Is the hashtag #dead?

Does anyone else remember tweet chats? I do. For those of you who don’t, it was a very simple concept. You would go on Twitter and use a hashtag to follow and participate in a conversation. They were really popular in various marketing circles, and companies like Hootsuite would even brand them (i.e., #HootChat). What I just described makes perfect sense: You have a unique group or conversation, and the hashtag is an easy way to follow along; I’m totally on board. But I feel like somewhere along the way, things got off the rails a bit with hashtags, and it’s not just on Twitter.

We’ve all seen it. That Instagram post with roughly 50 hashtags in it, most of which are very broad terms like #Fashion or #Leadership. I understand we want our content to be seen by as many eyeballs as possible, but this has never made sense to me. So I decided to do a little research and was pretty shocked by what I found…

352,715. That’s the number of users who are following #leadership on LinkedIn (at the time I was writing this anyway).

723,081,772. That’s the number of users who used #fashion in a post on Instagram (once again, at the time I was writing this).

Results unknown. Just type #family into the Twitter bar and watch the tweets flood in.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that not all hashtags are created equal. In all transparency, this was a pretty quick search, and I have never taken a deep dive into these general hashtags, but I guess that is a bit of my point. Have you ever actually clicked on one of those generic word hashtags and viewed the content?

And your point is?
Trust me, this isn’t just one of those “old guys yells at cloud” moments; this post does have a purpose. In a way, I feel like hashtags have gone the way of SEO from years ago. You know, before Google utilized AI and you could just stuff keywords into the bottom of your page in white font? We are literally stuffing hashtags into a lot of our posts on social, and for what reason? This especially becomes a factor on a platform like LinkedIn where after 211 characters you get the “See more” button and your content is cut off. Is it really worth it to have “see more” just so you can have #leadership in your post?
So, the hashtag is dead?
Is it dead? No. Hashtags still have great purpose, especially if you’re doing a tweet chat, following a major event or participating in the conversation at a trade show; but my bigger point is just to know that, like most things, there is a time and a place for a hashtag. The key is to know when to use them to maximize their purpose.
For more information on how and when to use hashtags on your social media posts, contact akhia digital for help.