I meet many people who fear hashtags – they don’t understand what they are and end up avoiding them. Allow me to explain how hashtags work, what they are and why you should be using them as part of your social media marketing strategy.
Hashtags are used in all social platforms, but in this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the Instagram hashtag. A very powerful marketing tool!
What are hashtags?
They are so much more than a # symbol.
I see lots of posts with hashtags to highlight a thought or something witty, for example #IsItFridayYet. These are certainly amusing but not helpful if your aim is to get noticed by your ideal customers.
To use a hashtag properly and to understand how Instagram hashtags work here’s an example. When you choose a relevant hashtag to put on a post, one like #socialmediatoptips, you are essentially filing the post under this hashtag. When an Instagram user searches for this hashtag, they will see your post along with others who also use this hashtag on the #socialmediatips Instagram page.
You can click hashtags as they create links to a page with the same heading, like this one ->>
Your post, where you use the hashtag #socialmediatoptips, will appear here ->>
Think of them as books in a library. You walk into a library and ask the librarian to see everything they have on a certain subject and they’ll direct you to a few dusty shelves displaying books containing relevant information on the topic you want to hear more about. The hashtag works in the same way – you are asking the social media platform to direct you to all the posts that contain the information you want to read about.
The best way to use hashtags in 2020
Rule no. 1 Think about what your customers will be looking for.
Rule no. 2 Think about the keywords and phrases that describe what you do.
Here’s another example to help explain. If I were to post about this blog on Instagram, I would use the following hashtags so it becomes searchable: #instagramhashtag and #hashtagsocialmediatips and so. This will ensure that the post is filed in the right place.
Tips when typing a hashtag in Instagram
Never use a space, any grammar or a symbol in a hashtag. Only use letters.
Capitalise the beginning of every word if appropriate, not only does it make it easier to read but it also makes it accessible to people with sight loss as the words are distinguished by the capital letters.
However, Amazon’s hit car show, The Grand Tour, ignored these rules to create humour. The advert went viral – now, that’s clever!
How many hashtags to use?
You may be surprised by the answer – you can use up to 30.
My advice to you is to use 30 hashtags if you can when posting on Instagram. Don’t worry that it will look spammy, it gives you 30 chances of being found by people searching for what you have to offer. Hashtag marketing is all about maximising your opportunity to be visible.
Research proves that 12 or more hashtags will get you greater engagement. Never use less than 12.
Where to put them? In post vs comments section.
For the purpose of visibility, it really doesn’t matter if you put them in the post itself or put the Instagram hashtags in comments. Your post will still appear in the hashtag’s page (as demonstrated above).
For neatness, many people place them in the comments. Another reason why people pop them in the comments section is because they don’t want anyone clicking on the hashtag which will direct them away from their post.
A word of warning: Don’t think you can put 30 in the body of the post, and then another 30 in the comments section – this is not allowed. Plus, who has time to think of 60!
My hashtag advice is to see what works best for you. Try it both ways and check your results. And don’t worry, if you forget to pop in your hashtags, you can add them after the post has been published.
If someone else makes a comment under your post and pops a # in, this won’t impact on you and other peoples comments with Hashtags in won’t connect your post to that hashtag search as they are not the author.
Your Hashtag Strategy
Thinking of 30 hashtags may seem daunting at first. Don’t worry, I’ve some advice to help you.
· Jot down words and phrases that are relevant to your business. What words will your customers use to find someone like you? What do you do and what do you offer? Think like your customer!
· Search your chosen keywords and phrases on Instagram using a # and see what other hashtags are used in your field.
· Make a note of these somewhere so you can easily cut and paste when needed – this will form a base for every post.
· Create hashtags for the theme of the individual post. Combine these with your base hashtags.
Be aware that Banned Hashtags exist!
When you are looking for the best hashtags to use for your brand ALWAYS research them.
Popular hashtags often get abused and Instagram bans them. If you use banned hashtags your account can be flagged as spammy by instragtam and in some cases taken down. For example #BeautyBlogger has been banned. If you type this into the search bar of Instagram, you will see this message.
“Recent posts from #beautyblogger are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.”
Is your Instagram account set up properly?
After all this work and research getting your hashtag strategy right, the last thing you need is for all of your hashtags to go unnoticed. This may happen if you have not set up your account correctly, you’re not posting the right content and you’ve not got an engagement strategy. If you think there’s a lot of information here just on hashtags there’s a whole host of other tips and strategies that I could teach you to create an effective Instagram page. Hashtags is just one small element.
If you are unsure get in touch – I’m here to help!
Alternatively, if you’re local to Warrington I’m running an Instagram workshop on the 18 March 9:30-12:30pm. We’ll be looking at transforming your Instragram page to rank higher in the searches, creating a content strategy that is right for your audience, learning techniques to grow your page as well as creating your very own hashtag strategy.
Here’s more details and a booking link www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/instagram-workshop-how-to-effectively-use-instagram-for-business-tickets-94647740941
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and good luck with your hashtag success!
Bye for now,