I want you to answer the follow questions in all honesty from the bottom of your heart:
Do you include hashtags in your Instagram posts?
Now here’s a second question for you…
Is your hashtag strategy documented as a part of your overarching marketing strategy, targeted toward your customer personas and overall goals?
Hashtags are an excellent way to gather more of your ‘tribe’ to your content, particularly on Instagram. Like any Search or Social campaign, you need to first understand your objectives and target customers. Once you have that in mind, setting a hashtag strategy is a relatively simple task.
But first, a refresher.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services. They make it easier for users to find messages with specific content.
A short link of a word or group of words preceded # may seem confusing and unnecessary, but they are integral to the way we communicate on the world wide web.
Want to know more? You can read my previous article, What is a Hashtag?
Why Do We Use Hashtags?
Simply, they make the social ‘discovery’ process easier, and help users more easily find the content they like, and connect with other users that resonate with them.
We can also use hashtags to test our language - when we search specific hashtags that we think perfectly describe our business, what type of content does that pull up? Other people like us? OR people who match our customer personas? Or something totally random?
Digital marketing is all about the final audience or end user - your customer - and hashtags can help you really nail down the language they use, and prospect for potential contacts.
How Can You Nail Your Strategy? A few easy steps...
Using the most relevant and effective hashtags can be the difference between Instagram success and failure. Here are a few pointers on how you can find hashtags that make sense for your business:
Make a list of the key words or phrases people use when talking about your company, industry or niche and then make a list of the words you would like to be known for, or your key messages.
Go to Instagram (Twitter, or Facebook, depending on your platform of choice - we think this is most effective on Instagram and get more traffic to our website from this platform than any other) and go through the process of typing each of these hashtags into search to see how the hashtag is used, and who is using it. Really take the time to sift through accounts, look at top posts for each tag and try different word combinations.
When you find a hashtag that attracts your people for the right reasons, write it in your new hashtag list. Keep going until you have a list of 30. You can have a maximum of 30 hashtags on the one post - don’t try and use any more, Instagram gurus will stand in your way!
TIP: Too many hashtags in your text area with your image can be distracting for your followers. SO, we recommend posting your list of tags in the next comment area.
Tweak regularly, and overhaul completely every 6-12 months.