At their core, hashtags offer a quick and easy way to share thoughts and ideas across Instagram and other social media platforms. Instagram users can even utilize hashtags to follow certain topics in real-time as tagged posts appear on the platform.
As a marketer, you can leverage hashtags to increase post visibility, improve content discovery and extend reach beyond your follower base. When Instagram posts have at least one hashtag, engagement increases by 12.6% compared to posts without this important element, as reported by Sprout Social. An effective Instagram hashtag strategy allows you to deliver your posts to those who are most interested in viewing them, boosting the effectiveness of your content.
Discovering New Hashtags
Instagram users spend a lot of time searching hashtags to discover new and interesting content. Tagging your posts with relevant hashtags will help them find your content in their search feed, increasing the visibility and discoverability of your brand. When selecting hashtags to use for your business posts, use a mix of broad and specific terms to cast the widest net. Start with your industry, then move through your niche, brand, community and location to create a list of hashtags relevant to your business. At Hubbard, for example, we can utilize both industry and branded hashtags - such as #radio and #HubbardChicago, respectively - in our Instagram posts to get our content in front of the right people.
You can also utilize hashtag tracking tools to discover which hashtags will generate the most engagement for your brand. Beyond the native tool within the Instagram platform, you can try free online options, such as Keyhole and RiteTag. Using these tools, you can create lists of effective hashtags to include in your Instagram posts.
Tips and Best Practices for Using Instagram Hashtags Effectively
Once you have your preliminary list completed, you can utilize these tips for using Instagram hashtags to boost the visibility and engagement of your posts.
Limit Your Hashtags on Each Post
Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags for each post, but that is not the most effective approach to drawing in your target audience. Instead, aim to use 11 hashtags to achieve the best results, as revealed by Sprout Social.
Avoid Overusing Certain Hashtags
The new Instagram algorithm instated the dreaded “shadowban”, which may kick in if you use the same hashtag too often. This could hide all of your posts from people who are not directly following you, severely limiting your reach and engagement. The key to avoiding this is mixing up your hashtags as much as you can.
Embrace the Power of Emojis
With the popularity of emojis, Instagram elected to offer support for their use in hashtags on their platform – and it is well worth your time to do so. It’s another fun and unique way to increase your visibility, as well as differentiate yourself from others using the platform.
Use Hashtags in Your Instagram Stories
You can make your Instagram stories show up in searches by adding hashtag stickers to your posts. As your users search for content, your tagged stories will show up in the search results, offering users the opportunity to interact with your brand.
Post Hashtags Immediately
You should never wait to add hashtags to your posts, as that only results in your post getting buried in the results for those terms. Instead, always post your hashtags immediately to maximize your reach and ensure your content is seen instantly by Instagram users.
Utilizing Hashtags to Boost Your Instagram Presence
Without an effective Instagram hashtag strategy, you may struggle generating true reach and engagement with your target audience. You can improve your success on this popular social media platform by applying the tips for using Instagram hashtags listed above. With these tips, you can discover and utilize the most effective hashtags to promote your posts and build a strong following for your brand.