In recent years, we’ve seen all kinds of developments on social media, one of the most prominent being the introduction of hashtags. First launched on Twitter back in August 2007, they quickly gained popularity among users and were adopted by other social networks.
Instagram, for example, used hashtags from day one and Facebook jumped on the bandwagon in 2013. And, since then, hashtags have been used far and wide by both normal Facebook users and business pages.
From grouping and organising content to starting global movements and raising awareness, they have become a very powerful tool on social media.
What are hashtags?
Before we delve into how hashtags work on Facebook, it’s first important to understand exactly what hashtags are. Essentially, they are keyword phrases preceded by a hash (#) which in North America is sometimes known as a pound sign.
They are used in the caption of a social media post and can be included at the beginning, middle or end of your post. To use a hashtag, you spell your word or phrase without any spaces to ensure the whole phrase is linked - for example, #usinghashtags.
If you scroll down your feed on any of the major social media platforms, you will have seen your fair share of posts featuring hashtags, especially if you follow any influencers or brand accounts.
Image source: TalkWalker
What are they used for?
The humble hashtag has many purposes and uses. One of the most popular is their use in helping people interested in a given topic find relevant posts when they search for a related word or hashtag.
Another use of hashtags is to help to draw attention to your post and to encourage interaction. A post that uses popular or trending hashtags is more likely to be found by other users.
They’re a great way of increasing your searchability. With so much noise generated online every single day and with reams of information to sift through, hashtags can help you tap into popular conversations and get you seen by your target audience.
Hashtags may also be used to inject some humour into your posts. But, remember, this will only work for some brands whose business voice and brand identity are suitable and whose audience will recognise the joke.
How do hashtags work on Facebook?
When using Facebook as a business, hashtags can be an essential tool to help you reach a wider audience with your posts and building brand awareness. On Facebook, hashtags turn words and phrases into clickable links on your Facebook page which can help with creating a seamless user journey.
As with any social media platform, there’s a particular way you should use hashtags to ensure you’re getting the most out of your social media posts.
For Facebook, in particular, it is important not to use too many hashtags. In fact, the optimum amount of hashtags you should use is only one or two hashtags per post. If you use any more, you risk appearing unprofessional on this particular platform.
Some users are even put off by hashtag-heavy posts. To prove this, Social Bakers examined the relationship between hashtags and Facebook post engagement:
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, even making that small jump from two to three hashtags can drastically reduce your engagement.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when using hashtags on Facebook:
A hashtag must be written as a single word without any spaces
You can include numbers in a hashtag, but punctuation and special characters - like $ and % - won't work
You can search for a hashtag using the Facebook search bar at the top of any page
You'll only see posts that were shared with you
How do they work for businesses?
Recently, hashtags have evolved to become more than just a bit of fun and instead can be used in social media campaigns. From raising brand awareness to announcing a new product launch, hashtags are a clever way to increase your reach. However, you need to use hashtags strategically in order for them to work.
While hashtags on Facebook aren’t as popular as on other social media platforms, they may still increase your chances of being found by its users.
By including just one hashtag in your post, you create opportunities for potential customers to find it, then go on to make other engagements with your brand. And that could be the start of a journey towards brand love.
Here are some tips...
Avoid littering your post with meaningless hashtags and instead only use them when they make sense. The best way is to use a hashtag to help people filter and find more conversations about the particular topic you’ve mentioned.
If you’re running a campaign, try choosing one specific hashtag that you can use for the duration of the campaign. This is great for consistency and will be more memorable for users.
And remember to use branded hashtags, especially if you’re looking to grow brand awareness online.
Should you still use Facebook hashtags in 2020?
You may be wondering whether hashtags still have a place on Facebook in 2020? Facebook hasn’t updated its guidelines for hashtag since around 2016, so using them is entirely up to you and your business.
For example, If you’re targeting an audience that actively uses hashtags, hashtags are still highly relevant for you and it will be beneficial to start using them on your page.
If you’re looking to open more doors for potential conversations with your target audience, hashtags may also be the ideal tool. With their conversational tone and ability to create a buzz around certain topics, your audience may feel more inclined to interact with you in the forms of likes, shares and comments.
So, for now, it is still very much worthwhile to use Facebook hashtags effectively in your social media marketing campaigns.
Are you looking to create a new social media campaign on Facebook or other social media channels? If so, get in touch with our team via [email protected] or give us a call on 08453 31 30 31. Our dedicated team of social media experts will help you put together an optimised campaign to help you achieve your specific business objectives.