The hashtag efficacy over the last few years has changed dramatically. When used properly hashtags are critical for your social media strategy no matter your industry.
The hashtag while around since 2007 has changed dramatically in the last 13 years, first with Twitter and then quickly gained popularity with Instagram. In fact, today, Instagram posts that use hashtags properly and effectively gain a 12.6% increase in engagement compared those without. In fact, they have become one of the driving forces behind some of today’s best marketing campaigns.
At the core of their purpose, hashtags help categorize similar content and make it more discoverable, which is likely why hashtagged posts get so much more engagement than those without.
In addition to more engagement, hashtags also can be used to:
- Get your content in front of a bigger audience
- Raise awareness about your brand
- Target a very specific group of people
- Boost your SEO
- Use trends and topics to your advantage.
Below are 4 ways we use hashtags to optimize our posts on Instagram:
#1. Understand your hashtags
There is a science to selecting great hashtags. First and foremost don’t try and play with the BIG KIDS, you will quickly get lost in the clutter. You really want to hone in on your hashtag focus. Think of your hashtags as a rock performance. Are you so popular that you are performing in front of thousands? Most likely not, you’re more of a dive bar kind of rock star, so your hashtags need to appeal to your audience.
#2 Don’t use all 30, all the time
Early on, the point was to maximize usage by adding all 30 tags (the allowable number on IG) but truthfully speaking, you can actually be more effective by being more conservaitive if you are more picky with your selections. Think less is more here. While there is no magic number, and some variance as well, a lot of research shows that 10-15 is the optimal engagement number. We suggest having a strategy when hashing. We like to use a rule of ⅓’s. Read on for this.
#3 Be somewhat consistent.
It’s a good idea to consistently use effective hashtags sprinkled in with a new set each time. Keep a record of effective hashtags OR, use an aggregator and input your repeatable tags that are to be used with every post. Example: We use #thoughtseed, #planttheseed, #visualintuitives, #sproutconnectors, #fusionphotog for every post, then we combine this with a second category centered around our post. Example, we posted on a recent content creation project, so hashtags around #contentcreation would be used. Finally, for our third element, we use slightly trending hashtags centered around the post.
#4 Create your own custom branded hashtag – repeatedly
Consider using an evergreen tag that has a lengthy shelf life and can be re-used by content that is shared. It’s a great way to build a hashtag around your content that your customers will also use. This is an example of compounding hashtags – I just coined that term!
There is more to the hashtag strategy, certainly, but really to get started and have a modicum of success, if you follow these four tips, you’re well on your way.
Want more hot off the press tips? DM me @FusionPhotog on Instagram.