In July 2020, Facebook started to push the use of hashtags in posts. In fact, Facebook sent out notifications to business owners saying that you can increase your organic reach by including popular hashtags in the copy of your posts. The notification looked like the one below:
On platforms like Instagram and Twitter, hashtags have always seemed to be relevant and have a significant impact on the discoverability and reach of your content. However, for Facebook, there has been a sense of confusion about how businesses should actually use hashtags in their posts.
Let’s look further at Facebook’s hashtag feed pages, how hashtags on Facebook work, and how to get more reach from your posts.
Why You Should Use Hashtags for Your Business
Some people are still a bit confused about how hashtags are useful for promoting your business on Facebook. Let’s take a look at an example of using hashtags to improve organic reach and help people discover your business.
Say you own a local steakhouse restaurant in Patchogue, NY. Someone is visiting the area, and they don’t want to spend much time searching for a particular type of restaurant. While browsing Facebook, they can go to the search bar and type #SteakHouse and filter the location to Patchogue. Then, the user will only see results from local steakhouse restaurants that used that hashtag. So, if you are a steakhouse in Patchogue and you included this hashtag in your posts, you could have a new customer. As we can see, hashtags are a fast, efficient way for people to find your business!
How Do Hashtags Increase Organic Reach?
Facebook has developed specific hashtag feed pages for users to view all posts with an included hashtag. For example, if you want to view posts related to social media. In that case, you can type in #SocialMedia in the search bar, and you’ll see a feed with the latest posts that include the hashtag and the number of people posting about this. Below we’ve shared the current view of this page after performing the search.
Here we can see this is a popular hashtag with 1.7 million people or businesses who have included this hashtag in their posts. As a general rule of thumb, this would be a fantastic hashtag to include in posts related to social media or social media news. In this example, including the hashtag will help increase your organic reach because it takes up more real estate. People searching for this hashtag can view posts on the hashtag feed page where your post will be included.
How Effective Are Hashtags on a Facebook Post to Increase Organic Reach?
So, how effective is a hashtag? As hashtag feeds are a fairly new feature, time will tell how much including hashtags can help increase your post reach. This will depend on how often users view specific feeds for hashtags.
However, even with Facebook having substantial year-over-year increases in MAUs (monthly active users), organic reach has been declining since 2012. So, if there is any method to help increase organic reach for your Facebook posts, you should be taking advantage of it! Even if there is only a small improvement, it is worth the small effort it takes to include hashtags.
How To Use Hashtags on Facebook: Getting Started
To start, you can use the discovery feature to find relevant hashtags to use in your posts. To do this, simply start typing in the search bar. If you have used the feature on Instagram, it works in the same way.
Here is an example of relevant hashtags related to #DigitalMarketing we can use.
Another option is using the suggestions given right within a Facebook post as you are writing it. When writing the post, start typing a relevant hashtag, and Facebook will automatically generate useful hashtags related to the one you are typing.
Here is an example for one of our latest posts about a Twitter update where Facebook recommends using #TwitterNews and #TwitterChanges which we applied to this post.
As a best practice, use post spacing in your posts to separate hashtags from the main text copy. This helps to separate the main text you want everyone to read from the hashtags you are using to show up in the hashtag feeds.
For this, you can use three or four periods to separate the text, and it will display in a much more user-friendly and easily digestible format. As a result, the hashtags will only be revealed when someone clicks on the “…see more” like our post below.
Regarding choosing the correct hashtags to use, we recommend performing the research mentioned above and using 3 to 6 key hashtags. Additionally, as Mari Smith suggests, “use a mix of wildly popular hashtags in the millions along with some in the 100k’s and some very niche ones.”
Contact Efferent Media for a Complete Social Media Strategy
Whether you’re looking to increase organic reach with hashtags, enhance your overall content strategy, increase brand awareness, or start advertising and generating leads, the marketing professionals at Efferent Media can help. Our social media experts can help your business stand out on major and emerging social media platforms and showcase your business to a refined target audience. To get started, feel free to book a meeting or give us a call at (631) 867-0900.