Why Use Hashtags on Facebook?
Tips for Facebook:
With so much competition on Facebook, it is important to make sure that you are using all available tools to enhance your reach. Using Hashtags is one of those straightforward tools to make your Facebook for business more effective marketing too.
People love hashtags. And lucky for us, they’re great for branding and help make your social media marketing efforts more effective.
We know that hashtags have been used widely on Twitter and Instagram for a long time. But, users don’t seem to have adopted them as quickly on Facebook. So, what’s the deal with Facebook hashtags? Is there a place for them?
It’s a topic that’s more controversial than whether pineapple should be allowed on pizza. Some marketers say that Facebook hashtags are useful. Others believe they have little impact.
What’s the answer?
Well, the use of hashtags seems to be growing on Facebook. This may be because users can now link their Instagram and Facebook accounts and cross-post to both channels. We also have to take into account how effective hashtags have proven to be on other channels. Logic tells us that if hashtags are effective elsewhere, they can be applied effectively on Facebook.
So, yes, hashtags can work on Facebook but only if you use them the right way.
Hashtags may be less common on Facebook, but they can still have major benefits for your brand. Take a look:
Hashtags are, of course, used to categorize content into themes and topics. When people search for a specific hashtag on Facebook, they’re super interested in a topic and looking to explore further content.
Therefore, by using a relevant hashtag, you can put your content in front of interested users. This means you can extend your reach without the use of paid ads and introduce new people to your content, and even products or offers.
You have the ability to monitor which Facebook hashtags, and therefore, which topics are popular with your audience through social listening. You can use that information to create and curate the best content for your audience. This has a ton of benefits, for instance, creating loyal fans of your brand.
Hashtags encourage users to interact with your brand. For instance, you can start a conversation around a certain topic or join in conversations that your followers already have on Facebook by using a popular hashtag.
Three reasons why Facebook hashtags help businesses
“Do hashtags work on Facebook?” is a question on everyone’s lips.
If it’s on yours too, here are three reasons that prove they might be worth the added effort:
Facebook’s search feature might not be as popular as Google’s, but don’t underestimate the power of being found there.
Not convinced? Let’s do a mini-experiment. How many times have you used Facebook search to find your work colleague, what your 2001 high school crush looks like now, or a hashtag you’ve seen in a marketing campaign?
Even if your answer is “once,” your target customer does the same—so making your Facebook content visible to them is only going to help with your organic reach.
Let’s take #SocialMediaWeek2018, for example. If you’re using that hashtag in relevant Facebook posts, someone searching for the hashtag could land on your content—without even following your page or profile.
Location-based hashtags, like #SMWLDN, could help to make your Facebook content visible to local people while boosting engagement, too.
Although both hashtags have the same number of likes, the location-specific hashtag produced more comments and shares.
Why? Well, there could be a simple explanation: People browsing location-specific hashtags are likely to be more interested in the topic being discussed. Their search is more specific; they’re looking for content around a certain event.
The same applies to non-branded hashtags, too.
Are you using other channels—like Twitter, email marketing, or billboards—to make your business seen? Hashtags might naturally work their way into your content.
But, don’t just limit your hashtag usage to one communication attempt with your potential customer; use them in your Facebook posts to make your multi-channel campaigns consistent.
For example: If we decided to use a billboard to raise brand awareness for Sendible, we might use #SMRegret (Social Media Regret) and encourage people who view the ad to share their biggest regret from social media using the same hashtag.
However, instead of pushing customers to head to Twitter (the platform where people use hashtags as second nature), create a Facebook post to accompany your multi-channel campaign, and catch the people who’re browsing your hashtag.
Hashtags on Facebook: what etiquette should we follow?
Facebook may be the biggest social network, but it is not the first thing most people think of when talking about hashtags. Nick Schäferhoff says that this is for a good reason.
People rarely use hashtags on Facebook, partly because of convention and partly because using hashtags seems detrimental to your reach and engagement. A BuzzSumo study of one billion posts concluded that tagged posts actually performed worse than untagged ones.
So, should brands not use hashtags on Facebook at all? Not entirely, Schäferhoff claims. They can be useful to promote an event or campaign. However, your audience might also be receptive; to find that out, you need to do your own testing and make decisions from there.
However, when you do try out hashtags, research is very clear about the number to use per post. One or two is permissible; after that, engagement starts to drop off.
After reading the research results mentioned above, Scott Ayres had the same question as me: “Should hashtags be part of your Facebook marketing strategy?” He asked 13 experts for their opinions on this. To Ayres, these pieces of information the experts gave him stood out the most:
- Use hashtags (1 or 2 only) when they make sense and use something relevant that people can filter or find more relevant conversation – Ian Cleary.
- I recommend industry-specific hashtags and creating your own if they will be relevant to your audience – Peg Fitzpatrick.
