According to RodiumOne, almost 75% of people use hashtags on social media. Undoubtedly, Instagram is one of the most popular, rapidly growing social media platforms. Criss Messina, a former Google employee has been officially credited to be the first man who used a hashtag in one of his posts in 2007, post which, hashtags gained popularity. Hashtags work quite similar to how google keywords do. It’s like a funnel that Instagram uses to sort content and deliver the posts closest to the hashtags put in the search engine. So, technically, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they have the power to pull in more followers and keep them engaged. With time, this trend promotes your brand and keeps your page up in the “#Instapopular” list! So, how exactly does one put hashtags to ensure they are getting its perks?
Here’s an exclusive checklist that would help you get that stardom your hard work deserves on Instagram right now.
How to Use Hashtags?
Hashtags are not simply some words that you put with the “#” mark. They’re more than that. Since they’re powerful in getting you on top and keeping you there, it is important that you understand how to use them. Following are some of the things to keep in mind before you start adding hashtags to your posts.
1. Organise Them
If yours is a small business or a startup, using an excel sheet is the best way to organise hashtags. Adding hashtags to the sheets will let you know how frequently a certain hashtag is being used besides letting you keep a track of the ones that bring in the most followers. Through this, you will also know what combination of hashtags have been the most popular and are working best for your brand. For advanced and growing businesses, Instagram analytics tools can be used for organising hashtag.
2. Keep the Number Consistent
91% if the top brands use a specific number of hashtags with their posts, mostly seven or less. But what works for the best brands may not for you. You will have to use the hit and trial method to know how many hashtags work best for your brand; it could be 5 or 25. In a couple of months, you will know what is the number of hashtags that your brand has the best chance with. And for that, you need to keep testing the hashtags and a combination of them to narrow down the most relevant ones.
3. Match Your Brand With Your Hashtags
It’s not uncommon to be tempted to use hashtags with a broad audience, such as “#marketing”. It might show an increase in the number of likes and followers, but it fades away soon as you dive in a huge pool of brands to compete with who also use the same hashtags. Hence, it’s better to keep your hashtags closest to what your brand is about and its interests. When your hashtags are specific, they give the audience a pool of posts that are exactly what they want. Therefore, user engagement and narrower competition circle are the big wins here.
4. Be Aware of What Others are Doing
Well, this isn’t the best advice in normal daily circumstances but when it comes to marketing your brand, it’s better to know what others are doing. Make a list of your competitors and followers and look at the hashtags they’ve used. In doing so, you will easily identify the ones who have a huge fan following. Such people usually have the best hashtags that you may also use in your posts. Besides the hashtags, you will also know what improvements are needed to deliver quality content that these influencers have done to bag such a huge list of followers.
5. Find Out More Hashtags and Follow Your Own
If you’re not in a position to use more advanced tools, simply use Instagram’s search engines to find the trending hashtags. When you put a certain search term or keyword on Instagram, it gives you a list of hashtags with the most and least number of posts in the dropdown menu. Once you click on a hashtag, the next page shows you more hashtags related to that one and so on. This is how you get a list of hashtags to use on your posts. Another thing that you can do is to follow your own hashtag. This way, it is easier to know whenever it is being used by others and you can follow them. Once they check out your page, your content will make them decide whether to follow you back or not.
6. Try a Hashtag For Your Brand Campaign
This is one of the best ways to make your followers remember your brand. It demands a little creativity but gives you the sweetest fruits! The agenda behind a campaign hashtag is to engage your followers with your brand through a catchy, easy to memorise hashtag. For instance, the recent campaign hashtags used by Coca-Cola, KFC, and Domino’s UK were #MarchIsMadness, #SecretRecipeForSuccess, and #OfficialFoodOf, respectively.
Some brands also encourage their followers to participate in the contest, use that hashtag and ask a few friends to follow them in order to get the reward. This is tricky, but if you’re sure that your content is entertaining/knowledgable enough, you will see the inflow of more followers.
7. Trending Hashtags
Here’s a list of the most popular hashtags that might be useful for your brand to bloom on Instagram. Let’s take inbound marketing and marketing automation as examples:
And this is how we searched for them:
These hashtags are being used by hundreds and thousands of inbound marketers across the world but the caution you need to take before using them is to not copy-paste the same hashtags for all your posts. Use specific hashtags following the practices mentioned above. To make your posts appear neater, you can add the hashtags in the comments section as opposed to the caption. No, it doesn’t affect your promotion in any way.
What's your hashtag strategy? Do you use any specific tools? Let us know in the comments below.