Let’s be honest; hashtags can be #confusing. Despite being around for over 15 years, many of us still struggle to understand what they are and how they can help build a successful social media audience. Plus, with the new Threads platform released by Meta leaving out hashtags at its launch, does this mean they are no longer relevant?
At SkyeLine Studio, we’re natural-born optimists, so we’ve always used them to help our clients improve their online presence. Yet, with the rise in algorithm changes and the increasing influence of fast-paced trends, we decided it was time to reevaluate the importance of hashtags and provide some much-needed clarity on how they can benefit brands looking to make the most of their social media.
What are Hashtags & What’s Their Purpose?
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s cover the basics. In its simplest form, a hashtag is any word or phrase that proceeds the # symbol, also known as the pound sign.
Hashtags help label and categorize posts on major social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, so users can easily find content based on topics they are interested in. They’re also a vital source of information for social media algorithms, as platforms base their content suggestions on the hashtags users most interact with.
Are Hashtags Worth Using?
Yes! Although there have been rumors that hashtags don’t make a difference, we’re here to say this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hashtags can be a powerful asset to any brand looking to improve its social media following, but only when done right.
As mentioned earlier, the algorithms behind most social media platforms have undergone numerous changes over the years, and many of these changes have affected the use of hashtags. Rather than flooding captions with every hashtag imaginable, the golden rule is now quality over quantity. The specific number of hashtags varies across platforms. Still, we recommend using no more than 10 in most cases, as studies have shown that using too many can reduce engagement by an astounding 50% or more.
So, How Do I Use Hashtags to Help My Account Grow?
To make your business stand out, you should use hashtags that capture your unique brand and relate to your target audience. Popular hashtags can have millions of posts, which makes it easy for your content to get lost in the sea of social media. Instead, try niche hashtags to boost engagement and attract followers on a smaller, more personalized scale.
Picking the correct hashtags is no simple task, but luckily, we’ve outlined the five main types to get you on the right track.
- Location: Places, neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries (i.e. #Connecticut, #WolcottCT, #NewEngland)
- Branded: Campaigns, contests, events, or your brand name (i.e. #SkyeLineStudio, #MondayMotivation, #OpeningNight)
- Industry: Your business niche, services, or projects (i.e. #MarketingCT, #CTAttraction, #NewMenu)
- Community: Attributes of a specific group of people (i.e. #FoodLovers, #MomsOfInstagram, #SmallBusinessOwners)
- Descriptive: The content of your photo, video, etc. (i.e. #BaconCheeseBurger, #SuperBowlLVII, #LiveMusic)
And if you’re still looking for more opportunities to boost engagement, some hashtag generators provide lists of trending hashtags so you can get on the good side of the algorithm. However, these can change daily, so it’s essential to keep a close eye on what you’re including and stay with the current trends.
Overall, hashtags can be any brand’s best friend; you don’t have to be a social media specialist to figure them out. All it takes is a little time, effort, and a touch of creativity to make your business stand out from the rest.
SkyeLine Secret Tip: Each month, we promote what we call “fake holidays.” From National Onion Ring Day to International Smile Day, we like to add these so-called social media holidays to our list of hashtags – and they’re a great source of inspiration for content planning! Of course, they need to stay on brand with the client, but using fake holidays is an easy way to attract new audiences and stay on trend.