What are Hashtags
Let's start by defining a hashtag! hashtags are short phrases (no longer than 3 words usually), with a pound/number sign (#) before the words. It looks like this: #hashtag
What Do hashtags Do?
At the most basic level, hashtags are used on social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to categorize posts by topic. Each hashtag is its own unique topic, and any post which hash that hashtag in it will be categorized accordingly.
Why are they Important?
Hashtags are the sorting process for social media platforms, especially Instagram. As there are tens of millions of Instagram posts per day, getting in front of the right people isn't always as easy as it may seem, and hashtags help your posts to get in front of the people who are actually interested in seeing it!
Specific hashtags allow you to target specific groups of people with your post, even if they don't follow you! Beyond helping you to get people in front of your post, it helps people who are interested in seeing your content find it more easily, as they will be looking for similar things, or even using the same hashtags to search!
How to Know Which Hashtags To Use
Hashtags should be used with a consideration being placed on the topic of your post. If you make a post about marketing, don't hashtag #food - it wont do you any good. BUT, if you wanted to hashtag #marketing, you would encounter a more relevant audience! The more specific your hashtag, the more targeted your viewers will be!
Keep in mind, it is essential to add hashtags to every single post of yours. The benefit of adding more hashtags is increased visibility! Especially if the topic is highly specific, this is just an added bonus as it will be easier to get in front of the people who are specifically looking for this type of content!
Using repeat hashtags is bad, mainly because it will make your account appears as though it is either a spam bot, or you will get flagged for repeat hashtags to spam users - both of these can lead to your account being deleted.
How to Use Hashtags for your Business
As discussed above, the more specific your hashtags the better! But using a hashtag for a business, vs an individual requires different considerations! Keeping to the following suggestions will help you to better utilize hashtags for your business!
1. Keep an organized Hashtag Bank
A hashtag bank is a list of your hashtags, organized and ordered based on topic and popularity! This will help you quickly locate hashtags that you should be using on your posts!
2. Figure out your Ideal Amount of Hashtags
Find the amount of hashtags to use on each post, that number is different for everyone! Allow a long trial and error period for yourself. Sometimes the number can be near the maximum, sometimes it's a very low number!
3. Narrow Your Hashtags
Smaller-volume hashtags are actually better for brands, for multiple reasons. The first being you are competing with less posts to be seen! Broad hashtags can have millions of posts attached to them, which makes it incredibly difficult to gain visibility. Being specific allows you to target your audience with better success, and when the intended targets do find your posts, they're likely to be happier that they found it!
4. Research What Others Are Hashtagging
Take a look at what your competitors are tagging, it will help to give you inspiration! Not only that, but it will give you a more clear picture of industry trends, what competitors are focusing on and more! Influencers are a great place to start looking.
The image on the right is a great example for a baker or foodie who is posting about baked goods! Just go to the search bar on your Instagram, and search the hashtag or topic you are curious about to get started!
5. Follow Your Own Hashtag
Following your own hashtag is important for marketing purposes, as it allows you to see anyone who talks about it or posts about it, and gives you the chance to interact with them! This will help you to develop better brand relationships, as well as increase your brand visibility and reputation!
Even though we may not like them or want to use them because they aren't aesthetically pleasing, hashtags are an important way to help grow your profile, presence and get more engagement with your social posts!