While it may have originated on Twitter, the humble hashtag was initially the butt of much ridicule when it made its debut on Instagram — particularly when it was #used in #every other #word. These days we’re still using hashtags, but to get the most out of their usage, a strong hashtag strategy is crucial.
So why do you need a hashtag strategy? Hashtags are a great way to grow your audience, build community and beef up your brand presence. Not to mention, they’re a great way to grow your account organically. According to research conducted by the Social Media Lab at Agora Pulse, if your post includes even 1 hashtag you’ll see a 70% increase in engagement over a post that doesn’t. We’ll fill you in on some choice tips and tricks you can employ to get the most out of the content you work so hard to create.
Your Content Is Discoverable
Red Bull may give you wings, but hashtags will give your content legs! Using hashtags is the easiest way to get your content on the screens of more folx. I’m sure there are many of us who have found ourselves going down a scroll hole thanks to the Instagram Explore page, and that’s only one of the ways hashtags are able to drive viewers to your content.
While 30 is the maximum number of hashtags you can use per post, the number of hashtags you should use is up for debate. We’re of the opinion that the more hashtags you use, the better, but it’s important to make sure that the hashtags you’re using are hyper relevant to your content. To keep our captions looking clean, we put the three most relevant hashtags in our caption while the remaining hashtags get posted as the first comment.
We already know you’re a risk taker, so don’t be afraid to experiment with how many hashtags you’re using and how you’re using them. The right answer is whatever works best for your unique audience and brand.
Community Hashtags: Rub Shoulders with Industry Leaders
Another perk of using hashtags is that your content can end up right alongside industry leaders through the use of community hashtags. Community hashtags aren’t necessarily going to be the ones with millions of uses, rather they will be more focused and niche like #howihaven for interior design and #plantyplaces for all those green thumbs out there.
Identifying the right community tags to use in your post is crucial, since the more relevant they are to your post the more likely you are to get engagement from your target audience. The related tags are also a great way to find tags that are relevant to your post. You can find these not only on community tags, but also if you search something more broad like “travel.”
We can’t stress enough the importance of making sure your hashtags are relevant to your posts, especially since users are now able to follow hashtags just like they would another user. If your content regularly doesn’t align with a hashtag someone follows, they can choose to not show pictures from your account for that hashtag.
Branded Hashtags = Building Community
What’s a branded hashtag, you ask? It’s a hashtag that is unique to your brand, of course! It can be anything from the name of your company to a campaign that you’re running.
Having branded hashtags is a great way to encourage engagement from your followers, not just in the form of likes and comments but also as user-generated content! That means more content for you to use, and less time spent creating it. It’s also a best practice to put your branded hashtag in your bio with a quick explainer on how it should be used.
With Curology’s #curologyjourney hashtag, they invite people to submit images of their skincare journey using the hashtag which then gives them a chance to be featured on Curology’s page. Nice and simple. Oh and don’t forget to follow your branded hashtags so you can keep an eye on how it’s being used!
While this is by no means the be-all and end-all on hashtags, we think it’s a great jumping off point to kickstart your own hashtag strategy adventure. Have any questions for us? Drop us a line in the comments or on our socials and we’ll answer them!