After years of people using hashtags on Facebook despite the fact that Facebook didn't support them, the company finally made them clickable and searchable back in June. Of course, hashtags allow Facebook to better organize conversations across the network, and gives brands the ability to insert themselves into said conversations. With over a billion monthly active users on the network, Facebook hashtags were poised to make a big impact in terms of marketing. Right?
Well, maybe not. According to a new study from Facebook analytics company EdgeRank Checker, the first couple of months have proven one thing: Facebook hashtags are no game-changer. In fact, they're not really helping anyone spread the conversation.
"Posts with hashtags actually have less Viral Reach, on average, than posts with hashtags. Brands using hashtags should hypothetically be receiving additional exposure from other brands who are using these same hashtags," says EdgeRank Checker.
But they aren't.
In fact, according to their data, Facebook posts that contain hashtags have less viral reach, less median fan engagement, and even less organic reach. If you're going by this study, you'd be better off leaving the hashtags out of your post if you want more users to see it and interact with it.
It's pretty much the same all across the board, as well, no matter how many likes your page has. Pages with fewer likes experience the greatest disservice from hashtags - but for most tiers of popularity hashtags are doing nothing to help a page's exposure.
And it's not that hashtags in general fail in their promise of promoting more conversation - it's Facebook hashtags.. EdgeRank Checker briefly looked at Twitter data and found that the use of a hashtag "resulted in roughly double the likelihood of being retweeted" and that "over 70% of the brands experienced an increase in RT’s when using a hashtag versus not using one."
You can hashtag all you want, but if nobody is clicking those tags then it's not going to do you a damn bit of good.
Image via Facebook