21 Aug, 2023 The Art of Hashtags: Less Is More 21 August 2023 Sam Corner Social Media & Content Manager It’s safe to say that the art of the hashtag is still going stronger than ever when it comes to social media. It’s an effective tool for anyone looking to market their brand online, whether you’re a company or a social media influencer – to help categorise content, increase discoverability, and connect users with similar interests. One thing we’re so used to doing is placing as many hashtags as possible in our posts to increase the amount of visibility that post receives. That seems logical to do, right? It turns out, not so much. It can be a bad habit! Whilst hashtags can be valuable to our marketing, overusing them can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of your social media posts. So why then, are less hashtags, more? Working the Algorithm Hashtags are massively important on social media as they act as an important relevance signal to help the platform’s algorithm understand what the content is about. You must bear in mind however, that these algorithms can work against you too. They often prioritise posts with fewer, more relevant hashtags. With this in mind, we recommend using ten or less hashtags per post in order to create a strong balance between creating that ranking signal, while also making sure that the algorithm doesn’t mask you from potential new readers. Staying Relevant The problem with using lots of hashtags is often that the more you put in, the less relevant your hashtags can be. #InstaGood may be a popular hashtag, but you don’t need to put that into just any post. A targeted approach ensures that your content reaches the right audience—people who are genuinely interested in the topic. Quality always over quantity! Preventing Spammy Impressions Whilst hashtags can be beneficial, too many can give your audience the impression that your post and in turn the rest of your content is spammy, or that your account is desperate for attention! Especially considering many spam and bot accounts all over social media are associated with using tons of hashtags in their posts. That’s why, as mentioned, social media algorithms flag posts with excessive hashtags, and this is what can potentially reduce your content's reach. You need to look professional to gain your audiences trust, so limit yourself and be cautious. Maintaining Aesthetics and Readability Aesthetics play a vital role in social media posts. An overcrowded caption filled with hashtags can be visually unappealing and disrupt the overall visual look of your content, which is undoubtedly important. Keep it clean and organised to keep your readers engaged with the content. Sometimes it’s the simple things that matter, and in this case, don’t overload your hashtags and if you can, keep them separate from your copy, as a separate section below. Stop Distracting! Following on from the last point, keeping your aesthetics on point and your hashtags to a minimum will help stop distracting your readers. Us internet goers like to click a lot, to go from page to page and post to post. We want quick and instant content and using lots of hashtags in your caption can easily cause users to click on them and find themselves looking at other content that’s not even yours. Clarity in your message will enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, and a bunch of shiny blue hashtags can often result in this message being totally ignored. Remember, in the world of social media, it's the quality of your content that will truly set you apart. The hashtag is a powerful tool, but as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Be careful how many you use, where you use them and consider how relevant they are. Only then can you harness their true potential!