What are hashtags and why do we need to use them anyway? Let’s start from the basics. Hashtags were first introduced in 2007, when Twitter utilized them to share trending topics or words. Since then, all social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok use hashtags to organize photos or videos based on certain keywords. In this guide to creating an Instagram hashtag strategy we’ll go over why we need hashtags, where to find them, how to use them and more.
What Are Hashtags on Instagram?
A hashtag is a keyword or a series of keywords used to describe a photo or video with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example a hotel could use the hashtags #boutiquehotel, #luxuryhotel or #5starhotel to describe its content. Each hashtag acts as a link where the user can click on it to find similar content. Going back to the hotel example, if a user was to click on the hashtag “#boutiquehotel” they will see all the content featuring that hashtag.
Why Should You Have a Hashtag Strategy?
Using hashtags is a great way to build your brand, increase engagement and get discovered by new audiences. With a thought-out hashtag strategy, people who do not follow your page can come across your content leading to more followers, higher engagement and eventually even more sales for your brand.
How Many Hashtags Should You Use on an Instagram Post?
You have the option of adding anywhere from zero to the maximum number of 30 hashtags on Instagram posts and 10 hashtags on Instagram stories. Although various marketing experts have expressed their opinions regarding the correct number of hashtags to use, there has not been a proven number that will lead to a higher engagement. The best way to find the number that works with your brand is by experimenting with various hashtag lengths and seeing what works best.
Types of Instagram Hashtags
When building a hashtag strategy for Instagram, it is important to identify the different types of hashtags at your disposal and to understand the purpose behind them. Using researched and targeted hashtags with a purpose will lead to a successful campaign. On the other hand, adding random hashtags for the sake of adding hashtags on a post may lead to Instagram marking your profile as spam, and thus ruining your engagement and reach.
Instagram hashtags can be categorized into 4 groups: branded hashtags, industry-related hashtags, community hashtags and location-based hashtags. A mixture of the following categories will lead to a higher reach and new audiences.
Brand-related hashtags: Branded hashtags are a great way to share your company’s name, tagline or product. Inviting your audience to follow your branded hashtag is ideal for promoting your brand image and increasing your reach.
Industry-related hashtags: Industry related hashtags are a great way to showcase your niche and target audience. Why settle for #hotel when you can use #boutiquehotel or #greekhotel?
Community hashtags: Community hashtags are perfect for targeting a specific audience that has similar interests. This can include certain products or services, specific events or communities in your industry. For example, if you would like to target photographers in New York City you could use the hashtag, #nycphotographers.
Location-based hashtags: Location hashtags are exactly that: your location. This is a great way to connect with the local audience or potential customers searching that area.
How to Find Hashtags
The best way to find hashtags to use for your Instagram content is by researching your audience, competitors and industry leaders. A good starting point for finding hashtags is to analyze what your competitors are using or to look at brands with similar target audiences, products or content. Industry leaders such as top brands or influencers are also a great place to get hashtag inspiration. Lastly, there are many third-party hashtag tools such as Later, that will help you find which hashtags to use.
Takeaways for Creating a Hashtag Strategy
Your hashtag strategy should contain hashtags that are relevant to your brand and include keywords that your audience is searching for. A combination of the different types of hashtags mentioned above will lead to a successful hashtag strategy on Instagram. Remember, every Instagram post has to bring value to your audience and therefore, so should your hashtags. Similarly, experimenting with hashtag length and keywords as well as keeping up with industry trends will lead to an optimized hashtag strategy on Instagram.
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