tackling an important issue in relationship marketing! : ) Blessings,
    Stephanie Bell the Spirit Coach

  7. Mari Smith on August 7, 2008 at 4:48 am

    @Govindji Hm, it can take time to make those tweaks! Hang in there, you’re doing great!

    @Heather Yes, isn’t it an odd feeling to be tagged for no apparent reason?! 🙂 I once had a prominent internet marketer tag me in a video of a song he wrote and performed. I listened all the way through… only to find zero mention. Nada. Zip. I was like “whaaaaa?” & removed the tag! 😉 Re your Q on vids – absolutely!! Do you have Camtasia Studio? That’s great for screen capture. Otherwise just use your webcam for starters. Be sure to follow @LouBortone if you aren’t already – he’s da video master!

    @Sam Thanks for your input!! For sure, if you know someone wants to be included, go ahead and tag them! 🙂 There are different schools of thought and there will always be exceptions to any “rules”. 😉

  8. Sam Adkins on August 6, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Mari,
    i agree with all your recommendations but would also ad that it’s ok to tag someone who you are absolutely sure would want to be in on the ‘conversation’ even if they are not mentioned directly.
    What’s you view on that?

  9. Govindji Patel on August 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Hello Meri Smith

    I enjoy reading all the tips you give on using facebook.
    I am still working on this new facebook layout and seems as I just cannot get it the way you have yours.

    Govindji Patel

    Govindji Patel’s last blog post.. Storing Pictures in an Online Photo Album

  10. Heather Olson on August 6, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Mari, Thank you for preventing me from making a mistake here. I was recently tagged in an article that didn’t mention me anywhere… I was confused to say the least.

    I don’t think I would have thought to follow suit because it didn’t make sense to me to begin with, but I have made mistakes on facebook early on that I’m glad I don’t make now. Your gifts to us all here help make facebook the “Social Networking” place it’s suppose to be. If I want to read the ads, I’ll grab a shopper and go to the cafe. ? Facebook properly used as you teach, is such a powerful tool. We have made some amazing contacts here and our business will grow because of the contacts, not by spamming the snot out of groups.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on creating videos. Not advertising videos, but teaching vids. Content that runs about 3-6 minutes and offers some valuable lessons. I saw some of Travis’s vids when I first started and found them very helpful. I’ve seen others and have since done some. I just want to prevent making a mistake by posting these types a material if it isn’t appropriate. Our vids always include a website for more info, so in that way they are self promoting, but the vid itself is designed to be of service… Your thoughts?
    Heather Olson

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