Our Facebook page was running pretty smoothly. We had a good number of loyal fans, and people seeing – and engaging with – our posts. Then this happened:
The change in Facebook’s news feed and its resulting decline in page post views is pretty well documented, with page owners everywhere up in arms their fans could no longer see posts in their news feed.
Facebook’s explanation was down to post volume: “It’s possible that an update you post on your Page may not be shown to everyone who likes your Page because News Feed space is limited.” But the more cynical say it’s because of the introduction of sponsored posts – Facebook wants businesses to spend cash with them. This led to widely shared criticism (such as Eat24’s brilliant break up letter to Facebook).
Whatever the reason, we were definitely experiencing a massive downturn in both reach and engagement.
Some posts did better than others:
About a quarter of fans saw this – not so bad as the above example… Perhaps it was a slow news day?
Reach more people on Facebook
Then we discovered it. A way to reach more people on Facebook without paying Facebook to engage with existing fans. And it’s down to hashtags (#).
We’ve been all over the hash-tagging for years on Twitter. The introduction of hashtags on Facebook didn’t exactly pass us by. But neither did excite us. Or give us reason to seriously research if it would help our page. But it does… At least it seems to be working for us at the moment:
Facebook says in its Help section successful posts are different for each page depending on its audience, but hashtags can make posts more visible, particularly when you # a popular or trending topic. By adding a hashtag, you make that word a clickable link. This means those interested in the topic can click to see other public posts tagged with that word.
It’s not perfect and some hashtags definitely perform better than others (see Facebook’s take on hashtags here). Plus we’re still down on the engagement factor, with very few likes and shares compared to previously. But it’s a start.
Ready to reach more people on Facebook with hashtags? Make sure you research your tags thoroughly first to ensure you don’t suffer the hashtags gone wrong problem, use them sparingly – one to two hashtags on Facebook is enough – and review your pages insights regularly to measure the post reach and engagement.
How have you found using hashtags on Facebook? Let us know on our Facebook page!