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A 2024 Approach to Using Hashtags

As social media has evolved, so has the way we use hashtags. Once considered a key factor in boosting post reach, many people now believe hashtags have become an outdated practice. However, I’m here to argue that if used strategically, hashtags can still provide a significant impact on your social media presence.

Hashtags have always been a tool for categorising content, making it easier for users to find topics that interest them. However, the way we use hashtags has changed over the years. What was once a general practice of including as many related hashtags as possible has now shifted towards using fewer hashtags, but with more strategic intent.

Traditionally, hashtags were chosen based on relevant keywords directly related to the content being shared. While this approach still has its merits, it overlooks an essential factor—the preferences and search habits of the target audience. To truly engage and reach our intended viewers, we must cater to their interests and needs. For instance, if we aim to educate our audience about making investment decisions and smart financial practices, it means that our potential audience would most likely be the big spenders, or an audience of luxury aficionados. For this, instead of using generic hashtags like #investment or #financialwisdom, we should consider using hashtags such as #luxuryliving or #lifestylegoals. These are the hashtags of which our audience would most likely be active on. This way, aligning our hashtags increases the likelihood of our posts being discovered by the right audience.

The concept of reaching out to our audience where they are, rather than expecting them to seek us out, is crucial in today’s saturated social media landscape. An example that highlights this approach is a piece of content I recently stumbled upon by a Nigerian Instagram influencer who advises against leaving the country (Japa) and encourages them to focus on personal growth within the nation. Instead of employing hashtags such as #japa or #newlife, which pertain to leaving Nigeria, the influencer used hashtags that resonate with Nigerians aspiring to work abroad, such as #carejobsuk or #jobsabroad. By doing so, the influencer tapped into the desires and aspirations of their audience, effectively connecting with them on a more personal level.

When hashtags are utilised strategically, they have the potential to significantly enhance the visibility of our content. The key lies in understanding our target audience’s preferences, aspirations, and search habits. By aligning our hashtags with their interests, we create a direct bridge between our content and their desires, increasing the chances of our posts being noticed and shared. This strategic approach also helps us differentiate our content from the overwhelming volume of similar posts vying for attention on social media platforms.

While it is crucial to cater to our audience’s interests, it is equally important to maintain relevance to the content we are sharing. Hashtags should accurately represent the core message and essence of our posts. Straying too far from the content’s central theme may result in misleading impressions and ultimately disappoint our audience. Therefore, a delicate balance must be struck, where hashtags align with the audience’s interests while remaining pertinent to the content’s purpose.

To wrap it up, I would suggest that when using hashtags, it’s not so much about the number of hashtags as it is about the relevance of the hashtags used. By analysing the interests of your audience, you can choose relevant and strategic hashtags that will improve your overall visibility and engagement. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by researching the hashtags your competitors and influencers in your industry are using. Hashtags are still a valuable practice – just use them strategically!

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