The return of hashtags on Facebook

Even though Facebook launched hashtags in 2013 they never really took off in the same way Twitter did. Even though they was a time when hashtag popularity dropped off it’s now back with a vengeance and to ignore it would could mean missing a huge opportunity for your brand and your business. So what proof do we have that hashtags will actively improve the reach of your post? Put simply, Facebook told us so.

In addition to hashtags being a great way to tell a story (and for your audience to follow that story) they are now an active way to expand your brand on social media, and a new string on your strategy bow.

So let’s re-hash some of the basics: There are myriad categories of hashtags you can use on this platform but let’s focus on the two most prevalent used and the most successful for expanding your business: trending and niche.

Trending (shouldn’t need an explanation but we’ll give it anyway ?) are hashtags that are being currently used particularly as part of a popular or prescient issue/product, check out Lululemons #thesweatlife as a great example. Other brands are using trending hashtags to capitalise on that popularity or to start their own conversation on Facebook.

Niche, is about YOU and your brand, these are great as you have fewer posts to contend with and are more likely to target your audience base. This needs to form part of your storytelling strategy but it gives you flexibility (unlikely the changing landscape of trending hashtags) to control the narrative of your brand.

More importantly what ties these two hashtags together, and what needs to become your best (and a habitual) asset, is regular research and intuition of when to apply these hashtags to your content. This may take a little time (investment) in determining what works for your content and your brand. Start that habit now as it can take some time to add it organically into your strategy. Also don’t forget on Facebook you can use the ‘Search’ function to see what hashtags are being used and by whom.

What’s pretty cool on Facebook though is they are testing “Create Posts,” to encourage the audience to add to the story, this means if you see a hashtag on a post, Facebook will offer you a challenge to create your own post using that hashtag. They’re also testing a “Browse’ button, whereby you can follow that specific hashtag down the rabbit hole to see where it takes you.

All this makes for interesting hashtag times on Facebook for your brand and it’s important to capitalise on this and start NOW (even to just try different hashtags) to see what tangible difference it makes to your post reach.