It’s no secret that the name of the game on Instagram these days is engagement and if there’s one strategy that will help your posts be seen, heard and engaged with its hashtags. The truth is, there’s a lot more to using hashtags than simply blindly selecting words that suit your industry or using the same 30 for every single post. If this is what you’re currently doing, it’s unlikely that you’re going to see that boost of engagement which will help you show up to your dream clients or attract new followers to your account. So, let’s crackdown on how you can identify hashtags that align with your brand, content and most importantly, your target audience.
Why are hashtags important?
Think of Instagram as a giant filing cabinet and hashtags as folders. When applying a hashtag to a post, you’re filing that post into a specific category so not only do you show up within that category, but others can also seek you out and find you there.
There are a lot of conversations, posts, feeds, and just plain noise on social media these days. In my opinion, one of the most valuable ways we can use hashtags for our business is to help cut out that noise and join in conversations that are relevant to our brand and audience. Identifying hashtags that align your brand and content with the audience that’s looking for it is one of the best ways to get discovered on Instagram. And this can translate into increased engagement, more followers, and more customers for your business.
A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So, it goes without saying that creating a hashtag strategy for your business is crucial if you want to grow your account.
Be strategic with hashtags
You must be selective in the hashtags that you use. Ask yourself who it is you’re trying to reach and what terms, phrases, or locations they’re searching for.
Start by looking at location-specific hashtags to reach and connect with people in your community. You can also use industry-specific hashtags to connect with other like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs like #doctorsofinstagram or #skintherapist. Just remember, it’s more important to attract your ideal clients rather than peers in the industry, so while it’s nice to support and connect with industry colleagues, don’t focus too much on this.
Previously, we were taught to use the entire 30 hashtag limit in every post, but nowadays, the algorithm is a lot smarter and will punish you for using hashtags that aren’t relevant to the content you’re posting. You must be thinking strategically about each hashtag you use. In other words, stop copying and posting the same hashtags each time. Instead, have a collection of 10-15 (or up to 30 if you can manage it) relevant and well-researched hashtags for each topic that you post about and start using hashtags that are genuinely revenant to the specific content you’re sharing.
Do your research
Brainstorm ideas and topics that apply to your business and enter those ideas as a hashtag into the Instagram search bar. What is your business about? Where is your business serving clients? What does your brand stand for? What do your audience want to know? What are their struggles and pain points? What are they searching for when they go online? Once you’ve added each idea into the search bar, Instagram will list related tags which you can explore.
You can also look at your competitors and see what hashtags they are using. Explore the ones that make you want to take action and see if that tag holds content that resonates with your brand and audience.
Make sure to pay attention to the number of people who have used the hashtag and keep in mind that you have a better chance of standing out if you use a hashtag with 100,000 posts compared to 1,000,000 where your post will easily get lost.
Another place to search for hashtags is to check the profiles of those who are already engaging with your content. What better way of figuring out how to reach your target audience than by directly checking what your audience is already following? List some that make sense for your brand and add them to your list. If your audience is using and engaging with a specific hashtag, you want your content to show up there.
Try these tools to help with your research: hashtagify.me, ritetag.com and Display Purposes.
Use hashtags to optimise your results
A good strategy to use is a mixture of both popular hashtags that many people are searching for (to get your content in front of a larger audience) but also combine this with targeted less popular tags which will guarantee that your content is going to be placed in the “top” section of that hashtag and be viewed by the majority of the people searching for it.
The beauty about being able to use up to 30 hashtags in a post means you’re able to cast your net wide among both popular hashtags, and smaller, more targeted ones. So, you can show up in all the places and see which yields the greater results for your efforts.
Use a variety of hashtags to stay relevant and effective in your strategy. Keep continuity with your branding while assessing your hashtag strategy regularly to maintain the interest of your followers as well as attract new ones.
Hashtags are an excellent way to attract your ideal clients, connect with other entrepreneurs, and an intentional way to brand your business. Use them thoughtfully, sparingly and do your research for the best results. Let me know what changes you see in your hashtag strategy after implementing these strategies. I’d love to hear how you get on!