If you include the right Instagram hashtags on your posts, you will likely see higher engagement than you would if you didn’t have any. Why? Because hashtags—a combination of letters, numbers, and emoji preceded by the # symbol (e.g. #NoFilter, #WorldCup) —categorize content and make it more discoverable. Anyone who clicks on a hashtag or searches for it will see a page with all the posts tagged with it.
How high up on a hashtag page your post appears depends on how often it’s used, how popular your post is (does it already have a lot of likes and comments?), when you shared it, and the strength of your audience. The higher your post appears, the better, as it will be more discoverable by people who don’t necessarily follow you.
Let's get started:
1. Don’t use irrelevant hashtags. Stuffing irrelevant hashtags onto posts is spammy behavior. It will annoy people who follow those hashtags and they will likely tell Instagram to “Don’t Show for this Hashtag.” Hashtags must be used strategically. You will only increase engagement if you give the audience what they’re looking for, i.e., quality content that speaks to their interests.
2. Use the right amount of hashtags. According to stats, posts with nine hashtags receive the most engagement.
But that doesn’t mean you should tag every post with a lot of hashtags. Again, they must be relevant to the content. Using a popular hashtag like #followmeback might get you a few new followers, but they’ll likely be the wrong kind—spammers or people looking to inflate their own follower count. These people will not engage with your brand. The content of your posts must inform what and how many hashtags you use.
3. Use specific or niche hashtags. The more specific the hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be. And a targeted audience means a higher chance of quality engagement. If you’re after Volkswagen lovers, for example, the hashtag #vwvan will get you in front of a higher converting audience than something more broad like #van. (But make sure your picture is actually of a Volkswagen van.)
4. Don’t swear off popular hashtags entirely. As long as they’re relevant to the post and used sparingly, popular hashtags can help expand your reach without making you seem desperate or spammy. We list some of the most popular hashtags at the end of this article with tips on how to use them responsibly.
5. Make sure that hashtag means what you think it meansYou don’t want to inadvertently attach your brand to a raunchy or nefarious campaign. When you combine two or three words together, does it spell out something else?
There’s a funny example from a friend of ours. To promote a contemporary style home using unique brick they used the hashtag #brickhouse. And those of you who are familiar with "Brick House" you know have that song stuck in your head and you are welcome. So you can imagine what the promo what associated with via Instagram. Moral of the story, before using any hashtag, be sure to browse through the hashtag page to ensure the associated content is appropriate.
6. Save hashtags for future useIf you often use the same hashtags for every post, you can save them in a note to save time. (Note: use this trick sparingly. Remember, every hashtag you put on a post must fit with the content and should not be too repetitive.)
How to do it:
How to do it in a comment:
8. Add a hashtag to a post you’ve already published. If you want to add hashtags to a post you’ve already uploaded, tap the three dots in the top right corner of your screen and select Edit to add to the caption. Again, you can also add hashtags post-publishing by tapping the speech bubble under the photo and typing the hashtags in as a comment.
9. Consider using brand hashtagsA brand (or branded, if you prefer) hashtag is one that’s unique to your company or campaign. It could be as simple as your business name, tagline, or name of one of your products.
Herschel Supply Co. uses a few branded hashtags, including #herschelsupply and #welltravelled. The latter was created for a campaign to encourage customers to share travel photos featuring Herschel products. Now tagged in millions of posts, it is often cited as one of the most popular travel hashtags on Instagram.
Like Herschel, you can create a brand hashtag for a specific campaign or to simply showcase your company culture, products, or services. If you’re running an Instagram campaign, having a brand hashtag will help drive participation and engagement. It will also organize all the posts that are tagged with it on a hashtag page. This is helpful if you’re using the hashtag to collect entries for a promotion or contest submissions. Or you can use branded hashtags to simply promote your company—the people, wins, and culture.
10. Keep your brand hashtags short and easy to rememberThat way your fans and customers can easily remember it. You want to be specific, but something like #SanFranciscoLuxuryCarEnthusiasts for a high-end auto show won’t catch on because it has too many characters. “#SFCarLovers” makes more sense in this case.
11. Experiment with emoji hashtagsIn addition to numbers and letters, emoji can be include in hashtags (spaces and special characters, such as % or $, don’t work). These animated icons are eye-catching and, because they can stand in for entire words, will keep your hashtags short.
Popular Instagram hashtags. No matter how popular they may be, you should avoid hashtags that shamelessly solicit likes and followers—#followme, #like4like, #follow4follow, #tagsforlikes, etc. Using these will attract bots, spammers, and others users who have no intention of engaging with you in any meaningful way. They also show your followers that your brand is okay with engaging in spammy behaviour. And that’s not a good look. But again, that doesn’t mean you should ignore every popular hashtag.
Here are a few more universal and universally popular hashtags your brand may want to consider using—sparingly:
Okay, so, the key takeaway: Be thoughtful about how and which hashtags you use. Like any type of content you share on social media, it’s all about the audience. What value are you offering? What’s in it for them? Why will they be compelled to engage with your post? If you don’t have an answer, don’t share.
Thank you to our friends at Hootsuite.
Source: Michael Aynsley at Hootsuite
>> https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-hashtags <<