Whether you are on any social media platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you see hashtags everywhere and being a marketer, you can’t simply ignore them. Although Twitter is credited to have come up with the first social media hashtag use when a social technology expert, Chris Messina, used the hashtag #barcamp in his tweet. Now, hashtags are used by millions regularly on social media platforms. In this Instagram hashtag guide, we will try to cover up the basics of hashtag and will guide you through the tips and tricks attached to it.
Because of the widespread use of hashtags in more than 85% of the top traffic driving websites and social media networks, in 2014, the word hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
A hashtag is a word or unspaced phrase placed after the “#” symbol which allows users to apply user-generated dynamic tagging to categorize a specific content or theme. For a technical point, a hashtag is a type of metadata tag that boosts the discoverability of your content. Anyone who searches or clicks on the hashtag will see the page with all the posts tagged with that hashtag. Hashtags, when used strategically, help your posts reach a new audience, attract potential followers, increase engagement, and build your brand recognition.
How Hashtags matter on Instagram
Every day, nearly 95 million photos are posted on Instagram, and the like button is hit more than 4 billion times. On a social platform like Instagram, which has a highly engaging audience base, delivering the post to the right audience and making it stand out, is a challenging task. This is where hashtags come to rescue and increase the visibility of your post. Instagram posts with even a single well-defined hashtag gain 12.6% more engagement than a post with no hashtag.
Instagram hashtags are powerful, and when used strategically, they can skyrocket your business to new heights.
Categories of hashtags to use on Instagram
1. Content hashtags
Content hashtags are directly related to your product service, industry, or area of expertise. These hashtags will not necessarily define your brand or business but relate to the content of your post. Content hashtags improve the SEO of your post as your post gets more exposure when Instagram users search for or using the hashtag words. These can be broadly categorized into product hashtags, Lifestyle hashtags, event hashtags, and location hashtags.
2. Trending hashtags
Trending hashtags are the most popular hashtags used on Instagram and continuously change in real-time. These hashtags trend and often go within minutes or more. Using trending hashtags in your post can potentially increase the chances of being seen by a massive audience.
3. Brand-specific hashtags
Using popular or more generic hashtags can make you post seem lost in the noise on other Instagram posts using the same hashtags. It a good idea if you create your own brand hashtags. Brand-specific hashtags can be the name of your company, a short motto or tagline that is unique to your business. The brand hashtag should be pretty short, easy to remember and appealing. For example, Kit Kat uses #haveabreak and it’s consumers regularly post on with the hashtag.
Instagram hashtags strategies to promote your business
- Searching hashtags: Type keyword related to your brand or business in the Instagram search bar and select the “TAGS” tab. This will show all the related hashtags with the number of posts tagged with it.
- Use hashtags wisely and avoid irrelevant hashtags: Instagram allows using up to 30 hashtags on a post. This does not necessarily mean you have to overload your post with hashtags, which makes it look spammy. Figure out what hashtags will yield maximum exposure of your post.
According to TrackMaven analysis, Instagram posts with nine hashtags gain maximum engagement. Typically, most of the brands use 3-6 related hashtags in their Instagram posts.
- Include your hashtags in your first comment: avoid overcrowding of your caption for the sake of targeting tags, use hashtags in the very first comment after your post on Instagram.
- Add some separators while posting hashtags in the caption: You can separate the caption from the hashtags by using some form of separators such as period(.), bullet points or emojis.
- Add hashtag links in your bio: adding hashtags in your profile’s bio is a great way to boost engagements and collect user-generated content.
- Use hashtags in Instagram stories: adding hashtags in your Instagram stories gives you an opportunity to reach an undiscovered audience. Instagram users will be able to see all the recent stories on the search page of that particular hashtag.
- Find related hashtags: Instagram gives you more ways to find relevant hashtags, which gives you the chance to target a more filtered audience.
- Use geographical tags: Geographical tags or location tags are great to reach a local, regional audience. Using location tags help small business find its target market in the local community. Posts with geographical tags have a higher engagement rate than those without one.
- Browse topic channel hashtags: Under the explore section of Instagram, you will find different categories of posted content. These recommended channels show the most viewed relevant hashtags based on user’s Instagram behavior.
- Do a competitive analysis: Keep an eye on influencers and other businesses that share your target audience. Maybe you will discover new hashtags to add to your arsenal.
- Use daily hashtags: you can boost engagement around your content and interact with the audience daily by using daily hashtags such as #MondayBlues #TuesdayMotivation #FridayFeeling and more.
- Monitor your hashtag performance: if you have a business profile on Instagram, you can monitor and analyze the performance of the hashtag under “View Insights.”
We hope that this Instagram Hashtag Guide will help you a lot whenever you are going to post on Instagram. Feel free to share your experiences and suggestions in the comment section below.
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Vishal is a tech writer for Vidooly and a fan of everything related to Android. He loves exploring the nexus between tech, culture, space, and politics. He lies awake at night pondering over the myriad facets of life while also having an adventurous side to him. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sci-fi and drama series, reading psychology/politics fiction and playing brain games.