We all know Facebook has hashtags -- but should they be part of your Facebook marketing strategy?
I asked 13 experts for their opinions on this.
Before you read their replies, let's look at results from a study by Social Bakers, which examined how Facebook engagement correlates hashtag use.
(Takeaway: too many hashtags lowers engagement -- and won't help you get more likes.)
- Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions
- Posts with 3 to 5 hashtags averaged 416 interactions
- Posts with 6 to 10 hashtags averaged 307 interactions
- Posts with more than 10 hashtags averaged 188 interactions
So going from 2 to 3 hashtags caused a significant drop in engagement!
Does this mean too many hashtags bad for business?
Let's see what some experts had to say:
Tips from 13 Experts on How to Use Hashtags on Facebook
I posed this question to each influencer:
- Should businesses use hashtags on Facebook?
1. Ian Cleary Razor Social
A business should use hashtags if they are used correctly. It's completely pointless adding loads of hashtags for the sake of it or adding hashtags that no one is going to monitor or care about.
Use hashtags (1 or 2 only) when they make sense and when you use something relevant that people can filter on to find more relevant conversation. If I wanted to create conversation around social media tools I would start including a hashtag #socialmediatools and then I'd encourage conversation around this.
Facebook creates a unique URL for the hashtags used so I can point people to the conversation to encourage more people to use the hashtag and create more relevant conversation. So please don't hashtag #everything (example of a pointless hashtag).
Use them wisely in the way they were designed i.e. to help create and continue and conversation around relevant topics.
2. Peg Fitzpatrick Canva
Embrace hashtags but don’t go crazy with them.
Hashtags connect your content with other people talking about the same thing or looking for information about something. So, if you write an article about using Facebook for Business and use the #FacebookTips hashtag, more people will find your content.
This can extend your Facebook content past your own audience. That is one of the only ways to do this on Facebook without paid media.
I recommend industry specific hashtags and creating your own if they will be relevant to your audience. Three or four relevant hashtags could make all the difference in busting through Facebook’s EdgeRank and finding your ideal audience.
3. Mike Gingerich TabSite
It's an ongoing question...."Do hashtags matter on Facebook?" I've got 6 people who say it matters and a half dozen that say they don't! It's a toss-up at this time really for immediate impact for sure. If your audience is socially savvy, then hashtags can come into play and be of value. If your audience is not steeped in the depths of social media use, then a hashtag can be a foreign symbol to them that makes no difference whatsoever.
One key, though, is that you can't really go wrong by using them. If your audience isn't socially savvy they just skip over them (unless you use too many!!), but by using them someone who is deep into social may find your post as they search and scroll through hashtags.
Do I use them on Facebook? Sometimes. I likely should more often but in the speed to post I overlook them at times. I don't overlook them on Twitter or Google+ as they are more central to those networks. Bottom line: if used appropriately it should only help.
4. John Haydon Inbound Zombie
If you are currently using hashtags in a campaign on Twitter or Instagram, start including those hashtags in your Facebook content.
This makes it easier to integrate all your social channels as one.
5. Francisco Rosales Social Mouths
The hashtag is supposed to be a win-win-win situation, marketers have the opportunity to expand their reach to an interested prospect, users can discover content, products, offers, and the platform generates more advertising opportunities.
For some reason, Facebook hashtags have no significant impact so far, at least for marketers, and this has been backed up by data in a study conducted by EdgeRank Checker.
Should businesses use hashtags? I think they can be useful in very specific cases like an event or a promotion, with the proper support of other media, but I’m not sure it’s moving the needle when it comes to regular content.
6. Zsuzsa Kecsmar Antavo
Hashtags can help your posts be more searchable on Facebook. I always like how Kim Garst uses hashtags in her posts.
She uses the hashtag #BizTips for her short business tips, but she also participates in Internet traditions like “Throwback Thursday” or “Fanpage Friday”.
So on Fridays she encourages other page owners to promote their own page by posting it to the comments. These posts are popular, as you can see from the numbers.
Kim uses multiple hashtags for Facebook Friday, so she must expect lots of traffic after searches.
What cause is relevant to your audience? You might want to use it in your posts as a hashtag!
7. Janet Johnson Social Media Hangout Time
I don’t believe the general public has grasped the use of #hashtags on Facebook in the same way they have on Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. But with the integration of Instagram, hashtags are brought over to Facebook much more than before and I believe their use is growing.
Should businesses be using hashtags on Facebook? Why not? What if you had one person specifically searching for what your business offers and you gained an extra fan, lead or sale from that? It would be worth that extra step, wouldn’t it?
A few quick tips for using #hashtags on Facebook:
1. Use relevant keywords to your business and the audience you are trying to target. (If you are a local business, use the name of your city too).
2. Use tools like Hashtagify.me to find other trending hashtags related to your specific tag.
3. Don’t put your #hashtag in the middle of the #sentence. That makes #reading the sentence #annoying. See? Instead, write out your whole post. At the bottom of the post, add the hashtags. Sample below:
(This example is from Mari Smith)
Check your insights, folks. Do you think link clicks help your reach, too? #FacebookTips #FacebookMarketing
8. Collin Cottrell Maxima Media
I think you SHOULD use hashtags on your business Facebook page, but let me explain why and how.
