Twitter introduced hashtags in 2007, and in 2011, Instagram debuted hashtags on its platform. Since then, hashtags have gone from a way to categorize content to a means by which you can gain followers, boost engagement, increase brand awareness and expand your reach. Raising your hashtag game can help you reach more users within IG's massive audience. Instagram posts using hashtags average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.
#Choosing the Type of Hashtag
There are three categories to keep in mind when creating hashtags for your business.
- Community hashtags connect like-minded users around a subject. (Examples: #myjeep, #vanlife, #dogsofinstagram)
- Branded hashtags promote awareness and encourage brand ambassadors. (Examples: #OptOutside, #GearForGood, #CrumblCookies)
- Campaign hashtags are created for specific campaigns to promote a product or event (Examples: #NationalFriedChickenDay, #ShareACoke, #ShotoniPhone)
Choosing the type and the actual hashtags to use are dependent on your goal. If you're trying to foster user-generated content related to your brand, community hashtags are better suited. If your goal is to build brand awareness and make it easier for users to find your content, branded content would be a good fit. If you want to promote a specific product, event, or announcement, campaign hashtags meet your objective.
70% of the most used hashtags on Instagram are branded & created by businesses.
— Simply Measured (now owned by Sprout Social)
#Finding the Right Hashtag
Some are tempted to think that more is better and go out and find the most used hashtags like #beach and #beautiful, and stuff their post with them. But in this instance, the hashtags you choose should be relevant. If you own a company that sharpens knives, #beach isn't pertinent to your company. Your goal is to increase the discoverability of your content amongst your audience. If you can only find six hashtags that suit your brand, six relevant and appropriate hashtags supersede 30 random popular hashtags every day.
Look at what your competitors and industry leaders are using. Their hashtags might provide insight into what your audience is searching for and reveal some opportunities.
If you have been using hashtags, take a peek at your Instagram analytics, and you'll discover what hashtags are productive and build off of those.
- Simple, Memorable & Unique
Use your current hashtags in your bio, stories, and posts. If you're worried that your post looks cluttered with your nicely curated collection of hashtags, you can drop them in the first comment. They'll still work.
Tidy up your hashtags. Don't shy away from using line breaks to help visually separate your tags from your post. And if you end up with 30 relevant and targeted hashtags, don't let them look like my pantry. Organize, organize, organize. Remember to create a cheat sheet to keep your tags straight so that you're using the correct hashtag with the right post and avoid using a community tag when you meant to use a brand tag.
- Don't Forget to Use them in Other Marketing Materials
Use your other advertising and marketing efforts to share and promote your hashtags. Email, landing pages, posters, and other materials can help elevate your simple and memorable hashtag to top-of-mind. That's why you want to avoid #nobodyreallywantstotypeorremembertheworldslongesthashtag.
- Use the Same Hashtags Across All of Your Channels
Hashtags aren't proprietary to Instagram, so use the same hashtags across all of your social channels.
With some patience and effort, you'll find the perfect hashtags for your brand. There are some great online guides and articles to help you create the perfect strategy, but if you need some help, we're just a call or click away.