Hashtags Matter: 3 Rules For Optimization

Hashtags are as useful as ever, but you need to understand how they work. Here are three tips to make your hashtags matter.
white hashtags with white and black calculator on white and blue textile

Do hashtags still matter in 2023? Yes—but not in the way you might think. 

What once was strictly an audience growth tool has transformed into a brand-building mechanism, a way to add color and character to your posts, and a strategic element to make yourself part of relevant conversations. 

Hashtags are as useful as ever, but you need to understand how they work to make the most of them. Here, we’ll give you three basic tips on how to use them to optimize your social media content. 

What Is a “Hashtag”? 

Hashtags (don’t call the # symbol a “pound sign” unless you want to show your age) categorize all the content and posts around a specific topic or trend. They allow users to search for and find content. They were created as a way to filter the millions of posts on a social media site so that when people search for “#tag” in the search bar, the most popular posts with that tag would appear. 

Creators and businesses found that using hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube has allowed their posts to reach new audiences, join new conversations, and grow their engagement. As organic social media becomes a more integral part of our everyday lives, the nature of how people have used hashtags is changing. 

The New Rules of Hashtags

Social media sites have evolved. Most platforms have become so intelligent that they are able to scan the posts and captions directly to categorize the content, even without hashtags. Each social media platform has a different algorithm, but they all have the same goal: They want to get the right content out to the right person. When used correctly, hashtags allow the algorithm to achieve this more accurately.

They can still be used to optimize growth and engagement for your pages. However, there are certain ways to go about doing this that will help you accomplish the best results. 

Three Ways to Use Hashtags Effectively

There are certain rules to follow in order to use the full potential of what hashtags can do for your page:

  1. Keep your tags relevant to the niche of your business or service. The more closely the hashtags are related to the content, the likelier it is to recommend it to the right audience.  
  2. Avoid overly popular—or overly specific—hashtags. These both make your content too difficult to find. If you use tags that are too popular, your content won’t show up in the sea of results. If you use any that are too specific, users will never be able to match that search exactly and your content will get lost once again. 
  3. Diversify your hashtags a little. Using only the same three hashtags on every post will reach the same people every time. That is great for community building and branding but harmful to audience growth. If you occasionally switch up your hashtags, you will show existing audiences a new breadth of content and introduce yourself to new audiences.

To build your following with your target audience and increase engagement, you will need to refocus your efforts and get familiar with the algorithms of each site. Hashtags have evolved and the way we use them has to change as well. They can be an incredibly useful tool when used correctly. 

Ava Hadan

Ava Hadan

Ava is the Social Media and Content Creative Writing Intern at Method Marketing. She primarily manages social media accounts but lately has enjoyed having a hand in and learning about other aspects of marketing, such as writing and market research. Ava is a fourth-year student at California State University, Chico pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communications and Journalism. She holds a leadership position in her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, and for a year has loved being a leader for the women in her chapter. Ava is originally from Los Angeles but has loved living in Chico. Her interests include cooking, escape rooms, and replaying her favorite video games over and over.

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