Hashtags have come a long way since ten years ago when you’d take a picture of candy and add the most random tags like ‘love’, ‘yum’, ‘candy’, ‘amazing’ and anything else you can think of. Back then, it was almost the norm. These days though, when you see the word ‘hashtag’ on social media it will usually be followed by ‘plan’ or ‘strategy’. This already makes you think hashtag-ing is not as simple as it once was. However, are they necessary for bloggers in 2021?For my less-than-two-minutes-reading-time-post, you know what to do! After all, I keep things short and sweet here!
*Disclaimer: The following opinions are my own so please read in a light-hearted manner. If you require more technical analysis of IG hashtags, this post will not be what you are looking for.
On my main Instagram profile I don’t use hashtags. I just never put much thought into it, mostly because for years I was a personal account. Only last year did I emphasise my travel side. Anyway, I want to scream in despair when I see people hashtag ‘like4like’ or something along those lines. It just seems disingenuous and strange if you want a connected audience. My lack of hashtags on IG is not to be confused with my hashtags on WordPress. I think the way WordPress places a limit of tags makes for genuine content to be seen and has led me to so many friendships. For the purpose of this post, however, I’ve added relevant hashtags to every upload on my travel Instagram account. These are usually something along the lines of ‘travel’, ‘solo traveller’, or ‘backpacker’.
One thing I instantly noticed about hashtags is that people will push the limit. Why are pictures of nails appearing on tags under ‘hiking’? Lol. When I searched hashtags, I felt like there were so many posts which had no relation to the actual tag. This is likely because topics like ‘travel’ or ‘road trip’ are constantly searched via hashtags. In this sense, it’s easy for your specific post to get lost amongst thousands of robotic posts.
Do hashtags do much for growth? It depends. I think once you have an established following hashtags can work wonders. One example can be appearing on explore pages. However, to get to that stage hashtags are probably needed to gain traffic. So it seems like a loop. That’s why I feel like knowing what result you want to achieve helps to determine whether hashtags are useful or not for you. For example, on my Instagram account I am not actively seeking opportunities for partnerships nor do I class pictures of myself in a nice outfit particularly useful to audiences. So, hashtag-ing is perhaps irrelevant to me there, (although if you follow me on IG, you’ll know I love fun captions so maybe I can win points on entertainment). However, on my travel Instagram account I want to help as many people as I can with informative and beneficial content, so hashtags become more relevant.
However, hashtags require some thought if you are actively looking to grow your audience. This is why many social media coaches cover hashtag strategy in their sessions. After all, hashtags are a marketing tool. For this reason, thinking about your overall goals for social media helps to relieve some confusion. Some people will use hashtags to grow their business or raise awareness, and that’s fine. Some people won’t hashtag because they don’t feel a need to do so, and that’s also fine. Heck, some people might even throw in a few hashtags here and there. Again, that’s also fine. It’s all down to you and the plans you have.
Summary? Hashtags are still relevant if you have a set purpose or goal in mind. This can be anything, like wanting to raise attention for something or wanting to connect with other bloggers. With my travel IG account, hashtags have helped slightly for growth but the biggest factor has been my friends sharing my posts on their accounts. So yes, hashtags can still be advantageous but they aren’t the only factor which leads to social media growth in 2021.
You’ve probably realised that my approach to social media has always been about forming genuine connections above anything. I’m definitely the type of person to reply to everyone, to engage with everyone and to be helpful when asked something. That’s definitely my priority. I mean, I love to talk! I’m really grateful for all the wonderful connections I’ve made through socials with you all. So, THANK YOU!
See you in the next post