Remember when you would post your Halloween costume on Instagram and overload it with relevant hashtags to get the most likes possible? It may have worked a long time ago, but does it still work today, or is there something new we should do instead? It’s been over 15 years since the hashtag was born with the creation of Twitter back in 2007. Initially, hashtags brought together relevant content and interesting updates that social media users were interested in. However, with technology advancing, apps like TikTok and Instagram have created a “For You Page” (FYP) that does the work behind the scenes. This pushes content to the user’s liking depending on what content they seem to pay attention to the most.

This leads to the question: Are hashtags still relevant in today’s world of technology and social media?

The answer is yes and no. Social media platforms continue to play a big role in our daily lives. As technology continues to advance, newer ways of posting content on social media roll in.

It all comes down to the algorithm and how it works on a certain social media platform. Hashtags still play a role in the social media world, but their role has significantly been reduced compared to what it was many years ago. So, should we continue to use them or should we just rely on the ‘algorithm’?

In today’s world, algorithms take over the job of hashtags. You don’t have to search for something that you are interested in by entering the pound sign followed by the content you want to see. You don’t have to search for #motivation to get your morning started. If the content you post is relevant to the hashtags you put in your captions, these apps use the keywords instead of your hashtags to push it into certain categories.

Are keywords more important than hashtags?

Using SEO keywords can help more in engagement and reach. The use of random hashtags won’t help the post achieve its reach. So, using a mixture of SEO-driven hashtags and keywords can help drive a post’s engagement and reach to the maximum.

Why should we continue to push these hashtags on our posts if they are so-called ‘irrelevant’?

Even though their job has been reduced quite a bit, they still have reach and engagement and can bring an audience to your page. On apps like Instagram, hashtags still hold value and are still important if you want to engage with new users. Using hashtags can land you on the explore page and get your content ‘trending’ which can grow your reach and engagement exponentially.

What should we do then—use them or not?

We recommend using them, but not like we used them before. Instead of oversaturating a post with 30+ hashtags, keep them to a minimum of 5-10 per post. This will help with targeting a smaller target audience and can help significantly with building your brand.

If you’re ready to get Insta famous, it’s okay to use a few hashtags to land on the explore page. Maybe it isn’t a good idea to load a post full of irrelevant hashtags that supposedly bring more people to your page. Let’s keep it clean and simple with the hashtags and focus on keywords instead.