Imagine you could get a big group of loyal followers to hang on your every word.
If your words could guide and help people. People who would find your page motivational and influential. How great would that be?
But right now, this feels like it’s miles away, doesn’t it?
Your page is struggling, your bounce rates are high and we’re not going to mention your conversion rates since you might just give on everything.
Before you throw in the towel, let’s give your dreams another go. It really doesn’t have to be this way. The answer or at least part of the answer is in Instagram hashtags! I’ll try to help you understand what are hashtags and how could you use them to kickstart your page.
The secret of finding best Instagram hashtags is only a few scrolls away. I’ll show you exactly what you need to do. Share your time with me and I’ll share my first-hand experience on how to use hashtags on Instagram.
Introducing – Instagram Hashtags
Abraham Lincoln once said: “If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first two hours sharpening the ax”. As crazy as it seems, these words of wisdom are also applicable for Instagram hashtags. Namely, if you want to grow your audience using Instagram hashtags, you’ll have to learn a lot about them. That’s why a big chunk of this post will be dedicated to getting to know hashtags and their whereabouts.
When a mountaineer climbs Mount Everest, it’s a well-known practice to hire or ask a group of local Sherpa people. The Sherpas are elite mountaineers and experts of Mount Everest climbing expeditions. Well, if you’re searching for a page, hashtags are your Sherpa people! Hashtags are basically a free advertising tool. However, they are much more than that. They are the Sherpa people which will guide the mountaineer to the end goal – i.e your page! Thanks to them, people worldwide can find your posts and engage with you on Instagram. If used properly, hashtags spread your reach and spread your content all over the world.
Instagram announced in October that there were 500 million daily active users. Trying to stand out from a crowd that big isn’t low-hanging fruit, to say the least. When the odds are against you, what will help you increase your audience? You guessed it right – it’s hashtags!
Hashtag Modus Operandi
If you weren’t as good at latin as I was, this part of the article will be dealing with how do Instagram hashtags actually work and why should you use them. As many of you already know, Instagram uses hashtags for content categorization. For instance, if you type in #food, Instagram will show you all content which has the keyword – food. Hashtags are truly a great invention since you can use them as a free tool for building your audience.
Instagram Hashtags are roughly divided into two big groups – branded and community hashtags.
Most of the hashtags out there are branded. As far as hashtags are concerned, branded means specific. These hashtags are connected directly to your business, product or to a particular campaign. What makes them great is that you can use their particularity to analyze them with social media monitoring tools. By the way, I stumbled upon a great article on those tools so feel free to check it out on this link.
The second and, in my opinion, the best aspect of branded hashtags is UGC or user-generated content. This means that every time a person buys or mentions your product in their posts, they’ll have a branded hashtag to go with that post. It’s like a label all users can gather around and share their experience. The branded hashtag is basically a tool you kickstart and then your followers spread the word for you. Potential buyers get information and you grow your audience. Thanks to branded hashtags, it’s a win-win situation.
Community hashtags are vaguer and don’t have to be specifically connected to your company, product or campaign. For instance, if you want to spread the word about this amazing cake you made, use hashtags like #foodporn, #instafood or #recipeoftheday.
Community hashtags bring more audience and as long as the content is relevant and interesting, it will bring you loyal followers and people who’ll engage with you in your later posts. The best advice I can give you is to keep it simple and make a perfect combination of community and branded hashtags. This is only the beginning, so stay tuned. My head’s not just a hat rack, my friend! J
Don’t Overuse Hashtags
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that putting 20+ hashtags is really wrong.
Or is it?
It turns out that getting to that right number of hashtags isn’t as easy as it seems. However, there are a couple of tips on how to get the right number of tags.
The first and the most important tip is to take your time before launching a post into the online orbit.
Select the right hashtags and make sure you don’t use too many. No one likes that. It looks spammy. The smart thing to do when determining the number of hashtags needed is to look up to your successful competition. See how many hashtags are accepted or even expected in a certain industry and copy that. Of course, just copy the number, not the content.
The other advice I can give you is to keep track of the engagement of your previous posts. If more hashtags caused true engagement rates, feel free to increase the number. Finally, there are a lot of Instagram analytics tools which can help you determine the right number of hashtags for your industry. Any of these three options will work so whichever works for you is fine by me.
