If you missed our segment on Instagram basics, you can go back and watch it here: #WTF is the point of Instagram?
We covered all the reasons that you can no longer ignore Instagram and count it off as something for the birds, or the millennials, or whatever excuse you were using.
It’s powerful for business.
So go back and get the details, get your business account, and then meet us back over here because today it’s all about:
Love ’em or hate ’em, there is power in the hashtag#mastersoftheuniverse
So, why, why should we use hashtags?
Because hashtags can grow your audience. They help people find you. And don’t we want people to find us? Businessly speaking…(can I make that a word?) Yes.
Hashtags are very easy to monitor and measure:
- you can track them via a social listening tool
- you can analyze them — their social media reach, audience, influence, etc.
- you can track posts and comments with specific hashtags and join conversations
- you can find influencers from a specific niche by checking who’s the most influential person or most active authors
- you can track the number of mentions
- you can be notified about every single post that contains a hashtag you track
But you got to use them in the right way and right combination for them to be effective.
How do they work?
Every time you post something and write your little caption with some hashtags, Instagram organizes and categorizes your photo/post. This helps optimize it and help it get discovered.
So let’s say you have put up a picture of a tractor. (I live in a small village people, these are the types of things that are top of mind for me)
So you put up a picture of a tractor with the hashtags: #tractor, #farmlife, #johndeere
Later on, someone who is really into tractors is going to type that into the Instagram search. All the posts/people that have shared a post with that hashtag will show up.
This means a user can discover people that are into the same thing they are into and follow them.
Let’s do another example, let’s say you’re vegan, you type vegan into the search. You will find all types of vegan posts from recipes, products, activists, etc. From that list you can choose who you’d like to follow.
Quick Note: If you need know how to actually write a hashtag, it’s that tic tac toe looking symbol that we used to call a “pound sign”. Type that and then the word or combo of words you want to use and voila! You’ve written a hashtag.
Get it? Does this makes sense? #Itotallyunderstand
Let’s talk about the different types of Hashtags
1. General (and often referred to as top hashtags-which is very misleading for business)
These are generic hashtags like #love #bae #sunshine #life.
As you may have guessed, they’re the top used because they are basic. Use those hashtags and you’ll be lumped in with the other 700 million people using that tag. This will make it hard to stand out and for people to find you.
So instead of using super general hashtags you can find the version of those are top trending and more specific to your industry
There are a few way to do this
a. You can go online
and type: popular hashtag for travel, or whatever your topic is. I have yet to find a really up to date or reliable source for this but you can still check it out and get some basic ideas
b. Go to the search button on Instagram.
When you click on the actual search field you will see the following headers:
TOP: This will list people that Instagram thinks you might want to follow, like top influencers in your industry or celebrities, etc.
PEOPLE: Kinda of the same as Top but you will find your Facebook friends as opposed to Beyonce.
TAGS: This is the place we wanna be. (but hold tight, let me tell you what else is there)
PLACES: Here you will find posts that have been tagged in a certain location. Say you’re in Hollywood and you want to see posts from places nearby. You can click on places and see what people are posting locally. (Like the ice cream shop around the corner) This is an absolutely amazing feature for those of you with physical locations.
For this excercise, we want to go back to the “Tags” header I mentioned.Go to “Tags” and type a subject like “food”. You will see the top trending tags for “food” and how many posts have been put up using that hashtag.
Specifically you will see: #foodporn, #food, #foodie, #foodblogger
Don’t Forget: The most used isn’t always the best for discovery
I suggest starting out with a combination of a couple top tags in your industry, the bland basics like: #entrepreneur
Then add in a few more specifics like: #onlinebusinesscoach
Lastly, sprinkle in more niche and related tags that make sense for you post: #mindset #personaldevelopment #socialmediamarketing #workinthedream
Word of Caution-Don’t get lazy. Don’t just post the same set of hashtags on every thing you post up. You need to switch up your hashtag game and test out different things. See what works and adjust often depending on the specifics of the post.
Hashtag popularity changes and new hashtags pop up all the time. You need to keep up with what’s current.
You may be thinking “Oh crap, well how do I do that?”
You keep up with what’s current by this super complicated research:
c. See what other people are posting.
Follow the big guys in your industry. Follow the little guys in your industry. See what hashtags they are using and try them out.
2. Branded Hashtags
These are hashtags that are unique to you. It can be your company name, tagline, product name or name of a campaign you’re running. It can even have nothing with your name but instead your brand identity, like #healthylifeAnaheim
If any of you follow me on my personal digital nomad account: “NomadNoproblem”, you’ll see I use general tags like: #travel, #digitalnomad,
but then I throw in ultra specific tags like #nomadnoproblem, #Czechmysteeze, and #czechmex (If you can’t guess, I’m traveling in Czech right now).
Branded tags are to connect themes for you and your audience. You can also use them to promote campaign like, #Freeentrancenights. Notice this is neither your name or tagline, instead it relates to a campaign that give free entrance on Sunday nights, hence the “freeentrancenights” hashtag.
3. Community Hashtags
These hashtags are much more specific and connect people that have things in common.
#Itravelalone is a community hashtag helping aimed to rid to the stigma that women shouldn’t travel alone. If you check that hashtags you will find a community of women posting all their independent travels encouraging others to do so.
Just as I mentioned before, it is best to check with your audience and influencers in your industry to see what’s currently related to your business
Make sure not jump on a tag if you’re not sure what it’s about. You don’t want something like the offensive DiGiorno Pizza hashtag faux pax on your head.
I wish I could tell you some great sexy way to do this, but honestly, I just keep a big ol’ list in my One Note and the notes section on my phone. I organize by the main subject of my post: food, office, travel, etc. and list all the different tags I like to use. This list is constantly being updated and added to.
There are some websites that allow you to “store” your hashtags, but I have not tried any out, so I am unable to recommend anything. Personally, they sound like more trouble than it’s worth. However, I could totally be wrong. If any of you have tried a site, or different method, Please share in the comments. Give up the goods-don’t be stingy with your wisdom.
And a good old fashioned excel sheet does the job too, then you can just copy and paste that b.
How many hashtags?
The max set by Instagram is 30 hashtags.
But do you need all 30?
Well, if they all make sense and are really relevant, I say go for it.
Especially in the beginning while you are still learning what works best for your industry and type of posts.
You just gotta try it out.
As you start to hone your hashtag skills, then you might find you use less.
Personally, I go back and forth. Sometimes I’m at 22, sometimes I’m at 12. But rarely am I under 10.
A good ratio to start with is
Use 3–5 big ones- those top tags
Then 3–5 super niche tags
1–3 branding, promotion or community tags
Take caution to not clutter your posts.
You can keep a few hashtags with your caption, then create some space and finish writing your hashtags at the bottom of the post. This keeps the immediate view of your post caption clean and uncluttered.
Often, I put a few hashtags with the caption and then put the rest in a comment below my post. There are different schools of thought on this. As of now, I have experienced no change in engagement doing my hashtags this way.
The majority of instagrammers aren’t really into long posts. It seems to be kind of a turn off when there’s just a ton of word vomit and a bazillion hashtags under the post. However, it’s a guideline, not a rule. Do what works best with your audience.
So there it is:
Why do it
How it works
#organizes & #optimizes your content
Different types of hashtags
#toptrending, #branded, #community
#excel or #notes section on your phone
How many hashtags
#depends, so test it out (But no more than 30)
And that’s it!!
You are now #ready to #handlethis!
(I honestly don’t know if I can write like a normal adult anymore)
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments. I am here to learn too.
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