Making the most of Instagram hashtags

Using hashtags on your Instagram shots will increase the reach of your brand, increase engagement and attract new followers. Win-win-win, right? Posts that include at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement than posts with none. Using hashtags is an easy way to promote your business Instagram account, here are a few tips to improve your hashtagging skills: 

1. Don’t over do it

Instagram caps the number of hashtags you can use at 30. This doesn’t mean you should always add 30 hashtags to your pictures. If you flood your image caption with tags it can be distracting to the actual caption. If people are overwhelmed by the hashtags, they won’t bother to read the caption and they’ll scroll right past the image. One way around this is to add the hashtags as the first comment on the post instead of in the caption. You should still keep it lower than 30 because all those tags can be distracting and take away from the caption, the image, and other comments.

2. Be specific

If you use a super broad hashtag like #clothes or #food, your post will quickly get drowned out by the thousands of other posts. When you search a hashtag, the images appear in order of most recently posted. After a couple of seconds your post could be bumped a few pages down; don’t waste a hashtag on something so broad. Try and use more specific hashtags to reach your target audience; hashtag a clothing brand or style instead of just the word clothes. Spend some time on Instagram searching for hashtags relevant to your brand.

3. Create a branded hashtag

A branded hashtag is totally unique to your business. Create a conversational hashtag for users to share when they are talking about your brand. You can use this hashtag on your own posts and promotional material and then promote the hashtag to customers. You’ll get to see what people have to say about your brand and as a bonus you’ll get great user-generated content to share on your own page! Think about Nike’s #JustDoIt or Always’ #LikeaGirl, the hashtag doesn’t need to have the business name in it as long as you can associate your brand with the hashtag.

Tip: Keep hashtags short and easy to read. If hashtags are too long, people might not be able to read them or remember them. Long hashtags are also easy to mess up if someone is trying to share it.

4. Use community hashtags

Use hashtags that are unique to your community like #Newfoundland or #YYT. These hashtags are less cluttered because only the people in the community will be using them. Your post will stay visible in the hashtag search for longer, giving more people an opportunity to view and engage with it. This will also give people in your community an opportunity to learn about your business who may not already know you.

5. Mention any relevant users in the caption

If your shot includes a branded item, a specific location, or other business, TAG THEM! Instagram posts that tag another handle receive 56% more engagement. This is an easy way to increase reach and receive more likes and comments.