“What’s the deal with #hashtags?”


You can almost hear Jerry Seinfeld’s nasally voice in your head. All joking aside though, their usage seems to be extremely arbitrary, especially when it comes to individual social media platforms and the users themselves. Recent studies have shown that topics without a hashtag trend higher than their hashtag equivalent. All of that begs the question, do we need hashtags at all? Before we can answer that we need to understand from where the hashtag originated.



The history of hashtag use in social media goes back 10 years to 2007, where it was used on Twitter for the first time as a way to organize during a time where social media search left a lot to be desired. In addition to the searchability and categorizing qualities, it also could be used to add further context to Twitter’s restrictive 140 character limit.

The hashtag caught on rapidly on Twitter, and soon it started to make its way to rival platforms. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all wanted a piece of the hash-action and hashtags became even more plentiful. Eventually, marketers wanted to get in on the action too and the hashtag began to take on a life of its own.



Now, after nearly 10 years in use, let’s take a look at the State of the Hashtag across the five major social media platforms. Do they work at all, and if so – which platforms embrace them best?


You can load up your posts and comments with as many hashtags as you like on Snapchat. The problem is Snapchat doesn’t offer a search option, and there is no way to track hashtags or to categorize them, rendering hashtags mostly useless on Snapchat. Bash the hash!


LinkedIn has had a love/hate relationship with hashtags in the past, but right now, it’s in love. With its makeover in early 2017 came a new emphasis on categorizing hashtags and utilizing them through the search option. A recent study by B2C shows that posts with a hashtag saw a 11% jump in reach and a 17% increase in interactions. Both are modest gains but gains nonetheless. The verdict? Utilize hashtags on LinkedIn.


Hashtags never really caught on for Facebook users. Hashtags don’t offer your content much value, and they may actually hurt your organic reach. A recent BuzzSumo study found that Facebook posts featuring a hashtag attracted only 70% of the organic reach of posts that did not feature a hashtag. According to a recent report from contact us. Or, click around our site to see all of the other ways we help we help our clients outsmart, outmessage and outmarket larger competitors, to steal their most profitable customers.


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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