OK, so the cool kids in the Twitter universe go on and on about how it is shockingly bad form to include hashtags on Facebook. A hashtag is the # symbol used on Twitter to identify that a tweet relates to a particular subject. (Yes, my dear social media pro friends, there are a lot of people who don’t know that!)
I beg to differ. I realize that will lose me some friends in the Twitter world. But you know what? When it comes to the everyday people you are likely to be marketing to, they don’t give a damn whether or not you use a hashtag in your Facebook posting.
Why they say you should NOT use # on Facebook
The arguments against using the hashtag in your Facebook posting are:
- It fails to take the subtleties if different social media into account. People on Twitter are not looking for the same sorts of content as those on Facebook, the argument goes. Of all the arguments against it, this is the main one with merit, in my opinion (see below).
- It is spammy, because you are likely to have the same followers on multiple platforms. So you’ll irritate them by posting the same content in several places.
- It is “lazy”. If you really cared about your social media, you wouldn’t use services that make it possible for you to send a comment to multiple platforms at once.
- It makes you look uncool. Because the insiders all know that you should only use the # on Twitter.
Why I say you CAN & SOMETIMES SHOULD use # on Facebook
- You may not have the same followers on Twitter & Facebook. There will be some overlap, sure, but there will probably also be a big group that do not overlap. My Twitter followers, for example, tend to have a more professional and less personal relationship with me. (A sign, perhaps, that I’m not the best Twitter user out there. I have trouble limiting myself to 140 characters and constantly checking my streams.) A much larger proportion of my Facebook friends are really friends who I see and chat with regularly. They want to know what I’m up to, including in my professional world, but many of them don’t do Twitter.
- Repetition is key to successful advertising. We know from a gazillion studies that before a marketing message sinks in you need to be exposed to it multiple times. Is it spammy? Depends how you do it. I’d say repeating the same post multiple times in one place is spammy, but giving people the same or similar information in different places and contexts is fine, as long as it is relevant to them.
- It is efficient. I bet most of the folks who say it is “lazy” marketing either don’t have a non-Internet-related life and/or have a large staff. I have kids, a spouse, an active volunteer life, I go to theatre and dance and book readings and soccer games. I shovel snow and run errands and spend time with my aging parents. So when I find an effective way to save time while still getting my message out, I’m in! I don’t see anything wrong with that. And I bet the critics will start to get that more as they mature.
- Effective doesn’t have to be cool. I earn my living helping people market their companies on the Internet. So I don’t particularly want to upset all those influential folks on Twitter. They are important. On the other hand, only 9% of US adult Internet users are on Twitter, according to The Social Skinny (or 13% according to Pew Research). In Canada only 3% use Twitter, according to Pew. It is easy to lose sight of that fact when you are a social media guru immersed in the Twitterverse.
Should you ignore Twitter? No.
Should you accept the insider’s conventional wisdom that you shouldn’t try to save time by posting to multiple places at once? I say, No again.
Feel free to disagree (or agree) in the comments section below.