With constantly changing algorithms and trends, do hashtags even matter anymore? Are hashtags still a thing or are they something of the past? We hate to break it to you, but if you’re still using a fancy hashtag strategy and filling up your post with 30 hashtags, you’re most likely wasting your time. Even Adam Mosseri said it himself!
In Short, Hashtags Don’t Matter Like They Used To.
Hashtags were the old way of searching on Instagram. Up until November 2020, the Instagram algorithm didn’t have a way to use keyword research. The only way to do this was by searching a hashtag. The algorithm would filter the content and help serve your content in a specific niche in part based on the hashtag you used. It was also used commonly — and this might be the one existing use case that still makes sense — as a way to build a community. We still love engaging with folks on certain hashtags like #femalefounders or #creativeentrepreneurs.
However, keywords now reign supreme on Instagram. Instagram launched the ability to do keyword research without the hashtag sign. You can now simply search on Instagram like you can on Google. We can finally say hello to two of our favorite things — SEO and Instagram!
The Biggest Issue With Hashtags…
Did you know, some hashtags are considered targets by spammy content and bots? Have you ever received a comment on your post that said “Like & promote on…” or “Send DM to get more followers” When you get comments like this, you likely have a hashtag in your arsenal that is being targeted by bots. With this, it’s really a trial and elimination game to figure out which one is causing the spam. How annoying, right? This is one of the main reasons hashtags are phasing out of Instagram.
So instead of implementing a hashtag strategy, what should you do?
- It is our recommendation to use 1-5 hashtags at most.
- Use hashtags in the form of keywords that people are searching for to help Instagram better understand your content.
- Use your hashtag in your caption, not in the comments.
- Don’t use long, extra-niche hashtags with a very low post count. Being too niche in hashtags won’t be helpful for you.
- Use hashtags that you actually like to engage with. If you don’t feel a sense of community there or resonate with others using the hashtags, then it probably isn’t right for you.
In short, hashtags aren’t completely dead, but using keywords and serving your audience are way more important. Plus, if you decide to do away with them completely, you likely won’t notice a difference. Did you just sigh in relief? We hope so!
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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.