#HASHTAGS… I’m often asked what are you hashtags …. do I really need to use them, what’s the point of them anyway!?
Short answer is YES you do need to use them!!
Hashtags expose your posts (and your profile in some cases) to a wider audience by grouping together content so that it can be found and if you are not using them, then the chance of your post or profile being found will be lessened.
On our overcrowded social media networks, where there is now so much content being posted every minute, users often search for certain hashtags to speed up their search! They are your best bet for growth on Instagram and across much of Social Media as they improve your discoverability and by using a hashtag, you can tap into a popular conversation that is relevant to your brand and your business or just the subject of your post.
You can even become a key contributor to that conversation’s shape and conclusion, it’s basically THE best way to give your posts more exposure.
FACT – by using just 1 hashtag you can increase your engagement by 12.6 percent !!!
So what about hashtags on Instagram..? Hashtags should be used on Instagram on both your individual posts and also in your Biography to encourage discoverability of both your content and your account / page.
HOW MANY ?You can have a maximum of 30 … Create hashtags in small sets and mix the sets up to equal 30. I like to do them in sets of 15 and use the Planoly app to do this
WHERE SHOULD I PUT THEM?
In the caption so that they can be edited, added to or deleted if required. Break them up from your caption content by using a series of dots to create for white space
OR – Use the Planoly app which creates that lovely white space for you which the Instagram app itself doesn’t even allow you to do!
WHEN should they be posted ?They should be included in your post but if you are going to edit them then there is said to be a 10 minute deadline – so if you go back later and add hashtags, they won’t count in the fast moving, over crowded algorithm.
TYPEUse a mixture of popular and niche hashtags, avoiding the most popular hashtags on Instagram like #Love, #instagood, #me, #cute, follow as they have so many posts associated to them that your posts run the risk of never being found.
Opt for those with around the 500k usage mark and below but don’t use such obscure hashtags that will never be found!
Get into the mindset of your followers – what would they be searching for to find you or your product or service?
Look at the Hashtags that your competition are using on their posts and take inspiration from those.
Use an online tool like Hash tagger to search for relevant hashtags for your industry, business or product
Use Google to search for trending or topical hashtags
BE UNIQUE Create a unique hashtag for your brand – great for competitions. Use that same hashtag on each of your posts for a competition and ask your users to enter the competition by posting their entry using this specific hashtag. You’ll be able to tap on the hashtag and find all of the entries in one place, that’s a huge time saver!
HASHTAG BIBLE Record any successful ones in a brand directory / Check out the top 100 hashtags for your industry on Google.
HOW CAN I SAVE MY HASHTAGS FOR SPEED Create groups of hashtags within planning apps like Planoly, Plann, Later and Preview..
EXPLORE – your competitors’ hashtags Add a couple of relevant ones to your post before posting, then click through and search those hashtags on similar photos… see what other people have included and get ideas & inspiration from their posts!
BANNING Some hashtags are banned – #valentinesday and #easter were two of the most surprising examples of this in 2018.
Banned hashtags on innocent words occurs because some people decide to include the particular hashtag on an inappropriate post, one that is deemed by Instagram as violating it’s terms. Nudity for example.
Another mistake commonly made by users is by using the same hashtags too often. Instagram classes this is BOT like behaviour and you will run the risk of being banned, this is Instagram’s attempt to solve the problem of offensive content.
Hashtags are only meant to help amplify your content, so don’t rely on them too much. Your content should speak for itself.
Instagram StoriesYou can use up to 3 hashtags in an Instagram story. One via the ‘stickers’ feature and another two via the adding text feature (Aa)
By using hashtags on both stories and in your grid, you increase your chance of being featured in Instagram’s hashtag collection meaning your post could be selected to be shown to a wider audience via their own account!