Image via: Hollywood.com
Since its birth in 2007, the hashtag has become a somewhat ubiquitous force, bringing us social media folk together through beautiful, simplified searchability. The hashtag has become a defining characteristic of social media, in Twitter and Instagram especially. It has been the force behind many of social’s greatest viral conversations and has facilitated the loss of countless hours to tangential Internet browsing.
…So then why doesn’t it work quite the same when used in a Facebook post?
In June of 2013, the Facebook hashtag was unveiled, bringing great joy to millions of Facebook users… “Yes! Now I can tell everyone how #blessed I’m feeling today!” But after the initial excitement died down, it seems we were left with a bit of a mess. Not many people quite got a grasp on how to use this new Facebook function. This created a pool of poorly selected hashtags, which were not achieving any real advantages for brands and audiences alike.
The clickable link functions exactly as it does on other social media, acting as an organisation tool by creating a feed of all posts using the same hashtag. In this way, the hashtag is an extremely valuable asset; it allows you to search for and jump into popular conversations and it also makes your brand more searchable in the vast ocean of content that is social.
But in their early days, Facebook hashtags quickly became a tool for spam accounts, filling the feeds of many specific hashtags with irrelevant content and badly directed marketing attempts. This, combined with the haphazard use of hashtags by every-day Facebook users and brands, resulted in jumble of content that was more confusing that it was beneficial.
BUT, as time passes and more people grow to understand this function, we are seeing that there is a lot of potential in the Facebook hashtag. And we believe there can be a lot to be gained from this social tool. Users just need to know how to leverage that. Our top suggestions on how to get the most out of your hashtags are as follows:
1. Be specific! Creating a hashtag specific to your brand is a good way to keep the conversation going with your community. It’s a simple and clever means of staying aware of what people are saying about you in real time. Just keep them on-point!
2. Too much of a good thing can be dangerous! A recent study by the Socialbakers has shown that if you pump your Facebook posts full of hashtags, your virality is going to sink. Anything over 2 hashtags results in a decrease in engagement. The reason? Too many hashtags weaken your message. If you are using 10+ hashtags in every post, your key focus will become foggy and your posts will look spammy. Relevancy and a direct approach are your best friends when it comes to the world of Facebook hashtagging.
Image via: Mashable
3. Stay on top of trends! It’s worth taking a look at what content is being posted out there. With Facebook’s introduction of “Trending Topics”, a feature that definitely utilises the use of hashtags in posts, users can now see what topics are most popular across Facebook from day to day. This is an extremely beneficial tool, offering great insight into public interest.
Image via: IBN Live
So what do we think? There is definite value in the use of well-selected Facebook hashtags – if only for the fact that it is a way to monitor conversations relevant to your brand. Keep them specific, keep them minimal and your posts will live long and successful lives.
Relevant references: Socialbakers
By Stephanie Nuzzo