Hashtags when used correctly can boost the visibility of your content on Instagram.
Imagine having less than a 1000 followers on Instagram and then getting as much as 500 people view your post on Instagram just from hashtags alone.
Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
With this, your product or service would get more visibility and you will get people to patronize you. This way, you are not only increasing your reach but also increasing your revenue.
Ignoring how important hashtags are is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner on Instagram because with them, you can reach more people on the platform.
If you have been struggling with how to use hashtags on Instagram or if you do not know how to select the right ones for your business, you will want to read this article till the end as I will be treating both of these and more in this article.
But before we delve deeper into this and how you can use them to promote your business on Instagram, you should register for our 90% practical digital marketing course where we teach our students practical knowledge on how to generate the right hashtags for their business and also get to learn other digital marketing strategies that can be used to grow their business.
They are keyword phrase spelt out without spaces and preceded by a pound sign (#).
Hashtags are widely used in microblogging and photo sharing services such as Twitter, Instagram and WeChat as a form of user-generated tagging that enables cross-referencing of content sharing a subject or theme.
Some examples are #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Instagram #SocialMedia.
Although originally created by twitter users in 2007, as a way to categorize messages, and today it has become widely used in a lot of social media applications such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, WeChat, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
In many of these social media platforms, it can be included at any part of the messaging but many of these platforms like Instagram have a limit to the number of hashtags you can include in a caption or comment.
On Instagram, you cannot include more than 30 of them on a caption or comment. If you do this, the video/photo or comment will not be posted.
So for every content you put up on Instagram, I want you to see each hashtag you include in them as an opportunity to reach thousands and if not millions of people with it.
Before we go on to look at how you can use hashtags to promote your business on Instagram, let us first examine how they work.
When you tag your post or comment with a hashtag, you will be able to tap the hashtag to go to another page that shows all photos and videos people have uploaded with that hashtag.
Then it takes you to a page that looks like a photo book that contains many posts and pictures on the related subject or topic.
On this page, there are two sections. One section is tagged Top posts while the other is tagged Most Recent.
The Top post includes posts with the most engagement using that hashtag which usually indicates posts from notable persons or brands with a large following but this is not always the case as you do not need to have a huge following for your post to appear on this section.
For the Most Recent section, there is a live stream of Instagram posts from everyone who has used that hashtag.
Instagram also has a feature that allows you to follow hashtags so that whenever someone uploads content with that hashtag, it appears in your feed.
Quick tip: You could create a hashtag unique to your business and encourage your customers to use and follow this hashtag.
Hashtags on Instagram can be included in the caption of a photo/video and they could also be included in the comment section.
You can search for them on Instagram using the search tab in the explore section.
When they are used appropriately, it is an excellent way for individuals and brands to increase their visibility and engagements on their content on Instagram. They can provide useful context and cues for recall, aggregate posts and Images.
They can provide real time updates to a group of like minded individuals on a specific topic.
Posts with at least one hashtag get 29% more interactions (for profiles with 1000 or fewer followers) while posts with 11+ hashtags have the highest interactions with 79,5% (for profiles with 1,000) or fewer followers.
Instagram posts that use hashtags can get up to 12.6% more engagement than posts that do not.
Hashtags are extremely powerful because they help categorize related content and make it more discoverable, which is why hashtag posts receive so much more engagement than posts without hashtags.
Hashtags are effective on Instagram as they help to increase interactions on the content you share on the platform. By increasing interaction, and making it visible to more people, hashtags make it possible for you to reach more of your target audience on Instagram.
So I tell you, hashtags are definitely things you want to be taking advantage of on Instagram because the possibilities that come with them are endless.
- When people with private profiles tag posts, the tags will not be visible to the public on hashtag pages. Make sure that your profile is on “public” so more people can see your posts when you use hashtags.
- Hashtags can contain numbers. However, spaces and special characters such as $, @ or % will not work.
