Blog > How to Get The Most Out of Facebook Hashtags
Posted By Create
Depending on how ahead of the curve you and your Facebook friends are, you may or may not have noticed the proliferation of #hashtags on Facebook recently. Yes, Facebook has caught up with Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram and it's finally announced support for searchable hashtags in Facebook posts.
Here I'll be looking at what hashtags are, how they could be helping your business and how a little experiment by Create showed how useful they can be.
What's A Hashtag?
This little symbol here # is called a 'hash', and it's been used for a considerable amount of time by social networkers, especially on Twitter, to make it easier for their posts to be found and their links to be clicked.
The principle is simple. When you write a post, you add a 'hash' symbol and a oneword 'tag' after it that's relevant to the content you're posting. (For example, a post with a link to a dog-walking website might use #dogwalking and #dogs as hashtags.)
Then, when people browse social media for that topic, they'll search for a particular hashtag (e.g. "#dogwalking") in order to make the search results more relevant and to get links and information that's valuable to them. Hashtags also make it easier for people to assess what's 'trending' based on the amount a hashtag is being used.
These have been commonplace in Twitter posts for a long time, but only very recently has Facebook allowed hashtags to work and to be searchable on its network.
What is the best way to use them?
Thanks to a history of sweeping, and at times poorly-communicated changes, social media users are naturally suspicious when a Facebook update hits the newsstands. This is understandable, as recently announced changes such as the introduction of sponsored posts and message charges have undeniably been all about putting money in the pockets of their new investors, no matter which way Facebook try to spin it.
You can see from a couple of the comments on Create's post about Facebook hashtags below that some users are hesitant to embrace changes to Facebook based on previous form, but it's also interesting to see people asking questions about hashtags and wanting to know more. Both stances are completely understandable, but it's important to remember how beneficial to Twitter users these little tags became when they were first introduced.
If you sell through Facebook (perhaps using Create's Facebook Shop feature!), adding relevant hashtags like #christmas, #fathersday or #quirkygifts to your posts, pictures and videos on Facebook can go some considerable way to better target your audience and improve your reach.
Just think, as long as your posts are public (and if you're managing a business page, they should be) and you've included the hashtag, absolutely anyone in the world searching for '#quirkygifts' will see your latest post about your brand new line of inflatable toffee hammers in the resulting search feed!
But it isn't enough to just tell you that Facebook hashtags work and let that be that, so we donned our social media labcoats and performed a little experiment on Create's Facebook page...
A Little Hashtag Experiment
To see for ourselves the effect hashtags make on an average Facebook post, we performed an admittedly slightly-less-than-scientific experiment: we posted a pretty pointless post with nothing of interest within it apart from a whole bunch of popular and often-searched hashtags.
Even though this post in itself contained nothing of value, it was seen by about 50% more people than an average post from Create. As we've said before, this isn't an exact science, but in does goes some way in convincing us that hashtags aren't just a new Facebook fad but a device that, whether used well with relevant tags or used en masse with zero relevance, has an effect on the number of people seeing your Facebook posts.
So next time you're composing a Facebook post promoting your #sale or announcing a new line of #makeup, take a look through the text. Could you add a hash symbol to a few words to make them into hashtags? Or could you fit a few on the end to improve the post's view rate? Go experiment for yourself and let us know how you get on!
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