Hashtags are a big part of Instagram strategies for online brands and businesses. They can make or break your strategy, but if you use them correctly, your posts could have the potential to reach more people and the correct target audience. A hashtag, which is the # symbol followed by a combination of letters, numbers, and/or emojis, is used to categorize the content. This not only helps make your content more discoverable, but it can also help expand your audience and get more reach.
Users generally search for specific hashtags because they are interested in the topic and are motivated to engage with your brand. There are a few ways users can find your posts in hashtags:
Users Who Follow Specific Hashtags: Users have the option to follow hashtags. This means that even though they don’t follow your Instagram profile, your hashtagged post could still come up in their feed.
Users Who Search Specific Hashtags: You don’t always have to follow a hashtag to see its content. If a user is looking for content related to a specific hashtag, they can search the hashtag and all top posts and recent posts come up.
Examples of Different Instagram Hashtags:
Niche-Specific Hashtags: These are used to get a little more specific on where you fit in the industry. These are great if your posts vary on topics. For example, #socialmediastrategy or #websitedevelopment
Industry Community Hashtags: These hashtags help build an online industry community. Many users tend to follow and join these hashtags. For example, #marketersofinstagram or #smallbusinessownersofinstagram
Branded Hashtags: These are specific to businesses on Instagram. These can be used to promote your business and have a searchable “feed” specific to your business. For example, #3090marketing.
How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?
Instagram posts can include up to 30 hashtags and Instagram stories can include up to 10. With that being said, how many hashtags should you include on your posts? There’s no magic number of hashtags you should use, but studies show that 11 is the best number for increasing engagement. The best possible way to determine your brand’s best number of hashtags is to test it out on different posts.
Hashtags aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing feature for posts. You can post an amazing caption and then it can be littered with a ton of random hashtags that no one wants to see. The point of hashtags isn’t necessarily that they have to be seen, but they do need to be on your post somewhere. Thankfully, there are a few ways to make your hashtags less visible.
Hiding Them in the Comments: Write your caption as usual and don’t include hashtags. Once you publish the post, add the hashtags you want to include in the first comment and post it. On mobile, your hashtags won’t be visible unless a user taps “view all comments.”
Hiding Them in the Caption: Once you type out your caption either space through or enter until you get to the next line. Enter a punctuation mark (period, bullet, or dash) then hit return again and repeat the punctuation mark 3 or four times. Instagram hides captions after three lines, so your hashtags won’t be viewable unless your followers tap “…more” when you use this method. This allows your hashtags to be visually separated from your captions.
Hiding Them in Stories: There are a few options for hiding hashtags on your stories. You can either add them and then shrink them until they are minuscule or change the sticker to a semi-transparent background. You can also hide your hashtags entirely by shrinking them down and pasting a sticker or emoji over them.
Tips and Tricks for Hashtags
Study Your Competition: The best way to discover what’s trending in your industry is to study your competition. Their hashtags may not be perfect for your business, but they should give you a good idea of where to start.
Use Insights: If your Instagram is switched to a business profile, then Insights is the place for you. By utilizing Insights, you can determine how many impressions you received from hashtags on specific posts.
Include Hashtags on Instagram Stories: Hashtag pages have a story icon that shows you all the stories that come up for that hashtag. Users often forget to include hashtags in stories, but this is another potential opportunity to boost your reach.
Don't Use Irrelevant or Repetitive Hashtags: Make sure you are using hashtags that are relevant to what you're posting. You may think it’s easier to just copy and paste some long list of hashtags, but if Instagram catches it, your posts could be penalized by the algorithm. Hashtags aren’t about getting seen by a lot of people, it’s about getting seen by the right people.
Save Hashtags for Future Use: Create a list of hashtags based on the category of content in your notes and keep them for later. This way, whenever you are ready to post content, you won’t have to spend your time searching for hashtags. This is also an easy way to add and remove hashtags based on results.
Utilizing hashtags is a trial and error process. All of these tips are beneficial to start with, but the best way to learn how to use hashtags effectively for your business is to test! We understand that social media management can be very demanding with content posting, captions, hashtags, videos, and more. Contact 30|90 Marketing if you are looking for help with your social media strategy.