Hashtag-using on Instagram can be a task confusing to navigate. For users who downloaded the app right when it came out, we remember these tags to be a funny, casual addition to a selfie or other random post. Nonsensical tags like #yolo or #bff pretty much served no other purpose than to entertain.
Now, the casual Insta user doesn’t really use hashtags. However, for creators and business owners who are trying to grow their platform on the app, they’re pretty integral for the social media toolkit. Data from Instagram itself has actually shown that posts that are hash-tagged successfully can gain around 12.6% more engagement than a post with just a caption. However, getting into the swing of it can be daunting. In my past experiences with social media marketing, the following questions always haunted me in regards to tags: Is using a ton of tags annoying my followers? How do I know which hashtags Instagram users are actually scrolling through? Which choice is the right hashtag?
After a while, I compiled a decent amount of information about how to properly hashtag on Instagram. If you’re facing similar questions, never fear–below are a few tips that should help you get started with upping your brand or platform’s Insta engagement ASAP!
Make Your Page Public
You’d think this one would go without saying, but I had to include it nonetheless. You’d be surprised at just how many people I’ve met that didn’t know private posts, even hash-tagged ones, don’t show up in a tag’s feed. So, if you’re just starting out on Instagram, make sure your overall account is set to Public Viewing.
Do Your Research
Hashtags work by categorizing your post based on which tags you choose to include. So, if others are scrolling through a certain tag that you’ve added to your caption, your post will show up. That’s why it’s important to do your research on which tags garner the most attention. To do this, start by checking out other similar accounts to yours that have large and engaged followings. For example, say you’re an artist trying to build a name for yourself and your work on Insta. Chances are you follow a ton of accounts that post similar content to yours–head over to their pages and see what hashtags they utilize, and decide which categorized tags seem to fit best with your brand.
Learn the 9 Styles of Hashtag
Instagram Business categorizes tags into nine different styles. There are product/service-related hashtags, industry-nice hashtags, community hashtags, special events/seasons hashtags, location hashtags, daily hashtags, category-related hashtags, acronym hashtags, and hashtags using emojis. Study the different styles of hashtags and figure out a combination that represents the various communities you’re hoping to reach. For example, imagine you’re a New York City street photographer. You’ll want to use a hashtag on your post that directly targets NYC-based Insta users, such as #NYCphotography. However, you also want a wide range of non-locals to find your account, too. So, a more general tag, like #streetphotography, would be good to include as well. If it’s a special occasion or holiday, hunt down some active tags for the specific date you’re posting that might get you some extra attention on your photo.
Use a Lot of Hashtags at Once
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the different demographics you’re hoping to reach, it’s time to add hashtags to your posts. A lot of Insta users feel anxious when adding tags to feed posts. This is likely because the inclusion of tags can feel like somewhat of an impersonal and overwhelming addition to a caption. However, it’s important to remember how much these tags can boost your content. It’s totally acceptable to use a large variety of hashtags on your posts, especially if you format them in the right way. I recommend adding tags in the following format:
This is my caption! Here’s how to grow your brand with hashtags.
#instagrowth #hashtags #whatever
In this way, your caption stands alone. By placing the hashtags below your post, they’re out of the eye of your viewer. But, you still get to get the benefits of the tags on your post.
Go Beyond the Feed
Getting comfy with using tags on your feed posts is a great first step. But, once you’ve started to get used to using tags on your regular posts, it’s time to branch out to other facets of hashtag use on your Insta page. While growing your profile, in general, you want to make use of other Instagram features besides posts, such as Stories, Instagram Highlights, and even IGTV videos. And, you can hashtag for these types of content as well.
So, here’s a beginner’s guide on how to get started with hashtagging. You’ll have the hang of it in no time!
Feature Image from Jan Baborak on Unsplash.com