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To hashtag or not to hashtag: Do they matter in 2023?

We saw hashtags on social media for the first time back in 2007 and now it’s 2023… so, are hashtags even still a thing? Maybe you still throw a few hashtags into the bottom of your posts or maybe you avoid them entirely. Either way, hashtags remain part of social media marketing over a decade after their birth on Twitter.

Here’s the truth: hashtags can still help you share your brand’s personality and presence!

Hashtags 101

Do you need a little hashtag refresher? Here’s a crash course to get you up to speed:

  • A hashtag is indicated by a pound sign, followed by a word or phrase, without any spaces.
  • Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and TikTok all use these tags to sort posts.
  • Users can search by and follow hashtags.

Using the right hashtags (more on that in a minute) helps you reach more people on social media who are likely interested in what you have to offer. With a strong social media strategy, more exposure for your brand means more engagement with your posts and products, which can translate into a thriving community and, eventually, sales.

Hashtag Best Practices in 2023

2007 may seem like it was a lifetime ago–and, in some ways, it was. With passing time comes shifting trends and when you own a business, you have to keep up with them!

Create a Branded Hashtag

Consider creating a hashtag for your brand that both you and your customers can use. This makes it easy for potential customers to search for your offering on social media. You can also sift through the hashtag to find user-generated content to share to your own profiles. Branded hashtags often include your business’s or product’s name. They can also be specific to a campaign your company is running. Some popular branded hashtags include:

  • #MyCalvins – Calvin Klein
  • #ShareACoke – Coca Cola
  • #DoUsAFlavor – Lay’s

Differentiate Platforms

Remember that every social media platform uses hashtags differently. Don’t employ the same strategy across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Research how your competitors are using hashtags across platforms and take note of the brands you think are doing a great job incorporating tags. Following businesses with missions similar to yours can help you find hashtags that are working for them and may fit your brand.

Hashtag Clusters

Reach a broader audience of potential clients with “clusters” of hashtags, instead of focusing on just one. You also want to choose tags with varied popularity, with the exception of tags with millions of posts. Consider:

  • Location: #buffalove #buffalony #explorebuffalo #newyorklife
  • Community: #makersgonnamake #craftnotcrap #crafttherapy
  • Branded: #parkwaydigital #discoverWP #Adobe_DreamBig

Don’t Be Too Trendy

It can be easy to add the most popular hashtags to your post and hope to get your business seen. However, that’s not really how it works. When you use an extremely trendy hashtag, you get lost in the list of thousands and thousands of posts. Instead of standing out, your business begins to blend in.

Avoid using generic, overly popular hashtags and focus more on hashtags related to your business. Utilizing niche hashtags puts your content in front of people most likely to be interested in it–and that’s the goal!