Thank you for tuning in for Part Four in my series on hashtags and how to use them. In Part One, we discussed how to use hashtags in general. In Part Two, we focused on how hashtags work on Instagram. In Part Three, we discussed using hashtags on Twitter. In this final installment, we will discuss how to use hashtags on Facebook.
Facebook is a unique creature; using hashtags on Facebook is very different from how you use them on Instagram and Twitter. On Facebook, you want to approach hashtags from a less-is-more standpoint.
On Facebook, hashtags also function as your digital filing cabinet. However, you only want to use two hashtags in a post. If you use anymore than two hashtags in your post, Facebook’s algorithm may hide your post from the news feed.
Using two hashtags on Facebook sounds counter-intuitive. One may expect Facebook to embrace the use of multiple hashtags. Why is that you see better results with only two hashtags? Facebook’s algorithm likes to personalize its users’ experience. Providing a string of hashtags in a single post makes that more difficult.
For example, let’s talk about posting a recipe for a delicious chocolate cake. If you include hashtags, your hashtags may simply be #chocolatecake or # dessert. The first tag is much more specific while the second one is generic. Using the #chocolatecake tag, you don’t really need to drill down into the details of the cake with superfluous tags. Facebook’s algorithm will pick it up.
Earlier in the series, we discussed how you can share posts from Instagram and Twitter to Facebook. Within Instagram, you can share directly to Facebook or copy a link to a post. On Twitter, you may also copy a link and share. And there are tons of fun third-party apps that enable sharing between social platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite, and IFTTT for example. I use IFTTT and Buffer regularly.
But what if you have a string of hashtags on your Instagram post that you don’t want to carry over to Facebook? This can happen when you are using a third party app or sharing to Facebook natively from within Instagram. There are two ways to work around this. One way is to only use up to two tags in your post and place the remainder of your hashtags in the comment of your post. The other workaround is to post your image, and then share it to Facebook. Once you have shared your post, you can then edit the post with your tags after the fact. Doing this won’t work with a scheduled post, but if you are posting it in real-time, it should work just fine.
Your privacy settings on Facebook will also determine your hashtag’s reach. Your hashtag will have limited reach in the following instances:
- If you are posting on your personal profile and your post or profile settings have privacy controls enabled,
- if you are posting in a group that is closed or secret, or
- if you are posting in a private event.
In these instances, your use of the hashtag will be limited to those who are approved to see your content. If your use of hashtags is for business purposes, then you will be most likely utilizing a business page which is public. When hashtags are featured on a business page, they will be eligible to come up in search or included in trending topics.
Now that you know how to use hashtags on Facebook, the real question is do you need them? I find that I get very little return for the use of hashtags on Facebook. Unlike Instagram and Twitter, Facebook doesn’t yield the same result. Because I notice that my posts with hashtags on Facebook tend to see less reach, I limit my use of tags unless it has a very specific, targeted use.
Therefore, I recommend that you experiment with using hashtags on Facebook. See what your results are. Test posts with similar content with and without including a hashtag and measure the results. Do your posts perform better with or without them? Testing is the only way to know a for certain what is best for your business’s audience.
To your great success!
Jennifer Quisenberry is a Social Influencer, author and blogger. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and two dogs.