The Social Media NGAGE team keeps its finger on the pulse of the latest algorithm changes, trends, best practices, and what’s happening in the broader world of social media. In this blog, we dive into the latest Facebook algorithm changes you need to be aware of, and the best way to use those sexy hashtags in your next post!
Hashtags, handles, tags … sound familiar? Well, they should. These are all phrases we have come to know and love since social media made its great debut back in 1997, when the first platform introduced was Six Degrees. By now, I’m quite sure you have a vast understanding of what these phrases mean, how they work, and why they play such an important role in any social media strategy.
When Facebook started way back in 2004, it became popular to create, and use, as many hashtags as possible: #This #That #Everything #MustHaveHashtags … You get the picture. But as social media continues to evolve at an exponential rate, and Facebook’s algorithm also changes on a regular basis, not to mention the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act that has come into play, Facebook has had to make a few changes to ensure sufficient privacy by actually reducing the excessive use of hashtags.
If you scroll through your Facebook timeline today, I’m sure you will find a Facebook page that looks like it belongs to someone else! Now, if you manage a company page, not only do all these hashtags and tags look aesthetically displeasing and ‘messy’, it also affects the results you are trying so hard to achieve.
The act of applying five bazillion hashtags in the hopes of having it appear on people’s pages and in their searches has been dubbed ‘spam-tagging.’
Recently, Facebook changed its algorithm to prevent companies from ‘spam-tagging’ other companies or individuals. Excessive use of hashtags lowers engagement, and can reduce your reach dramatically. A study by Social Bakers examined how Facebook engagement correlates with hashtag use:
• Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions
• Posts with 3 to 5 hashtags reduced the interactions by 30%
• The interaction and reach was reduced by 48% in posts that used 6 to 10 hashtags
It’s quite clear that more is not always merrier. Utilising more than 3 hashtags reduces your reach and engagement significantly, and this is certainly not what you want. Facebook’s algorithm will also only allow you to use a specific hashtag once in your post. For example, if you use #MondayMotivation in the body of your post, and type it again at the end, the second hashtag will not be considered a mention.
When using official hashtags for an event or a campaign, make sure that you either use the official event handle, i.e. @XYZ, or the official hashtag. You no longer have to use both, as this will detract from your specific campaign objectives.
When planning your strategy, it’s important to be extremely selective when creating and utilising hashtags. It’s more important than ever to have a clear campaign strategy, and understand what the objectives are.
By Lesley-Ann Rozanski