Can you imagine social media marketing without using hashtags? Me neither. Hashtags are an irreplaceable part of the Instagram eco-system.
Some studies show that posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement. As a rule, there are controversial opinions that prove that hashtags don’t increase engagement significantly but they do help to make the posts visible to the target audience as 70% of Instagram posts don’t get seen!
Anyway, with the right strategy, hashtags can turn into a powerful tool that can enhance the recognition of your business/blogging activity on social media and more likely boost the engagement of the target audience.
In this article, you will find out the key principles of using Instagram hashtags and examples of implementing them in practice.
Still, let’s familiarize with some interesting statistic about hashtags beforehand.
These are not just numbers. This information gathered by numerous of the case studies can help you to organize your social media activity in the proper way.
For instance, did you know that:
This interesting fact won’t help you in practice but did you know that Chris Messina, currently a Developer Lead at Uber, is considered to be the inventor of the hashtag?
By chance or on purpose, back in 2007, this smart guy launched a trend that turned out to be a social media phenomenon with its peculiarities and spheres of influence.
So, let’s familiarize with the major rules of using Instagram hashtags in 2019 and making them an efficient part of the marketing strategy!
If you switch your Instagram profile to a business account, you will receive an opportunity to analyze the engagements of your publications. For this purpose, just click “View Insights” button at the bottom of your post.
It gives information about how many people saw this post, where the traffic comes from, how many people saw this post from Home, Profile, or Hashtags. If the hashtag works, people will follow it, look for publications with its help, etc.
Instagram gives an opportunity to paste clickable hashtags and usernames not only in the post caption but in the bio as well. It is a great chance to highlight the branded content or promote a business or a campaign.
Branded hashtags in bio let the users find information easier. For instance, if you own an online fashion store, you can add hashtags for clothes, makeup, delivery terms, etc. Plus, if you have a new collection, you can also mention it in the bio and leave a hashtag to find a post with detailed information.
Another cool feature that came up after the recent update is the ability to add hashtags in stories. Firstly, they are clickable. It means that if you have other posts with this hashtag and the person is interested to find out more information, he/she will find the post quite easy.
Secondly, everyone can your story by searching it by the hashtag in Search & Explore page. Once, a person does it, your story comes in the queue with other stories with the same hashtag.
To add a hashtag to your story, just swipe up and click on the Hashtag button.
One more great thing about the recent update is the ability to follow hashtags. When you follow one, you just open a particular page and see all new posts that contain this hashtag in the caption. This way, it is possible to keep up with the relevant posts in a couple of clicks.
It would be cool if people keep following your hashtags because it increases the recognition of your business and forms a target audience.
Still, don’t overdo with encouragement. Instead of asking subscribers to follow the hashtag, create a useful subject heading with unique content under certain hashtag and people will more likely follow it to stay tuned because 70% of Instagram posts don’t get seen! You can mention this fact once in a post, by the way 🙂
Understanding what sort of hashtag to choose for your account and what are the peculiarities of each type will help to use it efficiently. So, there are three key groups of hashtags on Instagram:
If you use Instagram for business, then it makes sense to use branded hashtags. They don’t always contain the name of the company, though they often do contain it. They might reflect the specifics of the company.
For instance, natural sneakers company AllBirds has its own branded hashtag #weareallbirds that both contains the name of the company and gives an overall idea of the brand.
To create UGC, some brands launch giveaways. A famous underwear company CalvinKlein created one under a hashtag #mycalvins, which took root seriously and is used till now (even by cats):
Community hashtags are created to convey the message of your activity. There are plenty of different spaces on Instagram that gather like-minded people with the help of hashtags. For instance:
Community hashtags reflect the major idea of certain activity clearly.
Campaign hashtags are short-term because they are usually dedicated to the specific event and contain its name. If its new collection of lipsticks, a hashtag might contain its name and the year, for instance:
Once you define the specifics of your account, you will be able to brainstorm the hashtags that will work.
One of the best ways to understand what hashtags to use on Instagram is to check out what hashtags use:
If you pick up a wide-spread hashtag such as #love, #travel, #blogging, you will compete with a larger audience. For instance, there are 1.4 billion posts under #love hashtag. They appear in a matter of minutes or even seconds. The chances of being noticed are miserable.
Let’s say you attended Rihanna’s show and want to write a brief review and get noticed with the right hashtag. If you put #rihanna, you will have to compete with 11.9 million posts. If you choose #rihannanavy, the number of publications reduces to 1.9 million, for #rihannafenty – to 518k, for #rihannafan – to 70.3k! The chances of getting more engagement with the last hashtag grow.
The same happens other situations when you choose what hashtag to paste.
There is a great tool created by a well-known visual marketing platform Later that helps to get fresh ideas about new hashtags and organize them in a proper way. Unfortunately, the service is paid but the prices are quite affordable starting from $19 per month for a business account and $9 for a private one.
In order to get hashtags ideas, just open a post and write a hashtag that you would like to add. The service will generate a couple of other hashtags in descending order by relevance.
After that, you can move to the organizational part of the process called Saved Caption feature. With this option, you will be able to create different hashtag lists based on your previous activity. It is possible to create categories and stuff them with hashtags that you will manage to copy and paste latter.
The interface of the service is intuitive and user-friendly.
Using such tools is faster and more convenient than using Google Sheets, for instance.
When it comes to marketing strategy, there is no single approach. It’s crucial to try different solutions and check out how the target audience responds to them.
Therefore, try implementing related hashtags. When you type a hashtag in the search bar, you will see other variants in the drop-down menu. There might be some other trendy solutions that could work.
If the hashtag works, you will at least get to the Top page and it is already an achievement because thousands of new people will see your post. A bigger part of these accounts might be potential representatives of the target audience because Top page is formed on user’s likes, subscriptions, search inquiries, etc.
Two factors influence Instagram’s decision of taking the publication to the Top page or not: the amount of engagement (likes and comments) and the time the post gets feedback. If the post didn’t become popular in the first 24 hours, it has almost no chances of being seen by the large audience.
Yes, this is a stark Instagram reality. This social media platform became super selective these days.
So, let’s sum up a little bit the key principles of using Instagram hashtags in the new year:
Make sure the hashtags you pick up meet the type of your account, reflect the goal you set, and reach to the target audience (convey the right message).
Be specific. Don’t add random hashtags such as #car, #makeup, #fashion. Understand the conception of your campaign, specific features of your company and micro niche. Try to think the way your potential customers or client could think.
Don’t hesitate the knowledge of your competitors and reputable leaders of your industry. See what hashtags they use and which of them are popular among their subscribers.
Analyze what hashtags work and which one just irritate the users. You can do it by simply checking out the Instagram insights below the post or by using specific tools.
Try to add hashtags in your bio and stories, encourage people to follow them to keep up with news, etc.
A hashtag itself won’t really boost an engagement. You can do it yourself by sharing useful or exciting content that is followed by the right hashtags. For instance, you can show the subscribers “behind the scene process” and tell a story of how their favorite products are made, for instance.
In addition, you can gather UGC with a help of different surveys and contests. A good idea would be to ask the customers to upload a photo with a good they purchased in your store or any other simple photo and tag your account with the help of your branded hashtag.
Don’t be spammy. It is so easy to overdo with hashtags.
Well, that was the last tip for today. I hope that you highlighted a couple of fresh ideas to implement in your marketing strategy in 2019! Thanks for your attention 🙂
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