Two weeks ago, in ‘Hashtags on Popular Social Media Sites: The Ultimate Guide,’ I explained how to best use hashtags on the most popular social media sites. I discussed Facebook, but as with LinkedIn, it stands out in hashtag use. It seems like hashtags on Facebook are almost not done. The tip I found was: “Use only one specific hashtag per update and place it at the end of the post. Doing this will catalog your message without having the tag distract from what you have to say.”
I have been following this practice for ages, but in this blog post, I want to know why and how much hashtags contribute to brands’ posts on Facebook. Below, I examine hashtag use on Facebook by looking at research and expert opinions.
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 came to the conclusion that tagged posts actually performed worse than untagged ones.
So, brands should not use hashtags on Facebook at all? Not entirely, Schäferhoff claims. They can be useful to promote an event or campaign. Your audience might also be receptive, however; 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 results of the research 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 when you use something relevant that people can filter or to 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 simply 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
How Facebook users use Facebook
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.”
· Yes, Facebook hashtags work
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.
· No, Facebook hashtags do not work
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, then they are not going to 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.
Difference Twitter and Instagram
Hamelin concludes that whereas platforms like 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.
Social media marketing
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.