- You cannot really go wrong by using them – Mike Gingerich
- If you are currently using hashtags in a campaign on Twitter or Instagram, start including those hashtags in your Facebook content – John Haydon
- For some reason, Facebook hashtags have no significant impact so far, at least for marketers – Francisco Rosales
- Hashtags can help your posts be more searchable on Facebook – Zsuzsa Kecsmar
- Use tools to find other trending hashtags related to your specific tag – Janet Johnson
- As a business, cross social platform branding is important – Collin Cottrell
- If you want to make an impact with your social media marketing, sharing other people’s great content is the way to do it – Jenny Brennan
- One of the best ways to find out if a hashtag has any traction is to do a hashtag search using Facebook graph search – Ravi Shukle
- If you are not going to use them correctly, then please stay away – Rosh Khan
- Hashtags on Facebook have not caught on as they have on other social sites – Andrea Vahl
- Knowing precisely what you want to achieve will help determine how you use hashtags – Jo Barnes
I think Savannah Hamelin makes sense of why hashtags on Facebook are not as popular as hashtags on other platforms. Do Facebook hashtags work? She answers both yes and no.
“The answer to this question is just as complex as the platform itself. You do not see that immediate return using Facebook hashtags as you would with Instagram hashtags. Hashtags on Facebook work in the sense that they will make you searchable, but they might not be worth your time.”
Hashtags will increase your chances of being found. When you add a hashtag to a post, you are creating an opportunity for potential customers, clients, or followers to find that post.
However, you will only benefit from using hashtags if you are posting on a business profile. Because most personal profiles are private, their hashtagged posts will not appear in Facebook’s search results.
Hashtags can be a great way to grow your business, but there is a catch. You have to rely on those people trying to find you. If your audience is not typing the hashtag into the search bar, they will not see your post. Of course, they can discover you in other ways. But people can only find you through hashtags if they are actively searching that hashtag.
That is the same as with any other platform, but the difference is that Facebook users generally are not searching for hashtags. Do you regularly search for hashtags, or are you searching for keywords? The answer is probably keywords.
Hamelin concludes that whereas Twitter and Instagram are known for hashtags, Facebook is not there yet. To compare, Instagram gives you the option to follow hashtags, and Twitter is known for its trending hashtag section. People are actively searching through hashtags on these platforms.
I hope this has given you a bit more confidence regarding hashtags on Facebook. I recommend incorporating your Facebook hashtag use into your company’s social media marketing strategy.
The Best Practices for Hashtags on Facebook
If you’re looking to experiment with hashtags on Facebook, it pays to understand the platform’s best practices.
How many hashtags are optimal? What are some examples of popular hashtags on Facebook?
Great question! Let’s take a moment to dive into the specifics of effective tagging.
Much like Twitter or Instagram, marketers use both branded (#SproutSocial), and popular social community (#MotivationMonday) tags to tack on their posts.
Single tags such as the example noted above are safe bets as they don’t distract from your post and likewise allow you to pop up via search.
What about brands, though?
Well, if you’re trying to creating a hashtag or push a hashtag that your audience will come to associate with your content, it’s important to be consistent.
As such, Orlando City Soccer Club promotes #VamosOrlando in just about every piece of content they post. Such a tag is simple, clean, and easy to remember.
From sporting events such as the World Cup to #NationalDonutDay, hashtags are totally fair game for topical content.
As long as you’re posting tasteful and relevant content related to an event, you may very well score some extra attention to your post by tacking on a tag. For example, this #NationalSelfieDay post from Power Rangers was one of the top results for the tag, oddly enough.
Given that hashtags on Facebook are used sparingly for some brands, it’s not uncommon to see them used satirical or as a bit of a joke.
For example, brands like Redbubble randomly tack on nonsensical and humorous tags to their posts from time to time.
If you look at the majority of the posts highlighted here, you’ll notice that most of them only use a single hashtag.
That’s no accident!
Based on research on using hashtags, maximum engagement occurs on Facebook when only one tag is present.
This is a far cry from Instagram where you might see someone slap dozens of tags on their posts.
When in doubt, think “less is more.” It’s much better to use one well-placed tag versus spamming your followers with a flurry of them. You’ll rarely see more than one or two hashtags used by big brands. If you do, they’re usually nestled within the post rather than hanging on their own at the end of it.
On a related note, it’s always a good idea to switch up your hashtag strategy based on the best platforms of whatever network you’re posting to.
This means taking special care when you’re scheduling your content.
And to wrap all of this up, think about hashtags as a whole when it comes to your social strategy.
Hashtags should cross among platforms so you can better track the overall social media engagement on each word or phrase you use. Your ultimate goal should be to become more searchable on Facebook, and hashtags can help you get there.
You can even use tools such as Hashtagify. me, which finds relevant or trending hashtags based on your search. This makes it easier to plan your hashtags strategically, whether you plan to use them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all three.
But doing all of this takes planning. Like any social media campaign, you want to have an end goal with your research. With the help of Sprout Social, you not only have a pulse on your Facebook interactions and impressions but detailed analytics to back up your Facebook decisions.
Hashtags are simple, effective, and take very little time to add to your Facebook posts. Give it a try and see what happens.
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