How effective is your #Hashtag Instagram strategy?
Though they started as nothing more than a Twitter trend, hashtags have emerged to become one of the most powerful components of any social media strategy.
The only problem? There’s so many that it’s almost impossible to know which Instagram hashtag you should be using on any given post.
It’s enough to leave you feeling #Insane.
The good news is that finding the right balance of tags for your #Hashtag Instagram strategy doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. This quick guide will tell you everything you need to know about the changing nature of the Instagram algorithm, and how you can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Instagram Hashtags 2018: What You Need to Know
Hashtags are valuable.
Studies show that posts with at least one hashtag on Instagram receive up to 12.6% more engagement.
However, the rules for the Instagram hashtag have changed drastically in the last year.
Before we give you our top tips for your #Hashtag Instagram strategy, let’s make sure you’re up to date:
- People can follow hashtags on IG now: This means that if you pick the right tags for your content, it will end up in users feeds regardless of whether they follow you. Hello, instant brand reach!
- Irrelevant hashtags are so #2017: The recent algorithm update on Instagram means that today’s hashtags need to be more focused than ever. The guidelines state that “posting repetitive comments or content” isn’t okay, which means you need a list of unique, relevant tags for each post.
- Businesses can measure how effective their #Hashtag Instagram strategy is by visiting the “View Insights” tab on an Instagram business profile. Tracking this data will help you to determine which tags are most valuable to your brand.
How to Update Your #Hashtag Instagram Strategy
Now that you’re up-to-date on the Instagram hashtags 2018 guidelines, it might be time to refresh your strategy. After all, the last thing your business needs is a stale hashtag campaign.
Remember, these features aren’t just random combinations of numbers and letters. They’re the sorting process of Instagram, and how you make sure you get in front of the right target audience.
Want authentic followers? Then you need hashtags. It’s that simple.
There are 95 million photos published in Instagram each day. The only way to make sure that users don’t have to browse through all those images to find your content is to use an Instagram hashtag to narrow their search.
Here’s how you can make your campaigns count in 2018.
#Hashtag Instagram Tip 1: Be Relevant
As mentioned above, the latest Instagram algorithm update means that today’s brands need to be careful about the way they approach and engage their followers.
Your tags need to:
- Resonate with your target audience: Search through some of your competitor’s Instagram posts, or check out the photos your customers share to find out which tags are most common for someone in your industry.
- Represent your brand: Today’s Instagrammers hate companies who try to be something they’re not. According to Sprout Social’s index for 2017, 69% of people are embarrassed by brands trying to use slang.
- Be different in every post. Following the #Shadowban craze of 2017, IG experts began to find that copy-pasting the same list of ‘Gram hashtags to their posts simply wouldn’t work anymore. Doing that can make you seem spammy, and negatively affect your visibility. If you want to stay ahead of the pack, you’ll need a new collection of tags for every post.
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#Hashtag Instagram Tip 2: Use the Right Combination of Hashtags
There are various types of Instagram hashtag that you can include in your content campaign. One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is to get carried away using popular tags like #InstaFashion and #Regram because they think it will get them into the “in” crowd.
For the best results, your content should feature:
- Branded hashtags: These tags use your company name to spread awareness for your brand. Around 70% of the hashtags on Instagram today are branded. Used correctly, these terms can make your company more memorable, and give you a lasting impact on your audience.
- Trending hashtags: Want a good chance of showing up in the Instagram Explore page? Look for relevant trending hashtags that you can add to your content. Keep an eye out on Twitter for news stories you can link your pictures too and remember to watch what your competitors post also!
- Popular hashtags: Don’t fill your posts with popular hashtags, but don’t ignore them either. As long as the tags are relevant to your post, they can help with your campaign, particularly now that people can follow hashtags on IG. Just make sure you know how to use each tag correctly. For instance:
- #Instagood: For photos, you’re proud of
- #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday: For nostalgia-infused marketing
- #NoFilter: For when you want to show your authentic side
- #Regram: For when you’re reposting other people’s photos
- #Giveaway, #Contest, #Sweepstakes: For when you’re giving something away
#Hashtag Instagram Tip 3: Add Hashtags in New Places
The Instagram hashtag 2018 update wasn’t all doom and gloom.
This year, you can also add your favorite tags to a range of new places besides your latest posts, including your bio, and your Instagram Stories.
Using your Instagram hashtag strategy in your Stories, biography, and even your IGTV videos give your content even more new ways to be discovered by your target audience.
While filling your profile full of tags might not be the best idea, there’s nothing wrong with a little experimentation. You can add up to 30 hashtags on a regular post, up to 10 hashtags on a story, and we recommend keeping it short and sweet with any tags you include on your bio. Perhaps stick exclusively to your most popular branded hashtag.
#Hashtag Instagram Tip 4: Use the Right Number of Hashtags
Probably the biggest challenge that companies have when it comes to their #Hashtag Instagram strategy is figuring out how many tags they should use. Most brands (91%), stick to around 7 hashtags or fewer per post. However, that strategy doesn’t work for everyone.
An analysis by TrackMaven says that posts with 9 hashtags or more receive higher engagement rates.
So, what’s the magic number?
Well, there isn’t one. The content of your post needs to inform how many hashtags you use, and which tags are relevant to your followers. Do some experimenting to see how many tags leads to the most engagement for your content. Some influencers get by with just one Instagram hashtag, whereas others use the full 30 Instagram allows on each post.
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#Hashtag Instagram Tip 5: Track Your Tags
Finally, the easiest way to make sure that your Instagram Hashtag strategy is working is to keep track of its performance. If you don’t already have an Instagram Business profile, you’ll need to switch to use this service.
However, if you are an IG business member, you can simply tap on a post, and open the “View Insights” tab below it. Swipe up on your phone, and you’ll find a page of data for that post, including details on reach, impressions, and even how your new followers found you.
There are other ways you can track the success of your tags too, from downloading social media monitoring tools, to following your own branded hashtags. For instance, we would follow the tag #Upleap, so we can find anyone who might be talking about our business and connect with them.
#Hashtags Are Just One Part of your Strategy
Remember, there’s more to growing a successful following on Instagram than using the right hashtags. You also need a content plan, a schedule that helps you connect with customers at the right time, and maybe a little help from the experts too.
The excellent news is that the hashtag tips above will help you to spread the news about your company far and wide, so you can attract as many potential customers and fans as possible.
Just remember, #Instagram is a social platform – so be social on it!
Don’t just post hashtags, engage with your customers through them, and make a name for your brand. You’ll see bigger and better results that way.