The MAJOR Issue With Facebook Hashtags: Explained #Facebook
Facebook hashtags ushered in a new era for marketers and businesses on the social network, and expectations were raised for future results. The only problem is – the results are not happening. In fact, Facebook hashtagging can actually REDUCE the engagement on your posts! What alternative world is this? Today, I tell you why.
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Facebook Hashtags Are Making Your Posts LESS Engaging!
In a shocking, though quietly expected announcement recently, popular Facebook blogger Chad Wittman over at Edgerankchecker told the world the truth about these hashtag invaders. It caused a ripple of outrage and delight across the blogosphere.
• Facebook hashtags were meant to improve the engagement of posts that they were applied to. Facebook certainly intended them to do that – promises were made!
“To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.”
• According to Edgerankchecker posts with no hashtags have more viral reach than posts that contain carefully selected hashtags!
To make things worse, Facebook hashtags actually have a little less reach than the average non-hashtagged post. It’s not great news for Facebook or for brands.
The results after extensive testing, were indeed that Facebook hashtags do not have any kind of impact on organic reach at all. None. You might as well have been using a plastic stamp on your computer screen, for all the good it did.
What Is Wrong With The Facebook Hashtag System?
I’m not going to be like the 20 million other bloggers out there that are climbing onto the ‘we hate Facebook’ bandwagon. Instead I’ve figured out why Facebook hashtags don’t work, and how they CAN work if Facebook dials back the privacy agenda.
• Unlike Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram hashtags, the ones used on Facebook are only seen by people in your specific (and extremely limited) network. Your friends, friends of friends, businesses and pages – they see your hashtag.
This is the opposite of what a normal hashtag does, which is take your private post and deliver it to a public network for more exposure, increased engagement and community building. Facebook hashtags can help you find new fans, but they need to be connected to you somehow. Otherwise you are invisible to them.
Reading Between The Lines: The Facebook Team
I have to believe that the Facebook team knew that this would happen. That for some reason, they are publically ‘testing’ hashtags on closed networks, to see if they could be used for public promotion and indeed – their future advertising plans.
I have never known the Facebook team to launch an element like this that does nothing. Perhaps we are all sitting and waiting for a rollout that was delayed, or a service that has not been implemented just yet. Then again, perhaps Facebook didn’t intend hashtags to be used by marketers – maybe personal discussions were the target.
In the meantime, dial back your Facebook hashtags. Chances are that you are misusing them and THAT is why so many people are avoiding them altogether. Proper usage is key. If you have been posting the 3 maximum, then stop for now. We’ll wait until Facebook solves the problem!
What do you think of the Facebook hashtag debacle and how useless they are for brand and business pages? Your opinion counts.
About John SouzaJohn 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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