Hashtags Have Changed and You’re Using Them Wrong

Hashtags are dead and here’s why you need to stop over using them.

As we know, social media algorithms are updated monthly and strategies now change on a dime so it is important to keep up with the changes if you want to be successful. Using one strategy to go viral one month could be completely rendered useless the next. On top of this, every social media platform likes to use a different algorithm to try and compete with each other. This is why managing social media has now become a full time job for many and too much for businesses to keep track of on their own.

Back in the day the right hashtag could make, or break, whether or not your video or post went viral and using more meant you would be seen in more places; this is no longer the case. Whilst hashtags still hold some weight in determining the success of your post, even the best hashtag strategy will not help a bad post.

From what we know currently, ALL social media platforms frown on excessive hashtag usage. Hashtags are used to categorize your content in a broad sense to locate your audience, so if you are using more than 4-7 hashtags on any platform the algorithm will not be able to properly pinpoint where your video should be placed.

Advice from an Influencer (Me)

There are currently only theories on how to determine what hashtags to use and what will work the best for your video. As someone who regularly goes viral I will simply share what has worked for me. I like to try and use 2-3 broad hashtags and then 2-3 more specific but still generalized hashtags. For example, if I am creating a storytime video on Tiktok about a bad date I went on in college with a boy where I usually learned something from it I would tag that #dating #college #storytime #datingadviceforwomen #datingstorytime. As you can see the first three will cast a wider net and the last two will assist the first three in finding subsections of those groups. If I were to make a video about my morning skincare routine I would use the hashtags #skincare #selfcare #getreadywithme #morningroutine #cerave. Again, the first two cast a wide net whilst the last three help narrow in on that net.

As far as Instagram, a similar set of rules now apply. Instagram prefers 3-5 hashtags but has also recently implemented an important tool called “alternative text” that you should utilize. Alternative text is a new tool for greater accessibility on the app where you can describe what is happening in the photo for those who may struggle with things like visual impairments. Filling this section out with a precise sentence or two will aid in the SEO of your post and help the algorithm understand what to categorize it as well.

Overall though, some of the best videos and posts go viral with no hashtags at all which shows us that hashtags aren’t nearly as important as they used to be. For the most part, hashtags are simply an aid to help boost already great content.

Written by: Andra Berghoff