It’s been a while since Facebook rolled out hashtags and it might surprise you to know that they have absolutely no effect on the newsfeed and are a big waste of time, at least for now, if you are trying to reach consumers. Last week EdgeRank Checker published results from a study where they evaluated the effectiveness of Facebook hashtags. They found that page posts with hashtags actually had less viral reach, less median engagement per fan, and less median organic reach per fan than those without.
Why Would Hashtags Show Less Effect on the News Feed?
For now, relevant Facebook hashtags are used mostly by brand pages and are often included with special promotions and campaigns. In general, promotional posts receive less engagement and EdgeRank Checker was able to conclude that users are not clicking on the hashtags. If they were, the reach would be increasing rather than decreasing.
Facebook Is Different Than Other Social Networks
It’s important to remember that Facebook is a more private social platform than Twitter. Because consumers are given the option to accept or deny friends they can maintain a privacy wall of who sees the content they share. Users are more likely to share more personal information, such as pictures and names of their children, than they would on a more open social network like Twitter. Users are not necessarily on Facebook to search hashtags and find data. The more important task for most users is connecting with friends, sharing life events, and following brands that are important to them.
Which brings us to the question: if you are brand, why use Facebook hashtags? It is up to the brands to demonstrate their value in a way that appeals to Facebook users, enticing them to use the hashtags more frequently. Hashtags are a new way for users to find information from brands on Facebook rather than to only connect with new individuals. It’s a tall order, but essentially it is up to fan pages to alter the typical behavior of the average Facebook user to avoid losing them all together, which is proving to be more difficult than expected.
How to Demonstrate Value on Facebook
Being able to engage with Facebook pages is not a new challenge for many fan pages. If Facebook hashtags are not increasing engagement among fans then pages must rely on what they’ve always relied on – killer content. On top of awesome content that appeals to your fans, such as compelling images, intimate stories and relevant updates, you must continue to connect with your inner circle of clients and referral sources. Most importantly, however, is to put yourself in the shoes of your average Facebook fan. Would you like your page? If not, find the missing piece that provides value to your fans and rock it on a continuing basis.