Hashtags. Everyone on social media has seen them, many people use them, but how many actually know what they're doing? Hashtags can be incredibly powerful to reach more people - more of the right people - but how do you create a solid hashtag strategy?
Why You Should Hashtags
Using hashtags is one of the best ways for your content to reach new people because they label and categorize your content. This serves two purposes.
First of all, it makes it possible for people who are interested in your topics to find your posts. Instagram serves your posts to people who engaged with similar content in the past. The more initial engagement your content receives, the more people it will be served to. This can create a snowball effect and make a post 'go viral'. Having a solid hashtag strategy can therefore be very beneficial because it can spark that initial engagement.
In addition, using relevant hashtags helps Instagram to understand what your profile is all about. When you regularly use hashtags that are connected, Instagram picks up on this. The cool thing then is that your profile can be suggested to people who have similar interests, and that's (one of the ways) how you grow your audience.
5 Quick Wins For Your Hashtag Strategy
Having a solid hashtag strategy can really bring your Instagram efforts - and your business! - to the next level. So what does a good strategy look like?
Use relevant hashtags Make sure the hashtags are relevant to your business. For example, #Love is a very popular hashtag, but when using that hashtag, you're not targeting your ideal audience. Many of the people who see the post won't be interested in your business, they won't engage, so your engagement rate drops, and Instagram will believe your content isn't interesting.
Use a hashtag mix Use a mix of hashtags, e.g. location hashtags, industry hashtags, and object hashtags. A brunch place in Barcelona could for example use #BarcelonaFoodies #BrunchTime and #EggsBenedict. This way, they will be able to reach a well-targeted audience.
Don't get too creative #BrushYourTeethDaily might seem like a good hashtag for a dentist, but it's probably not a hashtag people actively search for. Therefore, it won't be shown to many people. Because the maximum amount of hashtags you can use per post is limited, using those hashtags is a wasted opportunity.
An exception to this rule is when you want an exclusive hashtag, for example when you run a competition. In that case, a unique hashtag that is only used by you and your participants serves as a collection tool. Search for the hashtag and all entries will show up. Another good use of an exclusive hashtag is one for your business in general or parts of it in specific. For example, when someone asks me for some hashtag advice, I can tell them to search for #tHashtagStrategy on LinkedIn and they will find all the hashtag tips I've shared there in the past.
Introduce a community hashtag Another exception to the previous rule is when you're building a community around your brand. You can introduce a hashtag specifically for your fans to connect with and use for their own content. It will start small, but the more your brand grows, the more popular the hashtag will be. Not only will your fans feel more engaged with your brand, but it's also a great way to collect user-generated content. My personal favorite is Yamaha's #RevsYourHeart.
Use the right size hashtag for your profile It might be tempting to use a hashtag that's extremely popular, but when a hashtag has millions of posts, the competition is enormous and it's unlikely that a new audience will find you. A great tool to find the right hashtags for your brand is MetaHashtags. This website lets you find hashtags around certain topics and accounts, and the great thing is that you can filter on things like the total amount of posts, posts per hour, and the average number of likes. This gives you an idea of whether or not you can compete for a Top Post position and be discovered by more people.
Get Started And Play Around
You might feel overwhelmed by all this, but don't! Just play around with the MetaHashtag tool, try adding some new hashtags to your content, and after a while, swap some of them out for others. Does it lead to more engagement? Great! If not, swap them back and try some others.
If you have any questions, just write a comment below or book a Pick-My-Brain Call to really dig into the topic together.