3 Reasons Why Facebook Hashtags DO Actually Work #Facebook

By on October 10, 2013
Facebook hashtags

Facebook hashtags have been in the news recently, with thousands of bloggers chatting over the fact that these hashtags have not improved engagement at all on the social network. Today I am going to tell you why I believe people should continue to use these hashtags, and why they do add value to your page.

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A Facebook Debacle Recap Explained

Facebook hashtags were announced this year in June, and by September the hashtag dream was already falling to pieces. Based on what I ask? Mostly based on a post done by Edgerankchecker.com that proved Facebook hashtags do nothing to aid in exposure for your business. Well, I have something to say about that.

#1: The Faulty Results Conundrum

I’m not saying that Edgerankchecker was wrong, only that their research was limited to 35,000 updates, involving 500 pages. They told the blogosphere that posts without hashtags actually get more viral reach than posts that use hashtags. This is perfectly legit, except for these lingering thoughts.

  • Is 3-4 months really enough time to test for widespread adoption?
  • Facebook fans notoriously hate hashtags
  • Facebook hashtags don’t work like other hashtags which confuses people

After using hashtags myself for a few months now, I have to say that I have seen virality increase in the posts that’s use specific hashtags. It depends on your community!

TIP! Educating your Facebook community about your hashtags does wonders! I suggest using branded mini-infographics to get more users to click and explore.

#2: The Viral Effect of Edgerankchecker.com

Facebook hashtags were already fighting against a resistant Facebook user-base that did not like hashtagging. This was mainly because the only thing Facebook users understood about hashtags is that they turn good content into nonsensical drivel. Once the blog post went viral, it made things worse.

  • Social media managers searching for content online were discouraged to use hashtags, based on a limited study
  • The average Facebook user’s perception of hashtags was confirmed, so they dismissed them altogether, thereby contributing to the ‘rejection’ of the indexing tool
  • Strategists suddenly had to justify why hashtags were even relevant on Facebook

Altogether, this did not bode well for Facebook hashtags. Facebook users hated them, and now 99% of all the bloggers in the world hated them. Those poor little guys!

Facebook hashtags

Courtesy of mashable.com

#3: Most Facebook Page Owners Do Not Use Analytics

Don’t quote me on that, but based on personal experience I can tell you that most small business owners that have Facebook business pages, don’t use analytics at all. Some of them may skim over it, or even try to use it – but not like social media managers are trained to do. Why does this matter?

  • It turned that viral blog into the truth for them, forever!
  • Many small business social managers will not benefit from Facebook hashtags now, even though they very well could

The Verdict on Facebook Hashtags

Imagine my surprise when several Facebook hashtags started generating increased rates of engagement on some client pages! As it turns out, they really do promote discussion. I have seen more likes, comments and click-throughs to blogs with some of these hashtags.

I guess it comes down to the content that you post, and if it really attracts people. The hashtags that you use and pages that you follow also matter, of course.

I say, continue using Facebook hashtags in a strategic manner. Mari Smith is still doing it, so surely there must be value there, right? What do you think?

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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