Can you believe that Twitter initially rejected the use of hashtags, saying that they were “too nerdy”? They very nearly dropped the ball on that one, because hashtags are now ubiquitous. They’re certainly a part of modern culture and for some people, part of their everyday lives…
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?
Do Hashtags Work on Facebook?
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.
The Benefits of Using Hashtags on Facebook
Hashtags may be less common on Facebook but they can still have major benefits for your brand. Take a look:
1. Make Your Posts Searchable
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.
2. Monitor Trending Topics
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.
3. Encourage Engagement
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 are already having on Facebook by using a popular hashtag.
Furthermore, branded hashtags encourage conversations around your content or campaigns. As more people use your branded hashtags, essentially, more people promote your brand on your behalf.
4 Best Practices for Using Hashtags on Facebook
As I’m sure you know, it’s important to tailor the content you produce and share to each individual social media channel. And the way in which you should use hashtags on Facebook is unique. Here are some top tips:
1. Don’t Go Overboard
It’s better to use one carefully-chosen hashtag than to try to reach everybody with tons of hashtags. Studies have shown that engagement actually decreases, the more hashtags you use in your Facebook posts:
So, you should use hashtags sparingly and strategically on Facebook. This is where a social media management tool like MavSocial comes in handy. It allows you to plan, tweak and schedule Facebook posts in advance. Thus, you have the time and space to map out your content and where hashtags might be useful in a smarter way.
2. Use Unique Branded Hashtags
There are multiple ways in which you can utilize branded hashtags on Facebook.
Firstly, you can use them to make a campaign stand out. Here, PlayStation uses #PlayStationIndies to promote indie games on the platform:
Each time you use a unique branded hashtag in this way, users know exactly what the content is about. And it sets content from a particular campaign apart from other posts on your page.
Another effective way to use branded hashtags is to promote events. In this example, Microsoft promotes a virtual event with the hashtag #MSBuild:
The idea is that users will pick up the hashtag and start using it before, during, and after the event. This will raise awareness for your event and start conversations.
You can also use a unique branded hashtag for a content series. When users click on the hashtag they can see the rest of the content in that series. Fiverr, for example, uses #Ninetwentynine for their business podcast series:
This is a great way to encourage users to view more of your content.
3. Only Use Relevant Hashtags
It’s tempting to jump on trendy hashtags with the plan of extending your reach to the masses. #MotivationMonday anyone? This might make sense for Twitter, but not for Facebook where you need to be more selective with your hashtag use. Hence, you should only adopt hashtags that are trending or popular with your audience, specifically.
Find out which hashtags and topics are popular through social listening and audience research. Then, you can share hashtags related to what your audience cares about or their interests.
Here’s an example from Burt’s Bees:
They use a hashtag that has some buzz around it, #NationalPollinatorWeek. This works because their audience is passionate about sustainability. You can do something similar by using popular hashtags that will resonate with your audience.
4. Test and Monitor
The only way to see if hashtags truly have an impact on Facebook is to experiment and measure the results. Do hashtags increase engagement for your brand? Are you using hashtags on Facebook correctly? Are they more effective on some types of posts than others?
If you have MavSocial, you can look at your social media analytics to find answers to these questions. Use the “Most Engaging Posts” section of your reports to see whether your posts with hashtags perform better than those without. Also, you can view your engagement history to understand how users are interacting with posts that contain hashtags.
This data will show you, definitively, how to incorporate hashtags into your Facebook strategy.
There is a place for hashtags on Facebook. But, there are a few things you need to remember… Use Facebook hashtags strategically because using hashtags just for the sake of it could be detrimental.
Start conversations around relevant topics. Use hashtags that your specific audience will be interested in. Enhance content and campaigns with branded hashtags. And don’t forget to keep track of how your tagged posts are performing. These are the ways you’ll have the greatest impact with hashtags on Facebook.