The online environment has really flipped the world on its head. What used to be known as the number symbol, has now become a way to advertise, navigate, search, discover and index.
Hashtags are one of the main ways your business can be found on Instagram. this generally happens three main ways.
Follows: Users can follow hashtags that interest them on instagram. If you then use this hashtag in your caption (or the first comment on the post) you may show up in newsfeeds, even if a user isn’t following you.
Searches: Users may search for a particular item or service using a relevant hashtag. This is where it’s important to make sure your content is consistently excellent, as users will decide whether your brand is trustworthy within 2 seconds it helps to stand out in a sea of squares.
Explore: The explore page appears when a user clicks the search icon. It’s a customized feed of photos and videos instagram thinks each particular user may be interested in. To reach the explore page, your content has to be deemed valuable by the almighty Instagram algorithm. Which basically means, get more engagement. Likes, shares, saves, comments etc. Using hashtags can help you reach a wider audience, which leads to more engagement and help land you on the explore page.
A numbers game
You can use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post, These can be used at the end of the caption or as the first comment. In stories you can use up to 11 hashtags, these can be typed and placed anywhere. I like to make the text the same colour as the background using the eye dropper tool, shrink till they’re invisible and then post. This means the hashtags don’t affect the appearance of my story, but they still help my content show up for users who aren’t currently a follower. For Instagram I recommend using the maximum allowed hashtags.
Hashtags are not as useful on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social platforms, so should be used more sparingly. On these channels 2-3 hashtags max should be used.
Dont be #that person
Using #hashtags in the #middle of #sentences is #outdated and makes #copy #hard to read.
On Instagram hashtags should be placed out of the way in the first comment. On other platforms think of them as more of a stamp at the end of a post, using humour or irony can be useful.
Finding a good recipe
Nailing the right combination of hashtags takes time, and what works one day may not be as effective the next.
Your hashtag strategy should be evolving regularly. Take some time each month to review the analytics and find out which hashtags are working for you. Check the hashtags you’ve used and whether you’re showing up in the top posts. Review, re-jig, repeat.
You should have several ‘sets’ of hashtags, ready to go, which complement the post you’re sharing. For example, we use a specific set when sharing examples of work, which is different from the set we use when sharing inspiration, and different again to the set we use when sharing quotes. If you’re having trouble coming up with a few sets, check out Best Hashtags. This website allows you to type in a hashtag and generates a list of related hashtags in order of popularity.
Are you currently using hashtags as part of your marketing strategy? Drop me a line and let me know!