- Only your post or comment can be tagged. You cannot tag other people’s photos/videos; since you can’t do this, you have to encourage your customers and prospects to use the hashtags you want them to use, so more people can see your content.
- A post can have up to 30 tags. If you use more than 30 tags on a single photo/video, your content will not be posted or your comment deleted. The truth is, you don’t even need up to 30 hashtags to boost the reach of your content. Want to find out how? Keep reading.
Quick tip : You can learn the tricks to using hashtags to promote your business on not just Instagram but other social media platforms when you register for our 90% digital marketing course.
Using hashtags to promote your business on Instagram entails the development of a hashtag strategy. This strategy will serve as a road map to guide you on how you can tactically use it to boost the visibility of your business on Instagram.
I have come up with a few pointers you could use to develop a hashtag strategy that is unique to your business.
Many business owners on Instagram make the mistake of not researching hashtags before they use them or include them in their post. When they check the insight of their post on Instagram to see how well the post is doing, they don’t get too many views from hashtags.
If you want to get the most out of your hashtags, think carefully about which one you want to use for each post you upload on Instagram.
The essence of researching before you include them in your post is to make sure that you select hashtags that quite a number of people are using, following or searching for so that more people can see your business and interact with it when they come across it.
To carry out a quick hashtag research on Instagram, you can go to the search tab on the explore section and make a search, including the # symbol before typing out the words. A new page is shown to reveal how many people have made a post with that same tag.
I advise individuals to utilize both large and small hashtags in their posts. Big hashtags are those that have been used over a million times, whereas small hashtags have only been used a few thousand times.
So that your hashtags perform well, do not overload your post with just big hashtags. It is better to find and use those that are smaller, more niche and have an engaged audience that is relevant to your industry.
If you had a business page on Instagram and you sold luxury clothing’s for example, you will not want to use only hashtags like #luxuryclothes #luxury #luxuryclothing because all of these are big hashtags. You could use include smaller hashtags like #affordableluxurywear, #dressforless, #fashionister, to balance things up.
Remember, you can only use 30 hashtags per post or comment so make each one count.
A number of things could influence the hashtag that you use on a certain post on Instagram. One of them is the content itself, another is the industry your business belongs to and also your location.
As a shoe vendor on Instagram for example, if you put up a picture of an adidas shoe that was made in the 80s, you could include hashtags like #throwback #flashbackfriday (if it is a Friday or #throwbackthursday if it is a Thursday), #adidasshoes #menshoes #shoevendorinnigeria. You should always include unique hashtags.
Hashtag Research Tools
If you do not want to go through the process of researching hashtags on Instagram, here are some tools that could help you.
Keyhole Is one of the most popular social media analytics tools that you could use for your hashtag research: it provides in-depth data analysis in an easy-to-understand format.
It’s a one-stop shop that includes:
- Real-time tracking of the reach and effectiveness of your campaigns
- Monitors brands in your industry as well as your top competitors.
- Notifies you of both favorable and unfavorable references of your company.
- Provides you with essential consumer information such as sentiment and demographics.
- Allows you to listen and stay up to date on current events.
- Find the most popular accounts and posts.
Hashtagify is a very user-friendly hashtag tracking application that helps you to rapidly locate relevant hashtags associated with a specific term.
In a tiny report, you can check the popularity of each hashtag in the results. If you log in, you may also save your searches.
While the basic kit is inexpensive, it only has a few functions.
AgoraPulse is a platform that makes managing your social media presence easier. It may also be used to track your social media performance, making it a handy hashtag analytics tool.
Brand24 is a social media monitoring tool that detects and analyzes mentions of your designated hashtags on forums, websites, blogs, and social media platforms, among other places.
The information is gathered and presented in an easy-to-understand graph that shows you how well your hashtags are doing.
RiteTag is a hashtag monitoring application that helps users figure out what hashtags to employ to make their content more discoverable.
It displays the most popular hashtags, as well as popular accounts that use them, and rates the hashtags you use as fantastic, good, underused, or overused. Anyone can use this tool as it is easy and self-explanatory.
