Hashtags, are they really still working?

There’s a lot of conversation about hashtags in the Social Media Marketing community, and not really for the right reasons. Many marketers and brand owners are becoming increasingly worried that adding hashtags to content, especially on Instagram, isn’t helping with reach and engagement anymore. Some are even reporting that they believe using hashtags is limiting the reach of their content.

Do we still use them for our clients?

Every business/organisation we run social media for is different, so our strategies are different for each client. However, what we will say is that we’re using at least some hashtags in all of the content we post for all of our clients. We’ve just changed the way we use them. A long time ago the best use of hashtags on Instagram was to fit as many as you could in each post, assuming they were all at least slightly relevant to your content and your business. This almost guaranteed more reach and engagement. Unfortunately though over the last few years, the algorithms have been changing and the way people perceive lots of hashtags in 1 post has changed. People see too many hashtags in a post as spammy, so tend to scroll past because of a lack of trust. Instagram soon picked up on this and its algorithms changed to stop rewarding content with lots of hashtags.

Less is usually more…

These days, less hashtags in your content is more effective if you can find the right ones. You have to think about the key messages in your content and then do some research around those topics to find the most used and most popular hashtags. If they suit your content, then add them in. Don’t just throw as many in there as you can, it just doesn’t work anymore.

It’s fine to jump on trends!

One really effective strategy is to flip the script and create your content based on the currently trending hashtags. Many businesses see a lot of success with this if they can make it relevant to themselves without looking like they’re trying too hard to jump on a bandwagon. You don’t have to jump on every trend, especially if it’s got nothing to do with your business whatsoever. But if you’re a deodorant shop and you wake up to find #MorningRoutine trending, it would definitely be worth creating some content based on a morning routine including your deodorants! You get the idea…


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