If you want to be successful on Instagram, you absolutely must use hashtags. There’s really no way around it. People can’t find you and connect as easily with your brand if you’re not using them.
These simple words and phrases help users find posts that are relevant to their interests. When used correctly, hashtags can bring you tons of new followers and create engagement in ways that are significant.
However, there are a lot of marketers out there who are using this valuable tool in ways that are completely wrong. Avoid that trap by following these tips on how to use Instagram hashtags to grow your audience.
1. Make Sure They’re Relevant
You can easily find lists online of the most popular hashtags on Instagram. Checking out what’s trending will also give you a good insight into what people are talking about. However, don’t be tempted to use a hashtag just because it’s popular. First of all, popular tags tend to be too mammoth.
You’ll get lost in all the competition if all you’re using are the most popular hashtags. You also want to be sure the ones you use are relevant to your business, brand or niche.
Doing otherwise will just look spammy and turn people off. Instead, do some research to discover hashtags that are related to what your brand is all about.
2. Use the Right Number of Hashtags
You should definitely use multiple hashtags if you want to increase your chances of getting engagement on your posts.
After all, people are looking for different things. Using more than one tag will let more people find you. However, you don’t want to overdo it. Nine or ten should be a good target to shoot for.
Remember, though, only use the tags that are relevant to your post. If you can only find a few good ones, that’s fine. Targeted tags are better than meaningless ones.
3. Get Specific
You want to attract a targeted audience. That means an audience that is interested in your specific offering and will find the most value in your business. Therefore, it’s important that your hashtags be specifically targeted in a way that will appeal to those people.
Knowing your ideal audience will help you to create those hashtags. You’ll get better quality engagement when you take the time to use hashtags that are highly relevant and specific to your audience.
4. Do Your Research
Yes, you need to research to find the hashtags that are relevant to your industry or business. You can do a search on Instagram using related keywords to find tags others are using that are generating engagement. You can also check out what your competition and their followers are using.
Try different tags out to find the ones that work best for your audience. Also, be sure you take time to research any tags you’re not sure about to make sure they’re not associated with anything questionable that could tarnish your brand’s image.
5. Consider Popular Hashtags Sometimes
There are times when popular hashtags can be appropriate for use. Again, if they’re relevant to your post, use them. It’s possible they could expand your reach, and they won’t come off as spammy.
Just be sure you’re using additional, more targeted tags as well. A combination such as this can work well in your favor by helping you to reach a wider audience and still getting through to your more targeted demographic.
6. Add Hashtags Later
You can even add hashtags after a post is published. Sometimes you become aware of really great hashtags later that you wish you had been using all along.
That’s okay. Just go back to relevant posts, click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post and click “edit.” You can then edit your post and add the newly acquired hashtag. It’s also possible to avoid the editing step and just stick hashtags in the comments if you prefer.
7. Hide Your Hashtags
Sometimes hashtags can look pretty messy and clutter your content. There’s a simple way to avoid this if you’d like. As noted above, you can always opt to add hashtags to the comments of your post. This way, they’re far removed from the important stuff and aren’t distracting.
However, they’re still useful in helping users to find your post with Instagram’s search feature. You can add these tags easily by clicking the speech bubble beneath your post once it’s published. Add the hashtags, and then click “post.” It’s simple.
Unfortunately, people won’t be able to see the tags once you get several comments added. They will have to click on the “View all comments,” button in order to do so.
Some users prefer to bury the hashtags within the caption. That’s also quite easy to do. When writing your caption, just tap the “123” key, then the “return” key.
Add a period, dash or bullet (whichever you prefer) and hit “return” once more. Repeat these steps five times, and you’re done. Because Instagram only allows users to view the first three lines, they won’t see your hashtags unless they click on the “more” option.
8. Use Brand Hashtags
Did you know you can create your own hashtags just for your brand? It’s true, and it’s a really effective way to attract engagement for your business. A brand hashtag is one that is meant just for your business.
Sometimes it refers to your brand. Sometimes it points users to a particular campaign or contest. You can get extremely creative and have lots of fun with brand hashtags.
These hashtags let users tag their posts containing your brand so they can be easily found. It’s a great way to create viral word of mouth if you have a particularly compelling campaign or story to share.
It also allows users who are involved in the campaign to find each other and to share or compare posts. People like to engage in these campaigns, and they can truly generate a lot of interest. Just make sure they’re short so folks can remember them easily. Otherwise, they won’t be very effective.
Try these eight tips when using hashtags. Hopefully, you’ll find that they create the engagement you’ve been seeking and grow your audience significantly.