Category : Instagram, Youtube, Forums
You might already be using hashtags in your Instagram captions and comments, or you might be skipping those for now. Whether you’re trying to boost your impact or get started, these tips will help you to hashtag like the professional! Here are eight tips to master your Instagram hashtag game.
1. Do your hashtag research
First and foremost, it is important to realize that the art of hashtagging is much more than simply adding the hash sign in front of words you think of. To use hashtags in your Instagram content in a meaningful and effective way you need to do your research. So where to start? Here are a few ideas…
- Use online tools: There are tons of tools out there—like RiteTag, ExportTweet, and Hashtagify—that will give you data on what hashtags are popular.
- Start searching: Type hashtag ideas into the Instagram search bar and see what autofills.
- Check your competitors: See what your competition is doing, as well as brands and account that your target audience is likely following. Getting inspiration from other accounts can be super helpful to gain an understanding of what hashtags are trending (more on this in tip #3!).
The key to selecting good hashtags is to ensure they are on target with your target audience’s interests, and popular but not overly popular—you don’t want to get lost in the clutter. You know the kid in school who wasn’t considered “popular,” but was well-liked and known amongst many groups? You want that fall into a similar arena with your hashtag game.
“We’ve noticed that the more niche the topic, the more conversations users are having around it, so it pays off to really hone in on a topic or theme,” says Benjamin Chacon from Later.
2. Don’t over hashtag
While it might be tempting to hashtag your little heart away on each post, it isn’t good to go overboard on hashtags. When it comes to having more of an impact with your hashtag game, it can actually pay off more to be picky. In fact, research has found that the optimal number of hashtags per post is 11.
While Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, your time is better spent researching and using a handful of super effective hashtags rather than stockpiling a ton of tags per post.
Hashtags and burgers better in moderation.
“Tossing 30 hashtags on a post only does so much-especially for businesses,” says Alex York from Sprout Social. “It gets to #overkill pretty quickly. And if your brand isn’t focusing on the right questions or goals, all of this seems a bit worthless to invest your valuable marketing time.”
3. Get inspired by other Instagrammers in your industry
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spying on your competition from time to time. In fact, when it comes to hashtagging this can be a super useful investigative activity. Joining in on trendy industry topic hashtags and finding niche industry-related tags that your audience is likely following can be insanely beneficial for upping your hashtag game.
Take this food blogger, Restoring Radiance, for example. Below, you can see that she posted a picture of her yogurt, and rather than using simple hashtags, like #yogurt or #breakfast, she used many hashtags mentioning other brands that her target audience is likely following like #f52grams and #foodgawker.
Why not take a page from her book and use some popular industry hashtags in your next Instagram post?
4. Create your own hashtag campaigns
The cool thing about hashtagging is that you aren’t restricted to using other hashtags that have already been used. You can get creative and build a campaign around your very own branded hashtag. This can take your brand to an entirely new level if done in a creative and engaging way.
Take the unforgettable #IceBucketChallenge. The marketing team for the ALS Association was able to raise awareness with this hashtag campaign, but they also raised a substantial amount of money ($115 million to be exact!). Think about how you can do something similar by getting your followers to WANT to use your hashtag, which will help spread brand awareness about your business to other Instagrammers.
5. Keep your hashtags consistent—but not too consistent
As discussed above, it is important to research your hashtags for each post and ensure you aren’t using hashtags that are overly popular. If you do, your posts are likely to get lost in the sea of other hashtagged post. But should you be using a new set of five to 10 hashtags for every single post you compose?
The answer is no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with re-using the same well-researched, highly targeted hashtags if those are what appeal to your audience. In fact, you should keep a note handy so you can easy copy and paste your commonly used hashtags into new posts. However, spicing things up a bit is also encouraged. For example, use the same five or so on-brand hashtags, but add in a few new ones that are even more relevant to the photograph or video you are sharing. Relevancy is critical when it comes to hashtag use: If someone is exploring a hashtag and your super irrelevant post pops up, it could make the entire brand look un-reputable.
6. Build a giveaway around a branded hashtag
Everyone loves free stuff. This is just simple human nature. I find myself entering Instagram giveaways on the daily to win cookbooks of chefs and bakers I follow. Often, these giveaways are quite simple to enter. The brand will post about giving away a copy of whichever cookbook and ask you to tag a friend in the comments to enter. While this is a super easy and doable way to give something away, why not take it a step further with a branded hashtag?
Take the example below from Talalla Retreat, a beach-front resort that emphasizes yoga. Rather than just having users like and tag someone in the comments, their contest required folks to post a picture with the hashtag #WINTalalla. What I love about this type of giveaway is that it is still easy to enter, but it’s going to get so many more eyes on your brand since those entering have to share a photo to their entire followers list while using the branded hashtag.
7. Use hashtagging to connect
Another wonderful thing about hashtags is that they are a great way to connect with others and build a community. Keeping an eye on trending hashtags can help you discover new partners and engage those who are in your target market. Building an Instagram marketing campaign around a hashtag can also be a super useful way to partner up with a related brand. This will help you gain even more exposure, since this partner brand will be posting about your company to their entire audience.
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