Hashtags on Facebook: how, when and why to use them

A thorny topic that of hashtags on Facebook . There are those who use them, those who do not use them at all and those who abuse them, but the truth, as we shall see, lies somewhere in between.

The idea of ​​talking about the use of hashtags on Facebook stems from my new #SpritzWithMe column, which you’ve probably seen on Facebook or Youtube. It is a series of videos, in which I analyze, at first glance, the Facebook pages of companies or individuals who apply.

Taking a look at several Facebook pages by now, I realized that, probably, the use of hashtags on Facebook, but not only, is not quite so clear.

First of all, let’s understand what hashtags are.

What are hashtags and what are they for

Let’s start with the first question.

Hashtags are words or word compositions preceded by a hash sign.

Wikipedia defines it as “thematic aggregators” and, honestly, I couldn’t have said it better. Hashtags identify a group of thoughts, topics, but their most interesting and perhaps even thorniest aspect is the fact that there are potentially infinite ones.

Each of us can create a new hashtag tomorrow, perhaps thinking of a new product to launch or a television program, an experience that we propose to live (#LikeaLocal) or even a sentiment (ex: #MaiNaGioia).

Fantasy has found bread for its teeth with these little words preceded by an asterisk.

Now we come to their function. We have said that they are thematic aggregators, this means that the topics of our interest will be easier to find. But if we change our point of view, we discover their second strong point: the possibility of being easily found by our potential customers and followers.

You already understand from this preamble, how useful and useless they can be at the same time, it all depends on how they are used and on what platform.

Hashtags are children of Twitter, born with the chirping bird, and then they were also adopted by Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc., even on TV, often the advertising of a product is associated with a hashtag.

The origin of the hashtag on Twitter

Twitter lent itself well, it was the right platform, based on words and with a limit of characters. Ideas had to be expressed clearly, but concisely.

This is where people confront each other and what better way to gather all the conversations about a given topic in one place? One click and everything that has been said about that topic is at your fingertips, already selected.

In addition, each user or company had the ability to create a hashtag that conveyed people to that specific interest.

Now that we have defined the main roles of hashtags, we can move on to see their role in the two main social networks: Facebook and Instagram.

How to use hashtags on Facebook

The hashtags on Facebook arrived in 2013 , but they immediately found themselves out of place. A Buzzsumo study showed that excessive use of hashtags in a Facebook post penalized its performance. In other words, engagement was lower in posts that featured hashtags, more than in those without.

But the real question you should ask yourself is: Have you ever searched for a hashtag on Facebook? Not me, perhaps only in exceptional cases, like during an event.

If you don’t, do you think others do? Difficult, but you just need to ask a few questions among your friends to be sure.

You may have already figured out where I want to go. Yes, just to the hashtag trains at the end of the post, which alas I keep seeing around.

Aside from the fact that inserting a too generic hashtag, such as #chocolate, could cause your post to get lost in the ether, concentrating a dozen at the end of a post won’t help.

Personally, I use hashtags on Facebook in those posts where I deal with topics that I hope will then be searched for and are easy to find (such as my column #SpritzWithMe , but nothing more.

How to use hashtags on Instagram

It’s a different story on instagram, here the aim is to be found, in 30 different ways. In fact, for each post it is possible, and recommended, to insert up to 30 hashtags , each of which will make your photo compete to reach the popular posts section.

Hashtags in Instagram stories

Hashtag su Instagram

From this year the hashtags have also arrived in the stories of Instagram , useful because our stories are also seen by people who do not yet follow us and can discover our profiles by peeking through the related stories from a particular hashtag.

Hashtags on the various social platforms

I conclude with this small summary table, which could help you clarify your ideas on the use of hashtags not only on Facebook, but also on different social networks.

Twitter Facebook Instagram Pinterest Linkedin
Hashtag Yes Yes but not too many. Yes, up to a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. Yes Yes
When to use them – To search for topics of our interest
– To be found more easily by users
– To participate in a debate
– For specific topics – To search for topics of our interest
– To be found more easily by users
– To find articles within the platform

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