With more than 80 million small businesses using Facebook pages working to get their business noticed, the question in mind is: “How can hashtags on Facebook help them reach a larger audience?” Hashtags are unique keywords that make content more discoverable on social media platforms. They are curation tools that turn topics into clickable links that take you to other posts or images under the same topic.
When Facebook launched hashtags in 2013, it wasn’t met with so much enthusiasm. In fact, a study showed that hashtagged posts performed more poorly than untagged ones. The advice of Facebook for marketers on how they work and what to do with them weren’t exactly laid out in a playbook. Even during their 2016 update, Facebook still did not update their own hashtag use guidelines. However, this year, Facebook is changing its tune. It is now encouraging users to use hashtags to improve reach. Facebook even sent out notifications to its users and has a dedicated page to explain: “How do I use hashtags on Facebook?”
Why hashtags should be part of your brand’s social media strategy:
Businesses should always be on the lookout for the latest trends and what their audience is currently interested in. This is why social listening is important. Hashtags make social listening possible by letting brands know which terms are trending and what their followers are excited about.
As part of Facebook’s push for the use of hashtags, they have made it easier for users to discover the latest trending hashtags just by typing “#” plus the term in the search bar. Facebook will also show additional hashtags and make similar hashtag suggestions.
If you use hashtags correctly, you can increase the visibility and reach of your post by making your posts searchable under a category. It also makes your posts more interactive as works much like following a link or providing a call to action. A good example of an interactive hashtag is the #supportlocal where the audience is called to support local businesses and also categorises your business as a local business so that it can easily be searchable.
Businesses that use third party social management platforms as part of social media marketing may have limits on how many hashtags they can use across their social media accounts. While there is currently no limit to the number of hashtags you can add to a Facebook post, social media experts agree that too many hashtags decrease engagement and will not help you get more likes or followers. It is best to use them sparingly and mindfully. Think “less is more” when it comes to the use of hashtags. Relevance and quality is more important than quantity.
Hashtags can be used as an analytics tool to help you track how your business is performing with regard to social media engagement. The end goal is to become more searchable on Facebook. Now that the number of online businesses are growing everyday, it is important to get your brand noticed. Businesses should grab any and every opportunity to get discovered and hashtags provide that opportunity for your businesses to reach a broader audience.