Other tools you can explore are Sprout Social, Pixlee, Mention and Socialert.
Research your target audience
Your audience keeps you in business. They are the main reason you are on Instagram to sell in the first place. With this said, everything you do, you must keep them in mind.
You have research about them and monitor what they are saying or engaging in. You would also want to pay attention to some of the things that influence their decision to buy.
When you do this, you can deploy hashtags that will get them to look your way.
Remember the example of someone who sells luxury clothes on Instagram?
Yes, we will use that here.
During the rainy season, your target audience would definitely be talking about how cold the weather is and how they are struggling to get luxury clothes that keep them warm.
During this period, they will be seeking cloth vendors, checking out clothes to help them get through the period.
At this point, you will want to be including hashtags like #warmclothing, #warmclothes #staywarminstyle.
You have to regularly research your target audience to know what they want and the things that make them buy so you can include them in your hashtag strategy.
Follow your competitions, big or small on Instagram and also follow influencers in your industry to see what hashtags they use when they share content.
You can get great inspiration from them. You could also get more hashtags related to your industry from them. This way, you remain in the loop.
I would like to sound a word of caution at this point. When you use hashtags your competition or an influencer uses and you notice it is not increasing the reach you get from hashtags, drop it.
The truth is, you have to keep an open mind. There will be quite a number of trial and error here so you need to be keeping tab and not just stick to using the same hashtags because your competition or a big influencer in your industry uses them when it is clear that it is not working for you.
Some business owners on Instagram do something that I consider annoying. They just go on to copy the hashtags from their previous post and paste them on a new post without making any modifications whatsoever.
If you are one of those who practice this, please stop it. You cannot grow your business with hashtags this way.
You should not be using the same hashtags for all of your posts except of course you are posting the exact content everyday which i know you don’t do.
You could stick to using 5-8 industry based and unique hashtags for all of your posts but other than this, using the same hashtags on every post.
When you don’t repeat hashtags, it will be easier for you to monitor what hashtags are performing and what hashtags are not doing too well.
Whatever you do, resist the urge to copy and paste the same hashtags on different posts. Choose to put in the work and search for new hashtags. I have already made the work a little easier for you with some of the tools I mentioned above. (inside link)
Create hashtags that are unique to your business on Instagram. It is simple. It could just be a combination of your business name and some other slang.
Allow your creativity to come to play here. You will want to come up with hashtags that are short, easy to remember and unique to just your business so people can see them and register them with you in mind.
For a business like Tricia’s Luxury Clothing’s, you could create hashtags like #dresswithtrish #Trishfidence #TeeclothsU and others like this.
Tricia can encourage her customers to use these hashtags when they post a photo wearing any of her clothes on Instagram.
Hashtags like these can gain more ground when you initiate a contest or a campaign and you encourage people to share photos with your product on Instagram using your unique hashtag.
This can go a long way in promoting your business on the platform. It will also help people attach those hashtags to you and you can become popular with them. When people click on them, they will be taken to a page with other photos that have been tagged.
Hashtags are one of the features on Instagram that you can utilize to promote your visibility on the platform. The possibilities that exist with using hashtags on not just Instagram but social media as a whole are endless.
Many brands have been able to tap into these possibilities by using hashtags to launch major campaigns around the world.
An example is Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke hashtag became a viral hashtag campaign and is still promoted by the brand. #HereToCreate hashtag by Adidas is another hashtag campaign that expanded the brands reach within the relevant target audience of sports enthusiasts.
I could go on giving you more examples but the fact remains that hashtags are a very important feature you cannot do without if one of your aims on instagram is to promote your business and grow your reach.
You can get people to reach out to you and buy your product or service because one hashtag you included in your post made it appear on their Instagram feed or explore page.
The earlier you begin to take advantage of hashtags on Instagram, the better for your business.
For more ways of how you can use hashtags to promote your business on Instagram and other platforms register for our 90% digital marketing course and get all the strategies you can start implementing to grow your business online.