By now most of us have probably seen the late night comedy sketch in which Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake have an entire conversation using only hashtags—turning every phrase into its own “trending topic,” and ultimately highlighting just how silly hashtag use can be. While overdoing it with hashtags can indeed be a source of frustration for your social media followers, the truth is that hashtags can also be wildly effective—especially for content marketing purposes.
Why You Should Use Facebook Hashtags
The hashtag is not just a Twitter thing any more; as the Fallon/Timberlake sketch suggests, these things are ubiquitous, and they have permeated nearly every aspect of our digital communication. This includes Facebook. If you haven’t already begun to use hashtags in your Facebook marketing efforts, now is the time—and here’s why:
- Hashtags will enable you to expand your reach. A few months back, Grammar Chic featured a blog post based on the hit TV show The Walking Dead; when we promoted the post on Twitter and other social media channels, we used hashtags that were related to the show, ensuring that the post was seen by Walking Dead fans who may not have known about Grammar Chic otherwise.
- You can amplify your brand, creating unique hashtags for different products and services, making it easy for people to find information on just those topics.
- You can ensure that your content reaches across many different social platforms—because after all, hashtags now work on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. When you cross-post to different channels, then, your hashtags will easily translate.
- You can also use hashtags to promote certain sales or events.
Tips for Using Facebook Hashtags
The reasons for implementing Facebook hashtags are many—but as you do so, you will want to keep a few quick tips in mind.
- You may wish to use hashtags for both your business page and your personal one, but note that, when doing the latter, a hashtag does not make the post suddenly public. You’ll still have your privacy settings in place.
- Hashtags must be one word, and capitalization does not really matter.
- There is no rule saying you have to use other people’s hashtags; you are free to make your own, in order to properly amplify your brand.
- With that said, it is important not to create hashtags that are too open-ended. There is a famous account of how McDonald’s created the hashtag “McDStories,” only to become inundated with stories of people who got food poisoning from McDonald’s. That’s probably not how they wanted that hashtag to be used.
- Make sure to research hashtags before using them, to ensure you are not co-opting a hashtag that is being otherwise used for purposes that are at odds with your own marketing vision.
How Many Hashtags Do You Need?
As for the question of how many hashtags you should be using per post—well, if you’ve hit the Fallon/Timberlake extreme, then you’re using too many hashtags! To be more precise, studies have shown that posts with one or two hashtags get more engagement than those with zero; however, once you get up to three or more hashtags, the engagement starts to drop. There is a nice middle ground here: Yes, you should hashtag, but you should do so judiciously.
The bottom line for companies that market themselves on Facebook—which really should be all of them, by now—is that hashtag use is a great way to give your posts more power.