Instagram has been through a lot of changes this past year, from the launch of IGTV, to new features and tools. One thing that has always stayed the same is the use of hashtags. When it comes to Instagram we know that engagement is key into seeing the results we want. One of the best ways to increase engagement and build your community is through the use of hashtags. According to Simply Measured a post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So how do you find the right ones?! Let me help you! This blog will walk you through the foundation you need to create a hashtag strategy that will work for you and your business!
So what are hashtags and why do we use them?
A Hashtag as you know is a keyword used to describe a certain topic or theme. They allow us to organize and categorize our images so that you are able to pop up in basic searches on Instagram. This then allows you to connect with other people who are searching for content like yours. When you search a specific hashtag it has its own feed of various content that you can scroll through. You will be able to see all of the images that used that specific hashtag. Whenever you use hashtags for your images you are increasing the reach of your post so that potential clients can find you.
Main types of Hashtags.
There are two main types of hashtags. Understanding the different types of hashtags and their key audiences is important to know when developing your hashtag strategy.
Community hashtags are hashtags that connect people with the same interest around a certain topic. Unlike branded hashtags, these hashtags are generally broader and not as specific. Community hashtags are meant to increase the reach of your post and to connect and build a community.
Some great examples of community hashtags are through the Rising Tide Society. One of their community hashtags is #communityovercompetition. This hashtag was created as a way for users such as creatives and entrepreneurs to connect and support each other in their businesses.
A branded hashtag are hashtags that are unique to your business. These hashtags can be as simple as your company name or a hashtag that reflects your brand identity. Brand hashtags are meant to connect themes for you and your audience.
An example of a branded hashtag would be something as my business name #akuakonadu. I would like for people to use this hashtag to connect with me and build my community around that.
How can we use hashtags effectively?
By being more intentional! Being more intentional with your hashtags will help put your content out into the Instagram world with ease! You want to choose hashtags that not only you would be using but your ideal client would be using as well. Remember when it comes to selecting your hashtags it is more about your ideal client than it is about you. Choose hashtags that your ideal client would connect with. A good place to start is using local hashtags in your community. From there you will be able to find hashtags that will work for you.
It is also important to know that the way you use hashtags can affect engagement as well. Using hashtags that are not relevant to your post can negatively impact your engagement. If you are using hashtags that have nothing to do with the content you are posting Instagram can mark it as spam and it can make it more difficult to connect with your ideal audience. Another important aspect to know is to change out your hashtags often. You don’t want to keep using the same 30 hashtags for every post. Keep a library of hashtags so you can use various ones at different times this will help increase your engagement.
How do I find the right hashtags?
Start thinking about topics and themes that relate to your business. Enter those topics into the search field on Instagram. It will generate some related tags and these tags will provide you with some great hashtag ideas. It may help to ask yourself some of these questions such as What is your business? Who is your target audience? What are your brand values?
Do your research! Research hashtags that other creatives and your competitors are using. This will give you a better idea of what hashtags to use and to choose the ones that will work best for you.
Know your Ideal Client
Use your ideal client as a way to guide you. Look at the profiles that are engaging with your content on a regular basis and the profiles of potential clients. Research what hashtags they are using and utilize those.
When choosing your hashtags prioritize them by popularity. Choose hashtags that are not over saturated. It is better to find and use hashtags that are more specific and have a truly engaged audience that is relevant to your business and industry. The will help increase visibility. You want to mix it up. Use popular hashtags to get in front of a larger audience along with hashtags that are not as popular so that you are also targeting your ideal audience.
Overall, hashtags are vital when it comes to your Instagram strategy. The use of hashtags will help you attract your ideal client, connect you to other creatives, and helps you brand your business. Use them intentionally to drive results and most importantly have fun!