How to Use Hashtags to Promote Your Business on Instagram
Running a social media account (or several) is not easy. Social media requires a time investment that many business owners don’t have. But, if you plan on running your own Instagram account, here are a few tips about using hashtags to maximize your return on investment.
Hashtags are so important to winning with Instagram, especially when you are just starting out. Without hashtags, your posts are practically invisible to potential followers. According to Simply Measured, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement than those without, according to a study by Simply Measured. Hashtags help Instagram users discover and follow your content.
Branding Hashtags and Campaign Hashtags
Come up with a unique hashtag for your business or a campaign. A brand hashtag is your company name or a company tagline. A campaign hashtag is a hashtag made for each of your marketing campaigns. When creating your own hashtag, make sure you do some research and make sure that this hashtag is not already taken or already associated with some other business. Also, make sure the hashtag you choose is short, memorable and catchy.
If you have other social media accounts, use your hashtag on all your other accounts. Your unique hashtag will also help you keep track of your campaigns and improve your interaction with your customers.
The functional hashtag is essentially a search word hashtag. These hashtags are used to simply describe what you’re posting. Like keywords in your blog posts, functional hashtags improve your search engine optimization (SEO). I use #socialmedia, #marketingtips, and #digitalmarketing in my Instagram posts because that’s the type of content I post. I want people to be able to find my posts when searching for tips on social media management.
For instance, if you’re promoting a coffee shop, then #latte would be a great functional hashtag.
Or #greensmoothie for a smoothie shop.
Functional hashtags can include locations, products, lifestyle, and events.
I saved the best for last. The best way to use fun hashtags is to find the hashtags trending at the time you post and use them. Use niche trending hashtags to connect and develop relationships with your targeted market.
Look at the results from this hashtag #yogaeverydamnday.
Remember, just because a hashtag is popular, it doesn’t mean you should necessarily use it on your posts. Make sure your hashtag relates to your post or to your brand. Otherwise, it just comes across as “spammy”. In addition, popularity means there may be a lot of content out there using that hashtag. Your posts may get lost among them.
Use a combination of all three types of hashtags to reach your target audience.
Where to find trending hashtags (for free)
Use the search button at the bottom of your page. In the search box, type one of your functional hashtags or a keyword relevant to your company and click the “tags” tab. Voila! Instagram will give you a list of trending hashtags related to your word and also the current number of posts using that hashtag.
On Hashtagify, just enter your keyword tag and it will give you the top ten related tags. It also shows how closely linked and how popular each hashtag is. For more features, they do offer paid package options.
Top-Hashtags generates groups of popular hashtags that you can copy and paste into Instagram or that you can save in a document for recurring use.
Tagboard is a great way to get a quick, very visual snapshot of how a hashtag is being used. You can see how hashtags are being used (and by who) across all major platforms or simply filter down to Instagram only.
Wherever you source your hashtags from, here are a few tips:
- Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post, brand or customers
- Not offensive or associated with a company or campaign that you don’t want to be associated with.
- Keep them as short as possible and easy to spell
- Punctuation, special characters, and spaces are not allowed.
- Check out what hashtags your competitors are using.
- Use hashtags that influential people in your industry are using.
- In terms of numbers, I typically suggest using between 11 and 20 hashtags to maximize visibility without being annoying.
What do you think? Do you use hashtags as a marketing tactic? What strategies do you use? What successes have you had?
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