Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Are you #big on using hashtags in your #socialmediastrategy? To the untrained mind, hashtags are simply what people stick on the end of their Instagram posts to make it all the more #instagrammable and to #humblebrag about their latest #vacation. However, they are capable of much more and can even help you reach wider audiences through your organic content.
What is the real purpose of hashtags?
Hashtags are used to help boost engagement and categorise content. For example, if you post an image of your brand new sneaker you would hashtag things like #sneaker #fashion and #shoes. You probably wouldn’t include the hashtag #running or #hiking if they were a lifestyle shoe because they don't fit into these categories.
According to Hubspot Instagram posts with at least one hashtag generates 12.6% more engagement on average compared to a post with no hashtags at all.
How do you create a hashtag strategy?
A hashtag strategy will allow you to get the most out of the hashtags relevant to your business and also help you to only include ones that apply to your content. Start with a branded hashtag, which is just a hashtag made from your business name and is only linked to your business, for example, #themarketingbungalow. Before you set the final hashtag for your business, do a quick check on Instagram to ensure you're the only ones using it. To do this simply type the hashtag into the search bar, if nothing or very few posts appear in the results then run with it! The next step is to research topics relevant to your business and seek all the related hashtags you can find. Once again you can do a hashtag search on Instagram and see what other content topics pop up. You can look to leaders in your industry or even your competitors for inspiration and note down which ones could work for you too.
TIP: Try to focus on finding hashtags of different volumes, meaning, include hashtags that don't have many posts associated with them, such as #intelligentfun, and hashtags that are more popular like #digitalmarketing. You can group these into niche, low-volume, mid-volume and high-volume categories so you can include hashtags of varying volumes on your post.
What’s the benefit?
As put by AdEspresso ‘hashtags still represent the single best way to organically drive your social marketing campaigns’. If you haven’t dipped your toes into paid social media campaigns yet this is one way you can reach audiences who don't yet follow you on Instagram. Plus, you can also compete directly with other businesses in your industry by creating awesome content that leverages industry-specific hashtags.
TIP: Just because you can include 30 hashtags on each post doesn’t mean you have to! Keep your hashtag use concise and super relevant so you’re reaching your target audience.
So, get your research cap on and start collating hashtags relevant to your industry so you can really up your #socialmediastrategy.