Instagram marketing has taken a whole new level. There was once a time when we just post photos for the heck of it. Saw a cute dog? Post. That lovely Italian dinner? Post. Don't forget that funny drunk video with your best friend. Post!
But now this powerful marketing tool boasts over 700 million users that can be integral to gain influence. Everyone can utilize IG in proliferating their market reach for their personal brand or business.
But the basics of getting Instagram followers and likes are not as easy as it seems. This comes with careful and targeted posting. And out of millions of photos and mini-stories around the world, how can your potential customers see you?
Yes, you can rely on your friends. But if you want explosive reach, tapping a sliver of the 700-million is a must (unless you're Kylie Jenner). And one way to do that is through Hashtags.
If you don't know already, hashtags can be a combination of words and numbers preceded by the "#" key. Putting this in your IG post will allow the algorithm to tag it under that hashtag.
Think of it as a filing cabinet for organizing relevant posts. For example, if you tagged a photo with #TravelAustralia, it will be filed under that specific tag. When a person searches #TravelAustralia, they will find your post alongside other relevant posts with it.
But the question is, what hashtags should you use? Now, we give you 8 tips for that perfect hashtag on your Instagram.
This may be an obvious tip but quite a lot of people get carried away. For example, if you tag #PhilippineTravel, your photo should be something that those who want to travel in the PH might want to like and comment on. Do not tag your 2-hour commute sardined in a bus during rush hour (although really funny).
In 2018, IG users can now follow hashtags to feast their eyes with relevant content. And if you have weird tagged photos, they can use the "Don't Show for this Hashtag Option". And having multiple flagged photos in your feed might render some to be shown less often (if at all).
On the other hand, if you provide quality content consistently under that hashtag, people might actually follow you instead.
This brings me to the next point. What are the relevant hashtags for your brand?
Actually, only you can pinpoint this. And a clearer way to do it is knowing who your target market is. Make a customer profile. What are their values? What are the hashtags they would most likely follow?
Try searching them over the explore window. You can also use the "related hashtags" suggestions when you click on the possible hashtag you will use.
But what if you have no idea at all? If you want some inspiration, try looking into your competitors. Check the hashtags they use. You don't need to use them all, but you can copy some that might be useful for your brand.
The goal is to rank as one of the best photos in every hashtag. This will allow your content to be shown more. But it's hard to compete if you choose an overly popular hashtag.
I mean you can compete with #Travel. But what are the chances that you will stand out from 313M posts tagged to it?
It's best to just choose relevant tags with lesser following. You can use a more manageable following at around 5,000 to 500,000 posts. With this, you can be sure to have a fighting chance in the hashtag ranking game.
In Instagram, aesthetics are quite important. And you want to bring beauty not only in your photos but also in your texts.
There have been debates about whether you should fully utilize the 30 hashtags allowable in your post or just put around 6 to 9. Some argue that attaching 30 would make the content look like a spam and reeks of desperation. And others say that you are under-utilizing the reach if you limit yourself with a few.
There is no right or wrong answer. Regardless of which one you favor, better hide your hashtags. You only have a few seconds to catch the attention of your followers. You don't want them to see a barrage of seemingly alien words lined up in your caption.
You can also tag your posts in the comment section. If you already have active followers, the hashtag comment will be buried when people start to engage with your content. Take note, the 30 hashtag limit is a combined total for all hashtags you put on your caption and the comment section. So be guided accordingly.
Your Instagram Journey will compose of normal posts and campaign posts for a period of time. Better create a Brand hashtag for your followers or followers-to-be to easily check out the summary of your content.
You can also use this to encourage your followers to share their own photos related to your brand. For example, a marketing campaign for Paystaff Digital Nomads can use #PayStaffNomads as a hashtag for their wanderlust.
The bottom line is: make it short but recognizable. Use it to your advantage.
As a recent update, we can now add hashtags in our Bio and Stories. Like the example above, you don't want to flood your bio with your autobiography. By adding a hashtag, you can let your past pictures speak for your brand.
And today, we can pin feature "stories" in our feed. Stories are like video or photo snippets of our daily lives that expire for a day or after one view. The stories feature humanizes our brand. And you can show content that's not necessarily feed-worthy, but funny or relevant nonetheless.
By putting a hashtag in your stories, Instagram collates them and you can be shown to a larger audience. More interactions, more chances for new followers. Take note that the maximum hashtags you can attach are pegged at 10.
As frustrating as it might be, your Instagram followers might not get traction for a few weeks or even months. It's really tempting to just find an easy way out. There are certain hashtags like #like4like or #follow4follow that might increase your follower count momentarily.
But this is just vanity. Yes, you need followers. But you need active followers who engage in your content. Some of these hashtags are plagued with bots and spammers. And the algorithm won't reward you with the short-term gain you flaunt.
Be patient and follow the process.
Lastly, you can't improve your numbers if you don't know what it is in the first place. Luckily, Instagram has a built-in analytics tool to measure your market reach and engagement.
If you're posting for a personal brand or a business, better switch to Instagram's business profile. With this, you can check insights and adjust your marketing strategy if needed. You will know what works or not. And you ultimately need this trial and error to grow your overall influence.
With that, I hope your #hashtags get you the reach you deserve! Good luck!