I used to think that hashtags were just cute, witty tags that describe what you post. Well……they can be. But they can also be a powerful tool in your Instagram Strategy.
Research shows that posting content with at least one hashtag can average 12.6% more engagement than content without. These little tags help your posts get discovered by a wider audience, attract new followers, and help improve your brand image. So why aren’t you using hashtags in every post?
Chances are you’re a little shaky on which hashtags to use. I get it! While hashtags can help your business see mad growth, you need a hashtag strategy. So let’s figure that out for you!
Do you really need hashtags?
As much as I’d love to believe the adage “if you build it, they will come,” it’s not always so easy! There’s a lot of competition out there! With 95 million posts being shared on Instagram every day, you need to get your content in front of your ideal customer, and that’s not always easy! Instagram hashtags help your posts to appear in front of your target audience, but only if you know what they are searching for.
Think of Instagram as a searchable catalog of posts….almost similar to a google search engine. And potential followers and customers are searching on Instagram. These are keywords that you can use as hashtags to find the right target audience as well as build a connection with potential followers. The question is, how do you know which hashtags your ideal audience is searching for?
Well, first there are 3 different types of IG Hashtags:
· Popular hashtags
· Specific/Niche hashtags
· Branded hashtags
Popular Hashtags are the easiest to spot and the easiest to use. They almost come naturally nowadays. There are popular tags and phrases that are present in millions of posts. Think: #tbt or #instagood….sometimes simple words like #love and #inspiration are in this category too.
There are MILLIONS of people using popular hashtags, which makes it more difficult for you to stand out. But when you use a few popular hashtags it does help your content get discovered by a potentially broader audience. And, since Instagram users can follow their favorite hashtags, you should include some in your arsenal.
Specific or Niche Hashtags
Choosing more “niche” Instagram hashtags (ones that aren’t used by as many people) than popular tags might feel like you’re going to appeal to less people. However, the truth is that you’re simply making sure that you’re attracting the right people. 10,000 people searching for something specific are more likely to support your business than the 10 million people using popular hashtags.
How do you “niche down?” Start by looking at the broad industry hashtags and narrow down from there. For instance, there are almost 30 Million posts with #marketing, but #socialmediamarketing is just over 8 million. Even smaller is #instagrammarketing, with only 530,000. Smaller numbers using a hashtag, doesn’t mean that the potential for a future customer is smaller.
You can create your own branded Instagram hashtags to give credibility to your identity, or organization. Ideally, your brand tags should be included in all of your captions, so your followers see them on a regular basis and can even start using them too, if they wish. But keep in mind, that branded hashtags don’t need to be the name of your company. Often the best ones are short, simple and easy to recall. Take Coca-Cola, for instance: #shareacoke.
Putting It All Together
So how do you find the right recipe? You can use up to 30 Hashtags. While you don’t need to use all 30, use a mix of popular, niche and branded. Experiment with different combinations. Then look back at your most successful posts. Which hashtags did you use? Next, take a look at what your competition is using. Also, and finally, look in the search bar of Instagram and discover new hashtags. And remember, you don’t need to use the same one each time. Keep a core group in the notes on your phone and you can copy and paste it into your posts and add new and other ones from there!