While Twitter may have the first social media channel to embrace the hashtag as a way of organizing content and reach new audiences, Instagram has taken the hashtag to new levels. Using hashtags on Instagram is vital to extending your reach, but you still need to do your research and think strategically.
The first question may be how many hashtags you should incorporate into your Instagram captions. Some brands and ambassadors may stuff as many as 30 hashtags into a single caption (the maximum allowed), but that can end up just looking spammy, rather than creating the impression and image you are reaching for. Instead, focus on just 5 to 10 carefully selected hashtags that will attract an audience but maintain a focus on your specific targeted audience.
It’s easy to check for popular hashtags on Instagram’s own website. Simply type in the hashtag you are considering, and you can see how many users are following that hashtag.
You will want to combine popular hashtags with others unique to your brand, encouraging users to follow you specifically to stay in touch with your content. Branded hashtags might include your business name, a tagline, or a specific promotion or campaign. These not only allow users to find your content, but when others use your hashtags, they gain more exposure for you with their own followers.
Use a cascade of hashtags, being sure to include relevant and specific hashtags, not only broad general ones. While you might include #spafacial, also be more specific if you are promoting a specific product, such as #venusviva. By using more specific, less-followed hashtags you aren’t competing against as many other posts in the feed as those who only use the most popular. Also consider including your location in order to specifically reach audiences in your geographic area.
Remember these basics: A hashtag is all one word with no punctuation, and shorter is better. Long hashtags are difficult to read.
Proper use of hashtags helps put your organic content in front of more viewers on Instagram and establishes your brand identity when you use those hashtags consistently.
Of course, you also have to create that organic content. If you are struggling with how your small business can consistently create organic content for Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, schedule an opportunity to talk with us. I also suggest checking out this case study about how Serenity Medical Spa used organic content on Facebook to increase visibility and sales.