Are hashtags still relevant in 2020?

Photo by Jan Baborák on Unsplash

The year was 2007 when the entire world went crazy about Twitter. And Twitter, in the collective imaginary, immediately meant 2 things: a 250-character limit to spread your message and some funny labels, created by prepending the symbol “#” to a word, that you could use to search for similar topics.

The hashtag as we know it was officially born, and Chris Messina, who took inspiration from IRC to come out with the idea of using hashtags on Twitter, would have made them one of his “trademarks”.

To tag or not to tag?

In just a few years after Twitter was born, most of the other social media had included hashtags in their features. Then, with Instagram, hashtags further grew their splendour as the platform uses them as a main way to search for a piece of content.

But Instagram aside, in the age of image recognition, vocal messages, AI-powered social listening and even voice tweets, the question many social media managers ask themselves is: are hashtags still relevant?

I am not going to dance around it. Not only hashtags are still relevant to your strategy in 2020, they are arguably essential.

Hashtags vs Keywords

I know what you are wondering: why can’t I just use keywords? After all, advanced keyword search is sophisticated and keywords are definitely a thing, right?

The number one reason why you don’t want to rely on keywords only is quite straightforward. With content mushrooming like never before and feed algorithms changing continuously, gaining and maintaining a significant share of voice on social media is a hard job. It’s no secret nor a surprise that most of the online content on Facebook and Instagram goes unseen, so it’s nearly impossible to be indexed – or even casually found – and picked up by the right people (a.k.a. your target audience) unless you use such a specific tool.

They can look for a keyword and still be able to find you, of course, but the truth is hashtags define content in ways keywords can’t. They don’t just “index” a piece content. They group similar content in order to form topics. And topics aren’t just passive entities. People start discussions, challenges, even social movements around topics. Being “on topic” for a brand equals actively taking part in the conversation.

That leads us to the second reason why keywords on social media are simply not enough. In a post-Covid world, the idea of “proximity” passes through digital interactions. Using a hashtag connected to an event or a trend, just to name two use cases, creates a strong sense of community. The right hashtag can even form communities, to some extent.

Given how powerful they are, there’s no wonder entire communication campaigns were built around hashtags – and no wonder that the wrong hashtag can blow a campaign, too.

How do I know what hashtags are right for me?

Mastering hashtags is an art – and certainly not as simple as one may think. You may be tempted to think you can type in in your tweet a couple of popular ones and get seen just like that. Nope. Sometimes a hashtag is too popular to be useful from your perspective. Or used differently than you would think. Or used by an audience that’s not the one you need to talk to. I could go on with a thousand “or” – there are so many variables to consider.

Can social media managers ever find their ways in such a chaos? The good news is they can: Hashtagify was made with that exact purpose. And we bet there are usage of this tool you never thought of.

Curious to know more about this? Great. Because we are going to introduce you to new, effective ways to do hashtag marketing using Hashtagify at the Hashtag Mastery Summit, starting on October 5th online.

Click here to see the program and register to it. See you there!

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