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Should I Be Using Hashtags in 2024?

Laptop keyboard and lightbox with the word #Hashtag on display

Despite the constantly evolving nature of social media, you might be surprised to learn that one element remains constant: hashtags. Even with the emergence of new trends and features, hashtags aren't dead. They continue to play a pivotal role in online visibility and engagement in 2024. Every platform has its own best practices but hashtags are still a valuable component of your social media strategy and they can still be used to your advantage online.

As is true for every social media "hack" and "tip" out there, focusing on one element and getting it right can help your engagement and reach, but it is important to remember that hashtags are only one element in a whole list of ingredients that are needed for the recipe to work. High-quality hashtags are not strong enough to overrule rubbish content.

A Brief History of Hashtags:

In 2007, Chris Messina, a prominent figure in social media technology, introduced hashtags on Twitter. These little "#" symbols serve as digital labels, categorising content by topics or themes. They function as clickable links, gathering related posts into cohesive conversations. Since their inception, hashtags have become a cornerstone of social media, simplifying content discovery and fostering online discussions across various platforms.

Social Media Presentation of hashtag straegy

Why Are Hashtags Necessary and How Do They Work?

Hashtags serve multiple purposes in the online space:

  1. Enhanced Discoverability: Hashtags categorise content based on topics, allowing users to discover relevant discussions, trends, and communities. For example, I can enter my chosen keywords into the search function on Instagram and there is the option to view "Tags" which means all posts that contain the hashtag that I've searched for will be grouped so I can view all the relevant content quickly and easily in one place.

  2. Amplified Reach: By including hashtags, content becomes accessible to a broader audience beyond your immediate followers, increasing visibility and potential engagement.

  3. Community Building: Hashtags facilitate connections among users with shared interests, fostering engagement and conversation around specific topics or events. For example, the hashtag "Women Owned Business" has 4.2 million posts!

Hashtags function by collecting content containing the same hashtag into a single feed or conversation thread. Users can click on hashtags to explore related content and join ongoing discussions, making hashtags a dynamic tool for content discovery and engagement.

Optimal Amount of Hashtags for Different Platforms:

While the optimal number of hashtags varies across platforms, research suggests the following guidelines:

Mobile phone with social media apps
  • Twitter: 1-2 hashtags per tweet. Although hashtags were birthed on Twitter, it is a case of less is more in 2024.

  • Instagram: 11-20 hashtags per post is recommended out of the possible allowance of 30.

  • Facebook: 1-2 hashtags per post, with caution due to algorithm limitations. Facebook users tend to view hashtags as more of an irritation than anything else so less is more on this platform.

  • LinkedIn: 3-5 hashtags per post to increase visibility within relevant professional communities.

  • Tiktok: 3-5 hashtags per post are recommended due to the limited number of characters allowed in the caption.

Hashtag Strategy:

Crafting an effective hashtag strategy involves several key considerations:

  1. Relevance: Choose hashtags that are relevant to your content and target audience.

  2. Variety: Use a mix of popular and niche hashtags to maximise reach and engagement.

  3. Branding: Incorporate branded hashtags to cultivate brand identity and encourage user-generated content.

  4. Monitoring: Regularly monitor hashtag performance and adjust your strategy based on insights and trends.

When selecting hashtags for your content, it's crucial to strike a balance between relevance and reach. You'll need a mix of different categories of hashtags to maximize visibility while targeting your specific audience. These categories may include:

  1. Industry or Niche Specific: #fitness, #travel, #fashion, #foodie

  2. Location-Based: #NYC, #London, #LosAngeles, #Paris

  3. Event or Occasion: #ThrowbackThursday, #FlashbackFriday, #MondayMotivation, #TravelTuesday

  4. Trending or Viral: #TrendingNow, #ViralVideo, #ChallengeAccepted, #InfluencerMarketing

  5. Product or Service: #HealthyLiving, #BeautyTips, #TechNews, #DIYProjects

  6. Community or Interest Group: #BookLovers, #PetOwners, #PhotographyEnthusiasts, #OutdoorAdventure

  7. Inspiration or Quotes: #InspirationOfTheDay, #QuoteOfTheDay, #MotivationalQuotes, #WisdomWednesday

  8. Branded or Campaign Specific: #JustDoIt, #ShareACoke, #LikeAGirl, #ThinkDifferent

  9. Seasonal or Holiday: #SummerVibes, #WinterWonderland, #ValentinesDay, #HalloweenFun

  10. Health and Wellness: #SelfCareSunday, #MindfulnessMondays, #HealthyEating, #FitnessGoals

You can use trending hashtags relevant to current events or popular topics to tap into wider conversations, however, be wary of overly saturated hashtags used by millions, as your content may get lost in the sea of posts. Using hashtags with moderate to high engagement levels, indicates active communities and potential reach without overwhelming competition. In my experience, aiming for hashtags that have between 50,000 to 500,000 uses results in a healthy balance of visibility and discoverability.

Hashtag Recommendation Tools: Several online tools can aid in hashtag research, management, and analytics. I prefer to search within the platform itself that I am using and pay attention to the usage, but there are some popular options for more comprehensive support:

  • Hashtagify: Conduct in-depth hashtag research and track performance metrics.

  • Trendsmap: Explore trending Twitter hashtags and topics based on geographic location.

  • RiteTag: Analyse hashtag performance and receive real-time recommendations for optimal usage.

  • Sprout Social: Manage and schedule social media posts while monitoring hashtag performance and engagement metrics.

If you have used any of the above tools to support your hashtag strategy, feel free to let me know in the comments how effective you found it to be!

Hashtags are still an indispensable tool for enhancing visibility and fostering engagement in 2024. Remember to craft your hashtag strategy thoughtfully, incorporating a mix of relevant and trending hashtags while avoiding oversaturation. With the right approach, hashtags can serve as the bridge that connects you to a wider audience and propels your brand forward in the digital landscape.

Now you can hashtag with purpose and watch your online communities flourish!

For free live training on hashtags and a whole lot more detail, join my group to watch here!

Another option is to simply hand over your social media to a professional and let me take care of hashtags, content, strategy and all the other details for you. Click here to find out how you can work with me. Bespoke packages are also available!

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