Finding the right hashtags to use on your Instagram posts that convert visitors into followers can be a time-consuming, often confusing process. Believe me, I’ve been there.
But it doesn’t have to be…and it’s not hard either
You just need a simple no-nonsense hashtag strategy for Instagram.
What are hashtags and why are they so important?
Hashtags are simple and essential to your Instagram strategy because:
Hashtags help people discover your content and grow your community.
Along with location tagging, hashtags are a way to categorise posts into topics or link related content together.
Branded hashtags can be a great promotional tool for your business.
Today I’m showing you how you can use your hashtags to grow your following with the RIGHT audience for your business or blog.
No 1: Target Your Hashtags
Think about how your potential/ideal customer thinks. If you’re an artist or maker for example, think about what your potential customers are looking for.
Avoid general tags such as #flamingo #print, #heart #jewellery. They are a waste of hashtags tags as they are too broad.
Make it more specific such as #flamingoprint or #goldheartjewellery. Or broader such as #artforinteriors.
Group hashtags depending on your business objectives or those of your audience. aspiration, interests, solving a problem, location.
No 2: Research your hashtags
I cannot reiterate this enough.
Research your hashtags well. This has been made much easier with Instagram’s suggested hashtag feature.
Generally I won’t use tags over 1 million as you’ll often get lost in the noise. Even 500,00 scares me!
Embrace the niche tags with perhaps only a few hundred photos tagged. In fact these are great because you’ll often be seen by a smaller more engaged community.
Check for banned hashtags too. Using one banned hashtag could cause all your other hashtags to not work anymore.
Make sure the tags aren’t being spammed either with loads of irrelevant content. Your post may run the risk of being seen as spam too.
Some hashtags are banned permanently (think obvious ones relating to dodgy subject matter!) and some hashtags might be banned temporarily. They aren’t always obvious either. On my last check for this post, #Easter is banned.
No 3: Utilise Community Hashtags
The one element that is strong on Instagram is its sense of community. Taking part in community hashtags is a great way to find like-minded people.
You might believe in #slowlivingforlife or be a #funkopopcollector.
Type these hashtags into the search on your mobile app and Instagram will also recommend related tags for you to further research.
Another method of finding a like-minded audience is to join in community contests. For example @creativelysquared run a monthly challenge. These contests give you a fantastic opportunity to flex your creative muscles and come up with an image around the contest’s theme. Another way to be discovered and grow your own audience.
Creatively Squared promote their challenges on their website, their newsletter, their Instagram stories and feed to reach as many people as possible about the latest hashtag challenge.
Usually these contests are sponsored by a brand who offer up a prize to a winner.
If you have a product or service this could be a great way to find a potential customers or users of your service, by offering it up as a prize in a competition or giveaway.
No 4: Hashtag Variety is the Spice of Instagram
Use a variety of hashtags. Using the same ones over and over again can look like spammy behaviour, a definite no-no in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm, which ultimately will affect your post’s visibility.
You have up to 30 hashtags to use. By all means use them all, more hashtags = more eyeballs on your content right? Yes and no.
more hashtags = more eyeballs on your content right?
Yes and no.
The most important point about using hashtags on Instagram is to use relevant hashtags. If you can find 30 relevant hashtags, great. Otherwise, a well targeted 10 hashtags is going to be far more effective than 30 spammy or irrelevant ones.
Many planning apps have the ability to save tags in tag clouds enabling you to easily add hashtags to your captions.
No 5: Start Your Own Hashtag
Encourage people to tag into your hashtag, run a competition, offer a prize or simply give them a shout-out.
By building a community of followers with shared interests and celebrating the community members work.
You can follow hashtags now, so it’s easy to keep up to date with the latest posts using a hashtag
Branded hashtags are a great promotional tool too. They offer a way for your audience and customers to share your service or product with their audience, thus expanding your reach to knew potential audiences.
Encourage people to use your hashtag when they are sharing your service or product to their own Instagram feed. This is great for social proof.
If you’re using a branded hashtag, don’t forget to mention it on your website, e-newsletter and in any marketing material you send out or with your products you sell. Encourage people to share!
No 6: Use Hashtags to Curate Your Content
If you post a regular series of Instagram images, it’s useful to use a tag to curate them. You can get really creative with this and create a mini-series of posts.
Example include @allthatisshe’s #allthatisthree series or @lesmamanswinneuses #mycutoutstories. It’s also an easy way to look back at your posts. I use this for my floral brushes under the hashtag #gstc_brushseries
No 7: Avoid the Post & Go
Don’t just post and go. If you find a great hashtag, go in and compliment or like other people’s images using that hashtag. Share the love and be an active part of your community.
Don’t be afraid to ask how people found you on Instagram and if they used a certain hashtag to find you.
Research the tags you use first and make sure they are being used well. Also don’t forget hashtags and location can also be added to your story posts too. Expanding the opportunity to be seen by new audiences.
And finally, finding hashtags is an ongoing and yes, slightly time-consuming process that will constantly evolve.
But your account will reap the benefits of spending time on this.
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If you’re looking for photography advice to create professional looking images read 7 Essential Photography Tips to Make You Look Like a Pro and you’ll be on your way to making more beautiful content.
(This post was originally posted on my retired blog TheContentDesigner.co)