I’ll probably get lots of flack for this article, but that’s okay. If you love sprinkling #hashtags in your Facebook posts – or if you envy those who do – think again. Hashtags on Facebook do more harm than good.
To be fair, hashtags have rightfully earned their place on sites like Twitter and Instagram. Most often, they’re used to mark keywords and make your content more findable. (Because Twitter and Instagram users often search for specific content, hashtags make sense.) For instance, the tweet below can be found by those searching for social media tips, thanks to the #socialmedia and #SMM hashtags:
Hashtags can also increase engagement, i.e., the number of likes, comments, and shares/retweets. On Twitter, the ideal number of hashtags is 2. On Instagram, it’s 11+. (That’s right – eleven or more.)
What about Facebook? According to EdgeRank Checker, the ideal number of hashtags on Facebook is 0. (That’s right – zero, goose egg, zilch.) In other words, people are more likely to like, comment, and share your posts when you don’t have a hashtag at all!
Why? Here’s my theory. For most of us born before 1990, hashtags seem odd. Who #talks like this? #RhetoricalQuestion. On Facebook – where more than half of Facebook users are 35 and older – posts are traditionally written in what I like to call “normal English.” No #hashtags. No @usernames. Just good ol’ fashioned words with the punctuation and spelling we learned in grade school with quill pens and papyrus. Or at least we try to write that way. It’s part of the Facebook culture.
So when you’re plopping hashtags into a Facebook post, you may look hip and relevant, but you’re also erecting a wall between yourself and many Facebook users. The whole point of social media is to be social. Respecting social norms is key.
Besides, do you really need hashtags to mark keywords on Facebook? Very few people use Facebook to research specific newsworthy or educational content. They’re not looking for tips on #socialmedia or #SMM. They’re not gathering the latest news on #science, #technology, or #politics. Instead, they’re researching the personal lives of their coworkers, ex-boyfriends, old high school frenemies, and other potential stalking prey. It’s one of the scariest and most fun features of Facebook. No hashtags are needed.
That said, things change quickly on social media, and hashtags might earn a rightful place on Facebook before you know it. And you may want to test hashtags yourself and share what you find.
Finally, I will acknowledge a couple hashtags –#GivingTuesday and #ThrowbackThursday – that have gained greater acceptance on Facebook. But they might produce higher engagement when written as “Giving Tuesday” and “Throwback Thursday.” It’s worth a try!
On this #GivingTuesday, I hope I’ve given you some great #advice about #hashtags on #Facebook. #EmailorcallmewithyourthoughtsasIwouldlovetohearfromyou