Finding the Best Instagram Hashtag
It may seem simple to hoard a bunch of hashtags related to your post and think you’re doing a good job. Let me tell you a little secret – it doesn’t work that way. When it comes to hashtags, developing a strategy should be your number one priority. A carefully developed strategy got me where I am today. You can check my Instagram page at this link. I am an entrepreneur with a team of UpWork freelancers who support me, so I want to show you the tools that you can get your hands on without breaking your bank.
Perform an Extensive Research
To be precise, there are three ways you could find the right keywords for your needs. All of them require time and dedication but so does everything in life. One of them requires a small investment but we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s start with listing three ways of finding the right hashtags:
- Instagram researchThe basic purpose of hashtags was to simplify the categorization of products, campaigns, and industries. That’s why often, the best way to find the right hashtag is quite simple. Open your Instagram app and type in the ‘tags’ section type in a hashtag you had in mind. There, you’ll see how many posts are there labeled with that hashtag. If you start typing food, Instagram will list popular food-related hashtags. You’ll notice that all of my examples are related to food, maybe I should get something to eat. Jokes aside, this is actually one of the fastest ways of getting evidence-based inspiration for your tags.
- Successful CompetitionIf you have a new business, you probably have a competitor you’re looking up to. If they have a strong followers base, it’s highly likely that they have been doing Instagram hashtag campaign or developed some branded hashtags. If you want your page to reach the level of theirs, analyze it and pick up all the good things you see. Pick up the number of hashtags, the style, the targeted audience. If you see a repetitive hashtag, it’s there for a reason. Learn from your competitors because you’re just at the beginning. On the other hand, make sure you stay unique. Keep in mind that they have been where you are now. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. It may seem like a cliché but it’s true nevertheless.
- Invest in a Third Party ToolThe final way you can do your research is investing in a third party tool. There are a lot of different tools and I’m not going to do any advertising here. There’s a variety of tools from hashtag finders, to keyword and competitor profile analytic tools. These options will save your time and probably be more efficient than you but they will cost you some money. Of course, you can always talk to me about social media management online and we can develop a strategy together.
Increasing Audience Engagement
The final part of this article will reveal several tricks on how to effectively use Instagram hashtags. We all want our posts to be in the top part of the app and the website. The problem is that no one knows the exact path to the top.
Even though only Instagram developers know how the algorithm works, it is obvious that the main feature of all top posts on Instagram is high engagement. The real issue is how to build an audience which will provide true engagement. It isn’t exact science but here’s a couple of useful tips.
Determining the Right Hashtag
“If they are roses, they will bloom. If they are airplanes, they will take off”. These words of Guilia Bergonzoni indicate that you don’t have to try too hard to put your post on the top. If you do, you will blend into the group of people who have the same desire as you. Sometimes, low-competition hashtags can attract more authentic followers. For instance, if you’re promoting your blog about fashion, sometimes it’s better to put #fashionblog than just #fashion. If you do the latter, your post will leave the first page in no time and won’t give people the time to react. Try to be more specific and believe in your posts. If they are roses, they will bloom!
It might be smart to carefully organize your posts and strategically equip them with the right hashtags. At first, you should start small and try to attract authentic followers. When you start promoting your page or profile, make sure to be consistent. Find the right keywords and utilize them until it feels right and until it attracts true engagement. It is of utmost importance to know when to start and to know when to stop.
Keeping People Engaged
In order to keep the people engaged and/or to attract new people, you must use a variety of hashtags. If you target the same group of people with the same tags and content over and over in order to attract new followers, you will lose the audience who has already seen that particular post. Your posts will be regarded as spam and probably be ignored.
Hashtag Relevancy / Related Hashtags
Always keep your hashtags relevant to your post. The obvious reason is that you won’t get the desired audience on your posts. Consequently, you’ll lose true engagement on your posts and that decreases their chance of appearing among the top posts. Moreover, you can see a set of relevant hashtags that Instagram provides. Open the app and tap on the magnifying glass. Select the tags tab and in the search box, type in the first word related to your business. A list of most relevant tags will appear. If you lack inspiration, feel free to use some of these.
To sum up, it’s really not easy to develop your Instagram page. It requires a lot of work, time and determination. Sometimes it requires some investment as well. However, if you dedicate yourself fully to everything you do, the results will be visible soon enough. Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your page. Stay patient, follow my lead and good things will come!