As it mentions on the "How do I use hashtags?" help page on Facebook, the hashtag feature isn't fully available to everyone right now. I believe this is going to change and that the hashtag system will be as powerful as Twitter or Instagram's when it is fully ready and available.
But, even though hashtags are not the same on Facebook right now, I do think there is still a good way to use them. As a business, cross social platform branding is important. Since users might follow your brand on several social networks, I think it's good to use your "branding style hashtags" on each to keep them familiar.
Here's an example: if you're doing a promotion that uses a hashtag on Twitter & Instagram, you will "brand" that hashtag to the users better if they see it being used on Facebook as well. This will encourage them to use it no matter what social network they are engaging on and will convert to more success on Twitter & Instagram.
You don't want to go overboard using hashtags on Facebook, like you see on Twitter & Instagram. But, it doesn't hurt to be prepared for the day Facebook does make their feature more similar to Twitter & Instagram.
9. Jenny Brennan Virtual Office Worx
The biggest thing I LOVE about hashtags is the curation side, which I think many people miss. If you really want to make an impact with your social media marketing, sharing other people's great content is the way to do it.
By using the # you can identify what people are sharing, what they are saying about the subject and even make new connections that you might not have made before!
10. Ravi Shukle RaviShukle.com
I feel page owners should still use hashtags in their posts. Although we associate hashtags primarily with Twitter and even Instagram, they can still be used on Facebook to help increase visibility of your posts.
I would avoid linking the same posts for both Twitter and Facebook as the language being used on both will be very different and would not have the same effect or results.
If you are thinking about using hashtags for your content, one of the best ways to find out if the hashtag has any traction is to simply do a hashtag search using Facebook graph search. Type the desired hashtag into your Facebook search bar to reveal all the posts associated with the word.
Along with using hashtags with your content, it can also be a great way to cross promote webinars or live events across your other social networks. This makes it easier for page admins to monitor the conversations on Facebook as well as other social channels under one key term.
If you haven’t used hashtags before as part of your content marketing or even promotional strategy, they're definitely worth testing out. #FacebookTips
11. Rosh Khan Social Rank
YES... and NO. If you're not going to use them correctly, then please stay away! But if you are, well... bring 'em on!
1. Hashtags have seeped into the way we communicate. It's a fun way to communicate without writing complete sentences!
2. If your brand piggybacks on popular hashtags, you could increase your visibility and reach.
3. Hashtags are GREAT for social monitoring. If you have a hashtag specific to your brand or event, you can quickly check what others are saying when they use the hashtag. This could help you measure positive, neutral, and/or negative sentiment.
But of course, there is a WRONG way to use hashtags too and that would simply be... overuse! Like many other things, use hashtags in moderation. The last thing you want is for your brand to be perceived as a hashtag spammer.
So what's the bottomline?
Use 'em strategically -- for fun communication, for increased reach, and for social monitoring
12. Andrea Vahl AndreaVahl.com
Hashtags on Facebook have not caught on like they have on other social sites. A study from EdgeRankChecker even shows that there may be some decrease in reach when a page uses hashtags.
But with all studies and general recommendations, you should do your own testing. Try an experiment where you put one or two relevant hashtags into your posts during a week. Then have the same number and type of posts the next week and compare your reach and interaction.
Also, make sure you check the hashtags to see what the current conversation is around that hashtag on Facebook.
The bottom line is they aren't as effective on Facebook as other social sites, but you should test to see what results you get in your niche with your audience.
13. Jo Barnes Online Marketing Addicts
I haven't fully tested the effectiveness of hashtags on Facebook yet, but I have witnessed posts that seem to be using them for the sake of using them. Every strategy you test and measure in your business needs to have a specific objective or you may find it backfires.
So as with anything, start with the end in mind. If you're going to use hashtags, answer this important question first: What's my objective?
Is it to make my brand more searchable? Is it to launch a product or service? Is it to monitor my brand presence? Is it to cross promote over other sites? Is it to get involved in or to incite conversation?
Knowing precisely what you want to achieve will help determine how you use hashtags, will ensure there is consistency in your brand message and won't confuse your audience. Whatever you do, don't just slap up a few hashtags that you think are keywords people might search for.
This could end up hurting your brand rather than helping it.
Great advice, everyone -- although some of you seem like you may be more confused than ever about how to use hashtags on Facebook. ;)
As you decide whether Facebook hashtags are right for your business, here are some nuggets of wisdom from each of these pros -- stuff that really stuck out to me:
- Use hashtags (1 or 2 only) when they make sense and when you use something relevant that people can filter on 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 can't 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 like Hashtagify.me 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 really 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're not going to use them correctly, then please stay away -- Rosh Khan
- Hashtags on Facebook have not caught on like they have on other social sites -- Andrea Vahl
- Knowing precisely what you want to achieve will help determine how you use hashtags -- Jo Barnes
There you go!
So what do you think? Do you use hashtags on your business page?
Now that you got your Facebook hashtag groove on -- what about your Facebook engagement? Want more likes and shares? We gotcha covered!
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