Ah, the humble hashtag. Once upon a time, it was the new kid on the social media block. But now, it’s been around for a while, is it still a valid thing to include on social media?
Twitter birthed the hashtag way back in 2007, and it quickly took the social media world by storm. Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn soon followed suit, incorporating hashtags into their platforms. The aim? To help users find content related to specific topics or themes.
But are they still doing their job?
In the early days of hashtags, they were seen as a revolutionary way to categorise content and make it easily discoverable.
Over time, however, the hashtag landscape has become more cluttered and competitive, with millions of users vying for attention using the same popular hashtags. This has led some to question whether hashtags still hold the same value they once did, or if they’ve become a relic of a bygone era.
And what does the increase in social media search mean for the future of hashtags?
Twitter is the OG of hashtags, and it’s where they still shine the brightest. Hashtags help users find content related to specific topics, trends, or events, and they’re great for joining conversations and connecting with others.
Perhaps stick to one or two per tweet for maximum impact (even if you have Twitter Blue and can write a ten-thousand-character tweet).
Hashtags on Twitter are particularly useful for following breaking news, live events, or trending topics. They can also be used to create a sense of community around a specific interest or cause, such as #ClimateChange.
By using hashtags in your tweets, you can tap into these existing conversations and you’ll likely increase the visibility of your content.
Hashtags were the life and soul of the Instagram party. They helped users find and share content related to their interests, and they’ve been essential for increasing the visibility of your posts.
Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags per post. Some people advocate using as many as you can to increase the likelihood that you’ll be found. However, Instagram itself has suggested recently that it’s best not to use the maximum as it can make your content look spammy.
Choose a few relevant hashtags that accurately describe your content and will help you reach your target audience.
TIP: look at your followers’ posts and consider using hashtags that they are using – they are clearly important to them.
Instagram has also suggested that keywords in captions are far more important than hashtags. Instagram search treats hashtags and words the same so your posts will be found regardless of the use of a # symbol. Does this mean the hashtag is dead for Instagram? No, but it’s less important than it once was.
Hashtags on Facebook are, well, a bit of a wallflower. They can be used to categorise content and help users find posts related to specific topics, but their effectiveness is limited. So, in my view, it’s best to use them sparingly or not at all.
One reason for the limited effectiveness of hashtags on Facebook may be due to the platform’s privacy settings. Unlike Twitter and Instagram, where most content is public by default, Facebook content is often restricted to friends or specific groups. This means that even if you use hashtags in your Facebook posts, they may not be as discoverable as they would be on other platforms.
LinkedIn joined in with hashtags in 2018, allowing users to include them in their posts and articles to increase visibility and discoverability.
Hashtags on LinkedIn can help you reach a professional audience and showcase your expertise in a particular field. Indeed, if you review your profile, you’ll have the chance to emphasise particular hashtags and, if you have a creator profile, your most frequently used hashtags will be displayed.
So, make any hashtags you use consistent and, again, I’d stick to just a few relevant ones.
TikTok, the short-form video platform that has taken the world by storm, also makes use of hashtags to help users find and engage with content.
Hashtags on TikTok are essential for participating in trends, challenges, and viral moments. They can also be used to categorise your content and make it more discoverable to users who share your interests.
When using hashtags on TikTok, it’s important to strike a balance between popular, trending hashtags and more niche, specific ones that relate to your content. This can help you attract a wide range of users and increase the chances of your videos gaining traction on the platform.
Keep an eye on trending hashtags and consider incorporating them into your content when relevant.
Like Instagram, search in TikTok is becoming a default search engine for some and so whether hashtags will remain important is to be seen.
An alternative to using hashtags is incorporating keywords into your post captions. This can help your content appear in search results without relying on hashtags. While this approach can be effective, it’s important to remember that hashtags still offer benefits that keywords alone may not provide.
Hashtags create a more interactive experience, allowing users to click on them and explore related content. They also help to categorise your content, making it easier for users to find and engage with it.
Keywords in captions can help with searchability, but they may not provide the same level of engagement and discoverability that hashtags do.
The answer is yes, but their effectiveness varies across different platforms. Hashtags remain an essential tool for increasing visibility and engagement on Twitter and Instagram, while their usefulness on Facebook is limited. On LinkedIn, hashtags can help you reach a professional audience and showcase your expertise.
It’s important to remember that hashtags should be used strategically and not overused. Choose a few relevant hashtags that accurately describe your content and will help you reach your target audience.
Additionally, incorporating keywords into your post captions can improve searchability and complement your use of hashtags.
In conclusion, hashtags are still a valuable tool for social media marketing and engagement. By understanding how they work on different platforms and using them strategically, you can increase the visibility of your content and connect with your target audience. Now, let’s get this hashtag party started! 🎉
Regardless of the platform, there are some general best practices to follow when using hashtags:
Keep it relevant: Use hashtags that are directly related to your content and target audience.
Don’t overdo it: Using too many hashtags can make your content look spammy and reduce engagement.
Research popular and niche hashtags: Find a balance between broad, popular hashtags and more specific ones that cater to your target audience.
Monitor hashtag performance: Keep track of which hashtags are driving engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Stay up-to-date with trends: Keep an eye on trending hashtags and consider incorporating them into your content when relevant.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your use of hashtags remains effective and helps you achieve your social media marketing goals.