Today’s Tip Tuesday is part two of a four-part series on hashtags. Last week, we talked about using hashtags on Instagram. This week we’re covering the ins and outs of Facebook hashtags. But first, let’s recap!
In a nutshell: hashtags help you find what you’re looking for on the internet. Though their use is easy to mock, hashtags are not to be underestimated. These are powerful tools that, if used correctly, will help you connect to and engage with your target audience.
While using hashtags on Instagram is necessary and encouraged for businesses, the use of hashtags on Facebook needs to be far more strategic and nuanced. According to Sprout Social, using one hashtag per Facebook post is best practice, with two being the highest number per post you’d want to use. After that, engagement dramatically drops off, and posts become seen as spammy content (and nobody wins):
The generally negative perception of hashtags on Facebook creates an interesting challenge for marketers, but it is not altogether insurmountable. While people rarely use them on Facebook and often find them distasteful, hashtags can still be an effective tool on the platform when used in moderation- it just requires some creative thinking on your part.
To get your creative juices flowing in the right direction, you have to consider how your target audience would search for and interact with your hashtags. You have to consider how you can use them to create buzz around your desired topic, rather than adding them to a post and hoping someone will stumble across your page. There are three key categories of hashtags that will generate interest on Facebook: Brand-Specific, Event-Specific, and Community-Specific.
1. Brand-Specific Tags
You can use brand-specific tags to link your posts to your brand at large. By creating your own branded hashtags, you are creating a way for users to tag your brand in their content and a way to establish a consistent cross-channel tagging strategy. These will keep the conversation going across users, social channels, and even traditional marketing platforms.
One example of an effective Brand-Specific, cross-channel hashtag strategy is #TeamAdidas. This branded tag found its way across billboards, television commercials, and social media. It also creates an easy way for users to showcase their involvement with the brand:
2. Event-Specific Tags
Event-specific tags can be used to create and track conversation around an event of any kind. Think wedding hashtags, television show hashtags, and more. This is a place to really get creative and generate buy-in from your audience, because the more people are talking about your event, the more buzz you’re creating!
A good example of a buzz-worthy event with a highly engaged hashtag is Social Media Marketing World. Each year this conference takes place in San Diego and draws in thousands of social media marketing professionals from around the world- exactly the type of audience that will gladly engage with your hashtag, creating tons of wonderful user-generated content (UGC). #SMMW18 created a conversation around this huge event that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible with this many attendees, which added value to the event as a whole:
3. Community-Specific Tags
For local small businesses and organizations, it’s important to connect with your community on social media as well as you do in real life. This is where community-specific tags come in. Even though these are far more prevalent on Instagram, local tags still have a place on Facebook if (and only if) they are used strategically.
By searching the tag “#Bakersfield” you’ll find results for local users and businesses. By tagging within your local community, you’re engaging in a larger conversation and you’re able to listen to what your neighbors (and potential customers!) are talking about:
So, you’ve done the bulk of the work: you’ve chosen your brand-, event-, and community-specific tags. Now what?
You have to ensure that these tags fit into your overall social media strategy. While adding your tags to your posts is a great final step, you’ve got a bit of legwork to do to bring your strategy as a whole up to snuff. This is where Facebook differs drastically from Instagram. On Instagram, you can add all your tags in at the end of your caption, or in the first comment below, and no one will bat an eye. On Facebook, though, you have to ensure that your tag is intentional and strategic because it’s your one and only shot in that post (unless you post that second tag every once in a while).
I’m a huge proponent of adding your #relevant hashtag directly into a sentence in your description. It maintains the flow of your caption and ensures that your hashtag is highly relevant to your subject matter:
I also believe in using hashtags sparingly. You don’t need to tag every single post on Facebook as you do on Instagram. To help sear this concept into your memory, I wrote a beautiful, deep, emotionally compelling poem:
Lastly, you have to keep track of your posts to see if your new hashtag strategy is helping or hurting your posts. It’s okay to fail, especially when you’re trying something new on social media. I’ve tried plenty of strategies that I was sure would take off, just to have them fizzle and fail. You have to be willing to accept whatever your data tells you and adjust accordingly.
The last thing you want is to turn people off with your posts. So, if your hashtags aren’t working, scrap ‘em. Start over. Think of something new. It’s okay to try, but the sooner you can determine the vitality of your hashtag strategy, the sooner you can alter course if necessary. So, test, track, try again.