Understanding Tags in Social Media: The Ultimate Guide

The key to understanding the basics of Social Media is by knowing the significance of a tag.
A Tag enables a user to mention/engage other users/companies etc. to a post/comment/account of theirs. Generally, Tags are represented symbols and there might be variations of them but the ones we are used to the most are the symbols '@' and '#'.


Purpose of Tags on Social Media

Tags are used to associate user accounts/other business accounts to a post of another user account. Tagging accounts can also be done through the comments on the concerned post. These Tags notify a user when they have been mentioned on a post/comment, resulting in their engagement with the post.

Almost all Social Media Platforms support the tag feature. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook all use the '@' feature while they support the hashtags too.

What is the difference between '@' and '#' tags?

While the '@' tag is usually used to mention a person specifically, hashtags are considered to be of a more general category. Hashtags are used to gain the attention of many people at once. They are common tags where numerous users can link their posts to. Hashtags are also generally used for linking posts to new trends to bring in more engagement from other users.

Why are tags considered necessary?

In the case of business firms, having a social media presence is very necessary. For them to do well, gaining support can be achieved through posting on social media with mentioning various tags which are relevant to the cause. Tags for trends are also utilized by social media personalities for a higher engagement level and publicity. Whereas, some might post content that does not belong to them. They then prefer to mention the actual owner of the content and with the appropriate hashtags, the post might do well along with providing credits to the original creator.

How to utilize the '@' tag feature?

When utilized wisely, the mention tag can help gain an account (its post/comment) more exposure. While these tags are also used to gain the attention of a community or a single person, it is appropriate to use these tags.
Be it tagging someone for giving them props or to gain their attention, using mention tags is the most simple and effective method.

mention tags

How to utilize the '#' tag feature?

Adding a hashtag to a post/comment that is pertinent to a current event or trending topic is a great way to take part in discussions online.
Hashtags help categorize posts and draw the attention of the targeted community/people. You can use this feature for tweets, posts, etc. to bring light to certain topics of interest.

hash tags

Which tag is better- '@' or '#'?

Since the roles of each of these tags have been explained, it is fruitless to argue over which tag yields better results. Both the tags have different purposes with different attributes and they work efficiently as they are. You might wonder why the tags are similar but also perform different functions from one another. This is because the main goal of the @ tags is to mention accounts- one tag along with each username whereas, #s are more of a marginal link between the different criteria.

How can one misuse these tags?

There are various scenarios where we witness the misuse of these features on various social media platforms. There are instances where spammer profiles mention loads of users in a comment or a fake giveaway post which annoys the tagged people. Similarly, the usage of hashtags not relevant to the content of the post. This leads to the misguidance of the audience. Therefore, to avoid such circumstances, there are a few measures one can take:
•Unable random people to mention you in a post/irrelevant comment.
•Do not let sketchy accounts view/follow your account
•Make sure there is a filter applied according to your interests to view posts of that topic only.

The Origin of Hashtags

Hashtags are now used in almost every social media platform but little do people know that it was Twitter that made it famous! Twitter has played a huge role in contributing to the widespread use of tags all around the world. Moreover, it has provided a way to organize content according to its type which made audiences of a particular trend much more interested to see the content of their liking.
Since the creation of this tag, content sharing, and media posting have become accessible and simple to all users of social media.

Here are a Few Social Media Applications and how tags Can be Used in Them


The '@' feature on Instagram is used to refer to an account through a post/ story/comment.
The '#' feature on Instagram is used to categorize the post based on its content into the right criterion.


The '@' tags again are used to link an account to the post/snap.
Unfortunately, Snapchat does not support the usage of hashtags.


People on Facebook are mentioned using the mention (@) tag whereas, posts are categorized using Hashtags (#)


Supports both tags since Twitter was the one to introduce them to the world.

What is a Geotag?

Lastly, coming to Geotags -tags that make the location known to a user through a post. It is usually stated so the audience of the account belonging to that region can engage with it.
This function is extremely useful for small businesses that offer services within a limited geographical area since it allows you to reach a specific audience based on their location.

geo tags

Concluding the article, these tags make socializing way easier than we ever could have thought. Now knowing the importance and the purposes of these tags, you're good to socialize and make the right use of these tags through your platforms. Happy Safe Socializing!