Facebook introduced hashtags nearly a decade ago, but are they still relevant today? Can you get more visibility or reach the right people using hashtags on Facebook?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Facebook #tags were all the craze on Facebook when introduced in 2013. Can you still recall posts that were followed by a long string of somewhat relevant hashtags that followed the message?
Over time, Facebook hashtag usage dwindled and they went nearly out of use. Now, though, Facebook is reviving this useful tool.
In September 2020, Facebook started to recommend hashtags to add to your posts via a drop-down menu similar to how hashtag recommendations work on other channels. In parallel, the platform also began notifying users that using hashtags on Facebook can boost organic reach, and therefore improve Facebook SEO.
Facebook announced that it reemphasized hashtags as a way of bringing conversations about public events, people, and topics to the forefront. The world’s largest social network took into account the amount of buzz people tend to generate around popular television shows, sport games, and breaking events.
“During primetime television alone, there are between 88 and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook – roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night,” Greg Lindley stated, when announcing the new feature in the official blog post.
To date, there has not been a more convenient or organized way to monitor events or discussions on Facebook on a grand scale. But now, the roll out of hashtags should help people participate in public conversations they are interested in.
How do Facebook hashtags work?
The hashtags work on personal profile posts, fan page posts, group posts, event posts, and all comments.
On any Facebook post, you can click on the hashtag to get redirected to its feed. Note that every hashtag on Facebook has its own unique URL.
How to create a hashtag on Facebook
In order to create a hashtag on Facebook, simply start typing the first hashtag that’s relevant to your post. Facebook will recognize the hashtag and recommend related and trending Facebook hashtags to use. Add any of the relevant hashtags Facebook is recommending to the post.
How many hashtags to use on Facebook
Use roughly two to three hashtags on your Facebook post, but test it over time to see what works best for your specific page. Don’t overdo it – you don’t want your post to look like a wall of hashtags; you want to let your copy shine.
How to search hashtags on Facebook
The simplest way is to search for a specific hashtag from your search bar, for example, #NBAFinals or you can type facebook.com/hashtag/example into your browser.
10 #hashtag tips to follow
Marketers are already using hashtags to reach the right audiences on Facebook. You can actually use the Facebook hashtag search itself to find some great tips and ideas under #hashtagtips including:
Try starting a hashtag challenge. This allows Facebook users to instantly create a post with the hashtag you’re using for the challenge, and can generate good engagement for your chosen hashtag.
Each hashtag on Facebook has its own unique URL with a status update box at the top. If you’re running a campaign with a specific hashtag, you can drive traffic to that URL from other sites to spark more conversation. Alternatively, you can use the URL to source user-generated content or even feed it to your website.
Use #hashtags to start a conversation with a group. Every word you make into a hashtag will be grouped into its own status update box!
Think about your industry and target market, and the types of hashtags you use on other social networks. Also, follow the most popular US Facebook pages to learn how they are using hashtags. This research could lead to valuable hashtags outside of just those that you already know or that Facebook suggests to you.
Create and save hashtag groups for future use. Cluster them by product, campaign, or topic so that you can quickly pull them up whenever needed.
Use tags in trending topics related to your industry. Be strategic about the hashtags you use.
Capitalize the #FirstLetterInEachWord of your hashtag to make it more readable and to avoid possible confusion.
Don't overdo your post with hashtags. 2-3 is plenty.
Audit your best posts and add hashtags to them; this may give them additional visibility.
Search what hashtags influencers use and add them to your list. You can easily do this using our influencer platform.
What about hashtag privacy?
You control who sees your posts, including those with hashtags. Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith summed up all the hashtag-related privacy settings as follows:
As with all personal profile features on Facebook, privacy settings prevail.
If you publish a post on your profile to friends only, and the post contains a hashtag, the hashtag will be clickable and open up to display all other posts on Facebook containing that hashtag.
But, ONLY friends can see friends-only posts that show up in hashtag searches.
Public posts – with or without hashtags – are public.
Private (friends-only) posts – with or without hashtags – are just that: private and visible to friends only.
Even when friends include hashtags in comments on your friends-only thread, your post is still private and visible just to your friends.
With hashtags shared in private groups, that clickable hashtag will open to show public posts with that tag (along with any friends’ posts with that tag), but posts from the private group are only available to group members.
Individual comments on threads do not surface in hashtag searches.
The next step to using hashtags effectively
As the famous quote by Peter Drucker goes “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” If you want to make the best use of Facebook hashtags you have to understand the impact they have on your posts.
Using our platform you can easily see the engagement trends of all your posts making it simple to compare posts with different hashtags. In addition, you can track hashtags on Facebook you use using our listening platform, which even lets you see the sentiment trends behind the conversations they generate.
If you’re serious about your hashtags getting traction, get a personalized demo of our full social media marketing solution.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.