Are Hashtags Still Beneficial to Use on Social Media in 2024?

My fellow social media managers likely remember the days of #putting #hashtags #in #every #bit #of #contentmarketing when they first started posting. Nowadays, brands and individuals alike seem to be utilizing hashtags far less frequently on popular platforms like Instagram, Twitter (X), and Facebook. Which begs the question:

Are hashtags still beneficial to use on social media?

We’ll try to answer that question & provide you with even more #hashtagknowledge than you ever thought possible in this week’s blog. Let’s dive in.

The Hashtag History

The use of the hashtag as we know it today was the brain product of Chris Messina, a tech product designer and the owner of an internet consulting company. In 2007, Messina and his friends were using Twitter but were tired of unorganized scrolling. 

Chris wanted there to be a way to isolate groups of messages around a certain topic, so recommended a way to put a hash symbol in front of a common word or phrase that would create its own instant channel of related tweets. 

Twitter officially adopted the # symbol in 2009, and the first viral hashtag (many believe) was in 2011, when #CeaseFire went viral as part of the Kony 2012 campaign.

Since then, hashtags have taken on an identity of their own – with popular use in movies, music, and TV shows, and adoption from basically all other social media platforms and several other apps.

The Point of a Hashtag

Hashtags refer to a word or phrase that is preceded by the # symbol. Their intent is threefold:

  • To categorize posts
  • To connect people with similar interest
  • To identify topics

… or, if you were like me as an early social media manager, they’re used in an effort to get your brand page’s post to earn additional reach numbers from people who don’t follow you (but hopefully follow hashtags!).

whats the point of a hashtag

Do People Still Use Hashtags?

In short, #yes. But the use of hashtags has definitely declined in recent years. In part, because social media moderators are not still seeing the same benefit of their hashtag use in increasing impressions.

In fact, a Socialinsider study from 2022 found that the number of hashtags used in a post does not influence post distribution on Instagram. 

However, part of this comes to knowing your platform. Though the bulk of Instagram studies show no major correlation between hashtags and reach or engagement, it is different on Twitter. 

On Twitter (X), hashtags have been seen to increase engagement up to 50% for brands. Furthermore, tweets with 1-2 hashtags have a 55% higher chance of getting retweeted.

In short: hashtags still have their place, but you should be mindful of where and how you use them.

A Guide to Using Hashtags in 2024

If you aren’t ready to give up on your hashtagging ways yet, we don’t blame you! And the good news is: you don’t have to. However, you should be mindful of trying to make sure you are using them in the best way possible. Here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Make sure the hashtag is relevant and appropriate: taking advantage of trending topics and hashtags is good, but don’t spam them. All social platforms are becoming more savvy to abuse of hashtags and banning inappropriate hashtags. 
  • Try to keep your hashtag use to a minimum: if you do plan to use hashtags, try to keep it between 1 and 2 on Twitter, and a small list on Instagram too (to limit the chance of looking like you’re spamming).
  • Be mindful of the types of posts and platforms you hashtag on: they still have relevance on Twitter (X), but a little less relevance on Instagram. Utilize them on Twitter to join the conversation or have your tweet added to a catalog of similar posts, but use them on IG only when your content makes sense to be part of a series of posts.
  • Keep them in the post copy only: having too many hashtags in your bio or the comment section looks to be a bit of a dated practice; reserve them for your posts as best you can.
  • Be mindful of context: before jumping on a trending hashtag, make sure you are aware of the context behind it. You don’t want to pull a DiGorno’s pizza and come off as tone deaf (see tweet below).
diGiorno why i stayed tweet

If you’re looking for more guidance on all things social media marketing, we’d love to connect! Please reach out to our team and we’d be happy to share our organic and paid social media tips. Or, continue to follow this blog for more relevant posts.

Thanks for reading, and #goodluck utilizing hashtags in your 2024 social media posts!

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