The concept of hashtags started with Twitter which then surged to popularity with other social media platforms immediately adopting the idea. While Facebook still doesn’t have effective hashtags, Instagram seems to have mastered the usage of hashtags.
How is a hashtag used on social media?
A hashtag usually consists of the symbol ‘#” (hashtag) followed by numbers, alphabets comprised into words. This is used to categorize the platform’s content into multiple topics. Ideally, a user can click or search for #travel to view all travel-related content on the platform.
Hashtags are used by brands and users alike for wider reach and more engagement. With so many brands designing customized hashtags for their campaigns, a lot of businesses have understood the importance of it. Generic hashtags which are very frequently used have the potential to push your post to a wider audience whereas using a hashtag that is niche will reach a smaller targeted audience. We cannot compare the two and say one is better than the other. We can only suggest the usage of these hashtags in different posts.
Should your brand use hashtags?
Hashtags are vital drivers for finding an engaged audience for your brand’s content and also for raising brand awareness. According to Medium, an Instagram post gets 12.6% more engagement when at least one hashtag is used. So, if your brand hasn’t worked on a hashtag strategy for your marketing campaigns yet, it is time to start now.
Top reasons why your brand should start growing your hashtag strategy immediately
Categorizing Content: Instagram is effectively better optimized for users to search and discover your post through Instagram hashtags.
Content Reach: Specific hashtags may give you fewer potential impressions than broader hashtags, but they also provide inroads to coveted qualified traffic.
Cross-Channel Content: Brands can develop a strategic cross-channel presence with universal hashtags.
Since Instagram is constantly focused on developing around the marketing activities on the platform, Instagram is continuously making improvements on how and where we can use hashtags in our posts and stories.
Now that you are convinced that your brand requires hashtags, here are some ways in which your brand can use the most optimal ones
1. Use the free tools online to generate top hashtags based on your interest/keyword
Why do you need help with Instagram hashtags? Well, using hashtags is quite tricky on Instagram; the platform’s algorithm will penalize you if your tags are repeated from one upload to another. You can’t use the same hashtags from one post to another.
Hashtag generators, like All Hashtag, come in handy for avoiding a faux pas like this. Hashtag generator tools liven up the hashtags you use and give you insight into top trending and live hashtags that are best suited to your brand’s content.
2. Track your hashtag performance with post and hashtag insights
You need to be on an Instagram Business profile to access this feature. Instagram has bagged the winner spot by introducing Instagram Insights which analyzes how effective your hashtags are. While it doesn’t directly show the which hashtag worked the best, you can try different hashtags in posts to see what offers the best results. This is a good pointer of whether or not you’ve chosen the right hashtags for your strategy.
To access this data, just open a post and tap the “View Insights” text below it.
Swipe up and you’ll find a full page of data for that post, including profile visits, follows, reach, and breakdown of how and where your post was discovered.
Under the “From Hashtags” metric within impressions tells you how many people discovered your post through the hashtags you used.
Knowing which hashtags are the most effective in getting your posts discovered is hugely beneficial to businesses. It can help you refine your hashtag strategy by eliminating the hashtags that aren’t getting you results, while doubling-down on the ones that are.
3. Follow trending and related hashtags
The brand has to do some homework without any tool help also. Follow hashtags that you think are relevant to the brand. Start doing so to monitor what’s of interest to your brand. This enables Instagram’s algorithm to populate your Explore feed with topics that are relevant to the top Instagram hashtags that you follow.
Following hashtags also gives you the opportunity to understand what kinds of influencers and brands (and regular users) use that hashtag, providing you with audience insights, content ideas, or even potential influencers to partner with.
4. Customized Hashtags for the brands
You don’t just have to implement top hashtags in your brand’s campaigns. Customize and create your own hashtag which is unique and funny, but relevant always. This can be used to partner with Instagram influencers on various campaigns.
If a hashtag becomes popular enough, it can be reused in multiple campaigns too. This can help with a brand call from the audience.
If you establish a branded hashtag, be sure to follow through and continue to use it in influencer content and encourage followers to create user-generated content with the hashtag. Involve it as much as possible as the connecting tissue across your uploads to help followers engage in your brand and its message.
5. Use hashtags in all forms of content by adding it with perfect captions
In Instagram Stories, brands can use hashtags in stickers, text, or through the location tag. You can also add a lot of hashtags and keep it in the same color as the background so that your stories don’t look too spammy, but it reaches the right audience.
Most locations aggregate their Instagram Stories, so by putting yourself out there with a geotag, you can get your brand some much-needed exposure in a given location by being part of a location’s highlight reel. This is especially useful for events and a great way of raising awareness in a specific area. Making sure you’re using Instagram captions correctly and to their fullest potential is a must for Instagram influencer marketing. A strong caption, in addition to your hashtags, will give a welcome boost to audience engagement. Take for example
Like captions, hashtags can be used to provoke a response from audiences, generally through posing questions to them or by using a strong call to action. When used together, they improve engagement with and resonance of your posts. See our guide to writing good Instagram captions to optimize your Instagram messaging.
6. Avoid using hashtags to the extent that it looks like spam
The growth if influencer marketing is spearheading for the sole reason that it looks authentic. If the brands come across as inauthentic by using excess hashtags, the users will not engage.
Also, one key thing to remember is that Instagram only lets you use 30 hashtags in a post. Piling hashtags on a post or a story is not a wise strategy and can work opposite for the brands. Loading up on top hashtags should not be central to your brand’s Instagram influencer marketing strategy. Instead, brands should consider adding hashtags in moderation, as a surplus of spammy, generic, and overtly promotional hashtags can overwhelm and deter audiences.
Hashtags have always been a key generator for an engaging audience from around the world. Using the right ones with a good call to actions on posts and stories will help a campaign become a successful one. How invested in your brand into hashtag marketing? What is your strategy? Do let us know below in the comments section or visit our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to reach out to us.