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#Hashtags: Necessary or Unnecessary with Regards to Facebook

Questions pertinent to hashtags are most in circulation among the social media marketers especially among the people who are just starting out. And it is only natural. Hashtags can be complex because these are not words used within a sentence. These act as topic matches which aid in improving the process of discovery. Some social marketers try to tag every word because they think that in this way the content will come up in increased number of conversations. But this logic is absolutely flawed. For the optimal performance of hashtags, exhaustive research is required. One needs to know which hashtag is most appropriate for the business and which one is most expectedly going to connect with persons eager for a discussion related to the tagged topic.

Hashtags on Facebook

This is just the initial stages of your understanding about hashtags. It is used on a variety of platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and others but questions always pop up regarding its use on Facebook. This hullabaloo around hashtag on Facebook is because it is active on this platform. As a social media platform, Facebook has indeed tried to integrate hashtag as part of their exploration and discovery procedure.

So, the most important question is should hashtag be used on the Facebook posts? Will these provide with more reach or not?

If we go back into the history a bit, Facebook launched hashtag in the year 2013 and this was done precisely to counter their growing usage and application on the other platforms, especially Twitter. In those days Facebook was actually eager to increase its use on the platform and it also pushed the advertisers in particular on the platform to use hashtags.

At the time when hashtag was introduced, Facebook was contemplating about opening up the platform in order to make everything more searchable and to link everyone on the basis of the data available with the platform.But the users were not comfortable with this idea. So Facebook remains a more private network. It focuses on hosting discussions among the immediate connections only. This is a significant consideration while looking at the efficacy of hashtags on the social network.

There are many exhaustive posts, recommendations and data on the use of hashtag and the one by Buffer’s blogger extraordinaire Kevan Lee concludes that Facebook posts minus a hashtag does better than those with a hashtag. On the other hand, Socialbakers concludes that usage of more hashtags leads to much lower engagement on Facebook. People have misused hashtags hugely and have added these to every word of their post. This has indeed made the updates tougher to read and this, in turn, has declined the engagement.

But if we leave all these recommendations aside and view the hashtags practically then we will understand that these indeed have a specific purpose on the platform. Presently, Facebook is enabling in excess of 1.5 billion searches on the platform each day. So, with so much of search activity there is an adequate scope that when people need constructive information they are actually clicking on hashtags and viewing whatever is available. Facebook is built in a way that can accommodate the use of hashtags.

In a post on Post Planner, Franscisco Rosales of Social Mouths came up with an apt summary of the effectiveness of the use of hashtags on Facebook. According to Rosales hashtags can be beneficial in very specific cases like for an event or a promotion but with the backing of various other media. But he is unsure if it will be effective with the regular content.

Now, if a hashtag is already broadly associated with the topic, then it can certainly help improve your reach on Facebook by connecting up with that conversation. ‘Trending News’ section is a good example of this on Facebook.

Then again, if you are wanting to push a brand hashtag, it might aid to cause more consciousness of your tag if you utilize it in association with your Facebook posts. But remember the essential rules:

  • Never use more than two tags per post
  • Constantly test and watch your analytics

You can do your own tests with hashtags and after experiencing the results you can take your own decision about using it or not using it.

Author: Soumya Banerjee

Soumya Banerjee is the General Manager of Sketch Web Solutions, a mobile & web development company based in India. He has been adeptly handling this role for over five years now and has advised his professionals on many advanced and complicated IT projects. You can follow Mr. Banerjee on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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