Instagram hashtags should be part of your marketing strategy. It is one of the ways to be “found” which leads to more follows, more engagement, and then more business. If you want to be seen on Instagram, you have to use hashtags.
Hashtags work by categorizing your content, so selecting the right hashtags will add your post to that hashtag’s page. This allows viewers to find your post if it is a hashtag category they are interested in.
Users can find content by searching by hashtags and also by tapping through related posts of a particular hashtag.
Three types of hashtags to use
There are 3 types of hashtags you will want to use for your business Instagram.They each serve a purpose.
Community hashtags connect like-minded users to a specific topic. For example #beautylashes will direct users to posts about this subject. This is a way for you to connect with others, improve your post searchability, and grow your community with new followers.
Using a variety of hashtags will enable you to be seen in different communities, increasing your reach. If you aren’t sure what community hashtags to use, check out your competition to see what hashtags they are using.
If you aren’t sure where to find these community-oriented hashtags, begin by looking at your audience and the favorite accounts they are following. What hashtags are they using? If they are using them, that means they are also searching them.
A branded hashtag is an original hashtag that you create specifically for your business. You might simply use your business name, a tagline, or the name of one of your products. You should use this on all of your posts and in your bio.
To build your brand you can ask your audience to use your branded hashtag.
Campaign hashtags are used for specific offers or product launches. Carefully planned hashtags can help more people find and share your offer. When you select your hashtag be sure it’s original, easy to remember, and easily relatable to your product or offer.
Niche down your hashtags. When selecting hashtags, dig deep. Don’t just add the first thing that pops into your mind. A frequently used hashtag, like #beauty, reaches millions of viewers, but will likely leave your brand lost in an overwhelming sea of other businesses.
Niching down further will likely result in more viewers. It’s okay to use a few broader hashtags, but they should be minimal. Also, be sure your hashtags speak the language of your audience.
Do some research. Check and see what kind of hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are using and use those as guidelines for your own hashtag use. If it is wording for your competitors or if users are using it, it should work for you too.
You can also go to the search and type in your hashtag, and then see what other hashtag suggestions appear in the dropdown when you select “tags.” The more hashtags you use that are of interest to your audience, the more your audience and thus, your business will grow.
Avoid “spammy” looking posts. To avoid making your post caption look too spammy with a ton of hashtags, you can put hashtags in your first comment. This allows your caption to grab attention and still allows you to acquire audience engagements.
It is recommended that your main key hashtags be used in the caption because those will get indexed immediately. You can then stuff the others in the comment. They will still be recognized by Instagram, but as people comment, they will get moved further down the comment feed and will be less obtrusive.
Use local hashtags. If you have a brick and mortar business you must use local hashtags to reach your local audience. It doesn’t matter how large your audience is because if they live far away, they will never visit your store.
Common questions about using hashtags:
Q: How many hashtags should I use?
A: That depends on the post and your intent. Instagram allows 30 hashtags, but it is unlikely you need that many. Be selective in your hashtag use and make sure they are reaching your targeted audience. Some research has shown that 11 is a good number to increase your engagement, while others claim around 5. Your best bet is to see what works for you and your brand. What does your audience respond to?
Q: Can I just copy and paste my hashtags?
A: It’s best to, again, be strategic. Make sure your hashtag matches the post and is targeted to the desired audience. If all of your hashtags are the same for every post you are sending a “spammy” signal that your content isn’t new or original. This can actually reduce your reach and tell Instagram that nobody wanted to see your content.
Q: Can I add hashtags to other people’s posts?
A: No. Any hashtags posted in comments are not added to the hashtag feed.
Q: Can I add hashtags to old posts?
A: It can be done, however, it will not increase your reach, so it’s not worth your time.
When you go to the time and effort to use Instagram as a marketing tool for your business, you want to use hashtags to your advantage. No use, haphazard use, or misuse of hashtags will hurt your business and all of your hard work will create results.
The tips and guidelines here should lead to an increase in followers and engagement. In the social media marketing world that translates into more business. Happy hashtagging!
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