Hashtags have originated on Twitter. The first hashtag ever was posted on the 23rd of August 2007 when Chris Messina, a Google UX designer, suggested using the hash or pound sign (#) for signalling Twitter groups. In a short time, people were using the hashtag to bring attention to tweets on a specific topic.
At the present, hashtags are also used on Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and, most recently, on Facebook™. To put things in perspective, while Twitter and Instagram are mature social media platforms when it comes to the hashtag, Facebook™ is still at the infancy level.
What does this mean? On the negative side, it means that there is no precise algorithm to calculate engagement and to establish a list of the most frequently used hashtags. This means that you are sailing in murky waters when you are searching for a hashtag to bring you more followers and create more engagement.
On a positive note, you have more creative freedom and, as an early adopter of the Facebook™ hashtag, you have sufficient time to experiment and learn from your own mistakes, and become an expert when hashtags become just as relevant on Facebook™ as they are on Twitter.
This being said, here are a few helpful tips to save you some trial and error experiments:
1. Do Not Go Overboard with the Hashtags
How many hashtags should you include in a post for maximum engagement? Two, five, seven? Various marketers were curious to see the results, so they shared a similar post with a different number of hashtags in it. The results are as follows:
- 1-2 hashtags – 593 interactions (likes, comments, shares)
- 3-5 hashtags – 416 interactions
- 6-10 hashtags – 307 interactions
- +10 hashtags – 188 interactions
As you can see, the number of interactions drops progressively as the number of hashtags increases. Thus, you should limit hashtag use to two per post.
2. Do Not Hashtag Just Anything
Imagine that each hashtag is like a keyword you want to rank for in Google. You usually want to rank for keywords which are relevant for your business and which people actually use when searching for something. If you are promoting an offer for blue shoes, what is the relevant word here to single out with a hashtag? The colour is not really relevant, because some people may be looking for blue shirts, or blue cars. “Shoes” is the critical word and this is the one which should receive a hashtag.
3. Promote Phrases as One Word
If you want to promote the phrase “stay fit and healthy”, adding a hashtag to each word separately will not bring you any results, because the hashtags will be treated as separate topics, not as a whole. The correct way of promoting the phrase with a Facebook™ hashtag is #StayFitAndHealthy. On a side note, the capitalization of the words is used simply for making them easier to read, because the hashtag algorithm does not distinguish between capitalised and non-capitalised words.
4. Create Your Unique Hashtag
Top brands have learned to impose their own unique hashtags which have become similar to social media logos for those companies. Even if Facebook™ has not yet reached the level of Twitter in branding with hashtags or creating conversations around them, you should already start researching and designing your own iconic hashtag and promoting it in your posts.
5. Signal Special Offers and Events with Hashtags
Just as major sports events, upcoming movies or famous musicians’ new albums are promoted with a specific hashtag, your own special offers, business events, contests, product launches, etc. should be promoted with a teaser hashtag which builds curiosity, expectation and engagement.
In time, this hashtag has the potential to become your own social media trademark and can help you build a solid and outreaching brand image.
Once again, Facebook™ is still in the early days of hashtag use. You may not get the kind of results that you notice on Twitter, but you should not give up. Whether Facebook™ hashtags become popular or not, it is better to become an expert just in case.