Hashtags may seem a little played out, but the age of the hashtag is still not dead. Hashtags have been around since the dawn of time, well at least since the advent of social media. And while they may be used a little more tastefully (read: sparingly) they still serve an important purpose for brands, companies, influencers, and users alike. In our next blog we will break down why hashtags are still a vital part of your social media strategy, and how to leverage them in a 2022 context. 

Improve Discovery

When you search for a hashtag on Instagram, you’ll get a page with a grid with all photos who share the same hashtag. On the Instagram mobile app, hashtag pages feature a selection of top posts that have a ton of engagement. Next to that, there’s a Recent tab that shows content in chronological order and a Reels tab with relevant short-form videos.

If you include hashtags in your Instagram content, it appears on relevant hashtag pages. In other words, when users search for the hashtags you use, they can easily discover your brand and your content. It’s that simple. 

Add Context

No matter what type of Instagram, Twitter, or Tik Tok content you create, there’s really no shortage of space to convey your message. While adding a caption may seem like enough,  it can still be challenging to specify exactly what your content is about. With hashtags, you can provide added context that helps clarify the topic for users and tell the algorithm when it’s appropriate to deliver your content to feeds. This actually teaches the algorithm over time what, and who, to deliver to. 

Promote Campaigns

In addition to providing context, hashtags are ideal for promoting campaigns. With a unique campaign hashtag, you can draw attention to your brand’s initiative or event and keep track of all of the content created around it.

If you’re running a contest or collecting user-generated content (UGC), campaign hashtags are essential. By adding your brand’s hashtag to their content, users can enter your contest or submit their UGC without worrying about their post getting lost in the shuffle.

So, you’re probably wondering how to start and what to include in your bespoke hashtag collection. Here are a few pointers: 

Choose Your Instagram Hashtag Mix

Hashtags can provide a wide range of information about your content. Here are 10 types of Instagram hashtags to consider:

  • Branded hashtags that are specific to your business
  • Campaign hashtags that are unique to a marketing initiative
  • Event hashtags that promote happenings and holidays
  • Location hashtags that indicate where something is happening—for local customers
  • Daily hashtags that reflect themes like #MondayMotivation
  • Industry hashtags that explain your field or type of work
  • Community hashtags that share information and amplify voices
  • Descriptive hashtags that clarify the topic of the content
  • Phrase hashtags that include a message or an inspirational statement

The total number of hashtags you can use, for instance on Instagram, depends on the content type. Feed posts and reels support 30 hashtags, while stories can include 10 hashtags. Although it’s easy to assume that you should add as many as possible, that’s not necessarily best practice.

#1 How to Find the Best Hashtags for Instagram

Whether you plan to use the recommended number of hashtags or experiment with more, it’s important to make them count. A few ways to find relevant hashtags are simply by searching them yourself; type any keyword or phrase into the app to see how many times any hashtag has been used. If the hashtag you’re considering has only been used a few times, it’s probably best to replace it with one that has more traffic.

Another great way is to find a user profile that fits your ideal customer. Then, stalk their following or their posts to see what hashtags they interact with. This will typically lead you down a rabbit hole with hashtags to acquire along the way. 

#2: How to Place Hashtags in Your Instagram Content

Every type of Instagram content supports hashtags. Feed hashtags are some of the most popular. Both image and video feed posts support hashtags anywhere they can be hyperlinked. In other words, don’t include them in the image or video itself but do add them to the caption. Although you can certainly incorporate hashtags into the caption text, this practice doesn’t always lend itself to the most pleasant reading experience for your audience.

But, what about placing hashtags in feed post comments? While some marketers opt to keep captions clean and add hashtags to comments, Instagram recommends against this practice. In fact, a recent @creators Instagram post instructs users to put hashtags in captions.

What about Reels?

Because Instagram reels function a lot like feed posts, you can follow the same recommendations for adding hashtags to short-form videos. That means avoiding adding hashtags to text overlays and including them in the caption instead.

#3: How to Track Instagram Hashtag Performance

To develop an effective Instagram hashtag strategy, it’s important to know which ones are helping you reach your goals and which are just taking up space. Let’s look at both native and third-party tools. Inside the app: IG Insights. Both Instagram Insights and Creator Studio Insights can tell you how much reach your hashtags generated. But both tools tally hashtag reach per post. If you add multiple hashtags to every post, you can’t see how much each one contributed.

For more granular detail, a third-party hashtag monitoring tool or social media scheduling dashboard is necessary. These tools connect directly to your Instagram account so they can monitor activity on your posts and tally interactions for every hashtag.

#4: How to Improve Your Instagram Hashtag Strategy

As you develop your Instagram hashtag strategy, don’t fall victim to these typical mistakes. Like all things, DO YOUR RESEARCH! Researching hashtags takes time so it’s tempting to reuse or even copy and paste the same ones again and again. However, Instagram Community Guidelines prohibit posting repetitive captions or comments, which includes hashtag lists. Although the platform probably won’t ban accounts for using repetitive hashtag lists, it may decrease your organic reach. If you want to get maximum value from your hashtags, it’s important to vary your regular rotation.

Whether you want to increase reach, drive discovery, or promote a campaign, hashtags are key, especially if you know which to use and when to add them. At My Social Biz we value the R&D it takes to find the perfect hashtags, and how to weave them into your strategy. Beyond this helpful guide, My Social Biz works directly with our clients to ensure their reach and engagement from their hashtags exceeds their expectations. Getting a winning ROI with MSB on your team! 

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