Business holdings are continually trying to capitalize on the traffic generated by Instagram. And hashtags can make or break your social media game. Adding a hashtag or two to your pictures increases user interaction tenfold. The trick is to use them correctly. Brands which have successfully mastered the art of optimizing hashtags enjoy better visibility and customer engagement.
Initially, hashtags were found only on Twitter. Today, we see them everywhere on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more on Instagram. Adding hashtags makes it easier for readers to categorize the content on social media. You can create new hashtags or use an existing one to trend on Instagram. Hashtags also boost your web presence, increase SEO ranking and help you connect with influencers. Here are a few ways in which you can utilize hashtags for effective social media marketing.
Need for hashtags
Although Twitter birthed hashtags, it was Instagram that put them on the map. And since then, marketers are losing their sleep over this refreshingly new strategy. But before we get into all that, let me clear a few essential pointers. What exactly are hashtags? And what purpose do they serve?
Well, hashtags comprise of a word or a phrase accompanied by a hash (#) sign. There are no spaces between the words, although you can capitalize some letters in-between. These hashtags categorize your content and make it easier for viewers to identify your posts. Hashtags also create better brand engagement, SEO ranking and overall awareness about your product or service.
Hashtags now appear in multiple platforms. You can use them on blog posts, social media updates, Instagram captions, tweets etc. For instance, if you are a movie blogger, then adding cinema-relevant hashtags can give your website a big boost.
Relevancy and placement
Hashtags are useful only when they are used correctly. You cannot merely add random words with hashtags and expect to trend overnight. There are specific words, terms and phrases that are already trending on social media. Also, these words and key phrases must be relevant to your line of business. For instance, if your brand belongs to the organic fashion sector, then hashtags like #OOTD, #natural, #organic etc. works well. Conduct thorough market research. Know about your customers and their changing preferences. Also, keep an eye out on your peers. Analyze the kind of hashtags they’re putting up and the responses it generates.
Specificity and uniqueness
Hashtags double the scope of user engagement, putting you at the top of the game. But this is not an instantaneous process. New brands and business holdings need to find their voice, their niche, their USP. Hashtags can be excellent marketing tools, and they set you apart from others. Develop hashtags that are catchy, chic and easy to remember. A catchphrase, your brand name, an ad-line- anything can be a hashtag. Note that hashtags are not full-fledged sentences. I would recommend readers to keep their hashtags small, compact and to the point. This is because hashtags don’t have spaces in-between. Long words and phrases become incomprehensible and difficult to decode.
Capitalize on existing hashtags
There are multiple hashtags on Instagram already enjoy a large following. If your marketing team cannot come up with new hashtags, capitalize on the existing ones. For this, you need insights on what your customers are searching for these days. These hashtags can crop up on a variety of topics. Read up on current political, social, economic event, celebrity weddings, new releases, updates in the tech industry etc. And if you find a trending hashtag, try to incorporate it in your post as organically as possible. Remember, there must always be a direct or visible connection between your post and the hashtag used. It makes it easier for Instagram to gauge your content and categorize it.
Check the SEO ranking
Hashtags add value to your brand, provided your content is readable and relevant enough. There is no point in adding great hashtags to your posts if they are of no expected value. Users tend to gravitate towards posts that enhance their experience and cater to their interests. The quality of your posts and the hashtags you use are interdependent to each other. Merely having good content gets you nowhere unless you back it up with creative, trending hashtags.
Similarly, a right hashtag is of no use unless added on to a great post. A smart combination of both these elements is what you need for a better SEO rank. Search engines like Google usually rank content on is readability and appeal.
Don’t overdo it
This is something I cannot stress upon enough. Too much of a good thing can turn bad for your business. And when it comes to social media marketing, balance is the key. Don’t stuff your posts with multiple hashtags. It would only confuse the algorithm and irritate your viewers. Instead, place a few unique, relevant, authentic and trending hashtags strategically for maximum impact. There are multiple platforms where you can find trending hashtags online. Check the SEO score of these tags before adding them to your content. On average I’d recommend you use 2-4 hashtags per post, not more.
The future of hashtag marketing
Hashtags are a crucial addition to any social media post. What’s more, you can add hashtags to pretty much every social media network. Recently, even Facebook and LinkedIn are accepting hashtags with their captions. Facebook, in particular has some creative marketing gimmicks up its sleeve that completely changes the face of hashtag marketing
As a growing brand, it is essential to keep up with these trends. Collaborate with influencers, learn more about your market and use tools to check the visibility of the hashtags you use.
Instagram recently launched a new feature where users can follow trending hashtags and view all the posts tagged under it. It is an excellent initiative for business accounts to boost their reach and engage more customers. Although, ensure that your content meets the community guidelines laid down by the platform. Failing to do so might get your post deleted or worse reported for abuse.
The bottom line
Everyone wants to project a filtered, picture-perfect version of their life on social media. Social media networks are a medium of self-expression and advertisement. These platforms give us the space to share our experiences with the world. It can be something as trivial as posting a selfie or a serious post discussing the pollical issues of your nation. And with more and more people joining the social media bandwagon, it has become a thriving marketplace for brands.
As a technology enthusiast, Bella contributes to open-source projects. She is also a Consultant for topmygrades and Assignmentessayhelp and loves to write about students. When she not helping a student. She will be having a chocolate in different cities or taking a stroll down the beach. You can also find her on LinkedIn.