Research shows that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive, on average, over 12% more engagement than those without. Make sure your carefully curated content gets the reach it deserves by following our beginners guide to choosing and using hashtags on Instagram.
What are hashtags
Hashtags are words related to your post, business or service that are prefixed with a # symbol. There is a huge range of hashtags used across the platform, from individual words and phrases, to themes such as #wisdomwednesday or #throwbackthursday (#tbt for short).
Why should I use hashtags
Hashtags act as a form of search for users on Instagram. It allows businesses and individuals to find content that relates to their interests. This means that if you use targeted, relevant hashtags, your content is more likely to be discovered by a new audience of potential customers and clients.
Choosing hashtags for your posts
The best place to start is by carrying out some research. What hashtags are your audience, competitors and the leaders in your industry using? A spreadsheet might help you keep track, and it will allow you to quickly find suitable hashtags when you have new content to share.
Although it can be tempting to use the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s important to remember that you’ll be one amongst thousands of similar posts, so although you may get some reach, it’s best practice to include some more specific, niche hashtags to help you stand out and find your target audience.
Take a look at a recent post from our Instagram profile – we captured a gorgeous view reflected in our front door early one morning. We like to use variation in our hashtags as we want to communicate more than just our services in order to build the personality of our brand.
Beyond our followers, we wanted to reach those who would enjoy this photo and may be searching for images of Cornwall, the sea or similar, as this could indicate their involvement in the marine industry and we would want to get on their radar should we be able to provide support in the future.
Hashtag Best Practice and Tips
Punctuation breaks the hashtag – be aware that a hashtag link will stop with punctuation, so avoid apostrophes, commas etc.. to ensure you have a working hashtag.
It’s now possible for Instagram users to follow hashtags as well as accounts, so bare this in mind if you’re trying to reach certain individuals.
Don’t hashtag spam – take care to mix up the hashtags you use on each post to avoid creating spam posts that could affect your reach. Relevant, specific and different hashtags will have much more impact.
3 or 30? – You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post, but there are no strict rules about how many you have to use. If you can find lots of great hashtags, feel free to go for it; if you prefer to use a select few, that’s fine too. If you avoid hashtag spamming and have researched your audience and competitors, you’ll find the right balance for your business.
Be your own hashtag – Many companies chose to create a branded hashtag, using their own company name, so their audience can quickly and easily find related content. Give some thought to how you might like to create your own branded hashtag to help raise your profile and stand out from the crowd.
Now you’re ready to get out there are start using hashtags on Instagram to reach more potential customers and clients. If you’re looking for some social media support, why not get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your ideas?