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July 06, 2015

Should You Use Hashtags on Facebook?

Digital Strategy

This is a question that our clients often ask us, and also a question that we regularly ask ourselves. To get as definitive an answer as possible, we have decided to dig deeper and get to the core of this subject. Our initial research quickly revealed that the answer is generally negative, and suggests that hashtags should not be used on Facebook. Was this a surprise? Well, not really, given that we still see few people use hashtags on Facebook. An explanation for that often comes up for the lack of hashtags is that Facebook is a network that is much more “closed” when compared to Twitter or Instagram, and seeking out hashtags is not yet part of users’ habits. We must also add that the content of Facebook very rarely appears in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). To verify that what we read was correct, we performed some additional research and tested hashtags on Facebook by searching for the hashtag #SocialMediaMarketing:

 : Brands Up Social Media Marketing Hashtag

The results were surprising: there are in fact more than FIGURE posts that standout with this hashtag. Would webmarketings have a higher tendency towards using hashtags than mainstream users? We tried with another hashtag to check. We tried with #fashion and once again, discovered a huge number of results. Lastly, we tried with #StreetArt and saw the same result:

 Brands Up Social Media Marketing Street Art Hashtag Facebook

For businesses, the use of hashtags on Facebook offers advantages, but also inconveniences: 

Advantages

  1. Uses who find your content via hashtags will generally be interested in engaging with your content;
  2. They are useful for measuring the scope of your own hashtags #YourBrand;
  3. They are useful for adding a touch of humour to your posts #TrueStory.

Inconveniences

  1. Hashtags on Facebook are not as effective as they are on Twitter or Instagram;
  2. There can be negative consequences when used too much (spam);
  3. They can give the image of a businesses that is desperate in their search for attention.

Conclusion

We believe that in the end, the use of hashtags on Facebook comes down to your own strategic choice. Most articles dealing with this subject, such as PostPlanner, have no bias. However, it is still possible to find a lot of content by using hashtags on Facebook. Also, it is worth considering that we believe it is entirely possible that Facebook is changing by making publications "public". This way, posts will be more visible on the SERPs of Google in the coming years, and therefore the research into hashtags on Facebook will become more and more common.

If you want to use hashtags, do it well with these tips:

  1. Only use letters and numbers. Do not use special characters, for example #brandsup2015, not #brandsup2015!
  2. Add the hashtags to the end of your post
  3. Use just 1-2 hashtags maximum, avoid hashtag spam at all costs
  4. Choose hashtags that are relevants to readers of your post
  5. Choose hashtags that are both easy to remember and not too long
  6. Visit websites such as Hashtagify.me to find the hashtags that are trending