Marketing on Instagram? Here’s how to play the #hashtag game!
Millions of people post billions of pictures on Instagram every day and hope to stand out from the crowd.
While most of them yearn for more followers, a lot of them are not willing to do the hard work – what makes an Instagram account great?
How does the Instagram algorithm work? How to click photos that get likes? What hashtags to use? And so on…
Today, we’ll be looking at how to use hashtags effectively on Instagram to make your product/service/brand become more discoverable in the humongous sea of posts.
How to select #Hashtags for Instagram
What are hashtags?
Hashtags are popular or unique words (or string of words) preceded by the hash symbol (#) used to distinguish posts of a particular category and make them generally more searchable and discoverable by anyone who types in the hashtag(s).
Hashtags are clickable and are used on mostly all social media platforms in order to segregate posts and make them more discoverable by users.
They not only generate more engagement but also results in an increase in follower count – especially on Instagram with their recent “follow hashtags” update.
How to use hashtags for Instagram success
Suppose you are a restaurant brand who’s trying to increase your brand value by tapping into new customers via Instagram.
You can use popular hashtags such as #Instayum and #Instafood in your posts to grab the attention of foodies on the platform who could stumble on your post through the discover section or by generally following the hashtags!
If you’re new to Instagram and Instagram marketing, finding the right hashtags for your brand could be a daunting task.
But, once you’re through with this article, not only will you know how to find the right hashtags for your business but you will also know how to use hashtags effectively for marketing!
How To Find The Right Hashtags
In marketing, a hit-or-miss strategy is never a good decision. Here are some of the ways you can choose the right hashtags for your brand:
1: Conduct a keyword analysis
Keyword analysis is great for your overall SEO strategy and is also great to find hashtags that will supplement your SEO! A keyword used as a hashtag is a recipe for success. This is because a lot of people already use those hashtags – in fact, keywords are the most popular hashtags in every industry.
For instance, if you are selling fitness related products, the most popular hashtag for your niche is #fitness. All other hashtags are nowhere close to its popularity. Using hashtags according to your keyword analysis not only saves time, but also gives you wider reach.
2: Think about your target audience
Determining your target audience early on helps to narrow down the list of possible hashtags. Who is your target audience? What do they look like? What do they love? And so on.
Understanding your audience is the first step to any marketing strategy. It helps you to put yourself in their shoes to understand what they want, what they need, and what kind of content they interact with. Once you know your audience profile, you simply have to look for their interests on Instagram using that hashtag.
For example, if your audience loves music, go basic by just searching #music. If they like food, search for #food. Eventually, you will come across more targeted hashtags that are popular and fit your brand perfectly. For instance, if you are an upcoming café, #coffee, #coffeelover or #coffeeaddict would be more suited to your brand and your target audience than #food.
3: Research your competitors
Studying your competitors will give you great insights on how they use hashtags for your particular industry. What popular/specific hashtags do they use? Are they getting good traction on their posts due to their hashtag use? Have they created brand-specific hashtags?
Researching your competitors is a great way to get started with Instagram marketing while you work your way through understanding the platform and figuring out the best hashtags to use.
4: Research the influencers
Influencers are people on the internet who are followed by a lot of users. Therefore, they can “influence” their followers to use a product or buy a service. If you spend enough time researching hashtags or in the discover section of Instagram, you will find the influencers in – or related to – your industry. Influencers have a following from a few thousand to more than a million!
Studying influencer accounts can give you a good idea of the hashtags they use to attract more users and how often they use these hashtags.
5: Find popular hashtags
Instagram will recommend some of the popular related hashtags you can use. They do this when you type a hashtag in the search box or when you are typing it in your post.
Another great way to find popular hashtags by simply running a google search! There are many articles and blogs that will give you popular hashtags for Instagram. There are also various free tools online that allow you to find out the popularity of hashtags as well as related hashtags.
Hashtag tips for your page
1: Create your own unique hashtag
If you want to increase your brand value, it’s a good idea to create your own hashtag. You can create new hashtags for the brand, specific products, specific posts, contests, and for any other strategy you want to try.
Use your brand, product, or campaign name within your hashtag for best results and ensure that your hashtag is catchy. Do not hesitate to promote a well-performing hashtag on other mediums as well such as TV and offline.
2: Use locality – based hashtags
Locality-based hashtags are great for local brands or for local branches of big companies. Since a lot of people actively look for what’s happening in their vicinity, it’s a great way to reach out to such social media users and make them your customers.
You can go as broad (#Mumbai) or as narrow (#MarineLines) as you’d like! You could also use hashtags such as #Mumbaikar, #IgersMumbai, etc. to reach out to the locals. If you don’t want to waste a hashtag using this, you could always add a location to your posts!
3: Use one generic hashtag
While brand-specific hashtags take time to work, there is no dearth of generic, popular hashtags on Instagram that you can use to your advantage! You could go day specific and post accordingly too. For instance, #WednesdayWisdom and #TuesdayMotivation are very popular.
4: Use hashtags in your bio
Instagram’s new update allows you to put in hashtags and tag other accounts in your profile’s bio or description. Accordingly, use the space to link your profile to key hashtags for your brand. For example, if you teach digital marketing, you can put #digitalmarketing in your bio. That way your account’s visibility increases for that hashtag search.
However, note that there is a character limit on your bio. So, you cannot put in a lot of hashtags and putting only hashtags could look spammy. Our best recommendation is to stick to one or two hashtags that best match your brand’s offerings.
Basic hashtag etiquettes
1: Keep the first letter of every word capital
If you are creating a unique hashtag for your brand, always capitalise the first letter in order to improve readability. Otherwise, your hashtag could be completely misinterpreted by your audience leading to an embarrassing situation for you!
2: Don’t create excessively long hashtags
When it comes to hashtags, short always works best. For instance, Amazon Fashion India’s #LastDayOfWardrobeRefreshSale just does not sound appealing. Instead, #WardrobeRefreshSale could have been used as it is easier to read.
3: Make it easy to remember
Hashtags are always created for engagement. Brands want online users to use their hashtags. That is why it is important to keep your brand hashtag simple and easy to remember.
For instance, #LetsGoNatural is perfect for a brand using nature’s ingredients to create its products. It’s easy to remember and use by people in comparison to, say, #NaturesGoodnessInOurProducts.
4: Don’t use punctuation
Do not use apostrophes, question marks, exclamation marks, full stops, or ANY other punctuation points in your hashtag. They do not work and will simply break your hashtag. Case in point:
5: #Do #Not #Hashtag #Every #Word
It is not good practice to hashtag every word of your sentence. Not only is it repulsive, it’s also considered as spam.
6: Keep the words running continuously
Hashtags have no spaces in them. Hashtags are strings of words without spaces in between. That is how hashtags become clickable, identifiable and searchable.
7: Separate individual hashtags with spaces
However, after every hashtag, it is important to put spaces. This may not have any effect from a tech standpoint, but it looks easy on the eyes.
8: Use 2 – 5 hashtags only
It’s important to carve your own identity on social media with good posts and good captions instead of drowning your posts in a sea of hashtags. A lot of social media platforms give lower visibility to posts with many hashtags. For Instagram, use no more than 5 hashtags in your caption!
We hope this article was comprehensive for you and has given you clarity on how to use hashtags for your new Instagram page! Have more questions? Comment below!