If you had told my ten years ago that I'd be writing a guide on hashtags, I'd likely have laughed at you. (Sorry!). To think of how far the hashtagging community has come in the last couple of years is awe-inspiring... I can remember exactly when I first heard of the foreign concept that is "hashtags." That must have been in the year 2010 and at the time, I believed hashtags were a silly small-scale device. My friends and I started using hashtags to make fun of the hashtag world. #Sports #Dominoes #MoreWinePlease
Okay Maybe #MoreWinePlease remains a fair game.
Fast forward to today and the game of hashtags has drastically changed. I am now keenly aware of how important and important hashtags are for the social media strategies of all marketers.
If you're still enjoying the humour of Instagrammers with hashtags full of #'s in their comments or aren't quite sure how these tiny tags function then you're in the right place: I'll explain all you'll need to know about using hashtags in Instagram. In this thorough guide on how to use Instagram hashtags you'll learn:
What a hashtag is
Why you need hashtags on Instagram
How can you make the most of your hashtags
Best practices for hashtagging on Instagram
Which 20 Instagram hashtags are the most well-known?
Let's get started!
What exactly is a hashtag in the first place?
The hashtag, also known as the pound symbol (#) itself had been used in various ways around the web before August of 2007. At that point, Chris Messina, a product designer from Silicon Valley, brought the hashtag to Twitter and was recognized as the creator of the hashtag on social media.
"He was inspired to think of using hashtags from Internet chat rooms which had the symbol "pound" before them," says Erin Black from CNBC. "He decided to pitch the idea to Twitter but Twitter said it was too nerdy and that it wouldn't be popular."
Jokes about them, surely?
Fortunately, Messina was persistent, and the hashtag was adopted in a powerful manner. Messina managed to convince his contacts to use hashtags on their Twitter posts, and then in 2009, Twitter added a feature which allowed users to search hashtags. #PrettyCool!
It is essential to use hashtags in each Instagram post: Here's the reason why.
So why are hashtags so crucial to use in Instagram marketing campaigns? Instagram marketing campaigns? In fact, Instagram posts using hashtags have a 12.6% increase in engagement as compared to ones that don't.
"Not just do hashtags aid social users categorize and organize content, but they're also the primary drivers behind the most effective campaign marketing," declares Maddy Osman on Sprout Social.
Hashtagging is extremely effective due to the fact that it allows you to categorize similar content, making it even more discoverable and that's probably the reason hashtagged posts have more interaction than posts that are not.
"When used in a smart way hashtags can provide you with an array of benefits," says Olivia Ryan. "They can be used to get your content to an audience that is larger, boost the visibility of your brand, target a very narrow group of people, enhance your SEO, as well as use trending themes that are trending to benefit you."
Then, hashtags will give you search visibility, which is an great Instagram SEO method.
What are you sitting for? If you want your followers to be able to view your Instagram content now is the time to ramp up your Instagram hashtag game!
Eight ways you can be an Instagram hashtag pro
You might already be using hashtags within your Instagram captions and posts, or you might be skipping hashtags for now. In case you're looking for ways to increase your influence or just start this guide will help you hashtag like a professional! Here are eight tips to master you Instagram hashtags.
1. Do your research on hashtags
First and foremost, it is important to be aware that the art of hashtagging is more than just placing the hash symbol front of words you can think of. In order to use hashtags in your Instagram content in a meaningful and effective method, you must do the necessary research. So where to start? Here are some suggestions...
Utilize online tools: There's an abundance of Instagram hashtag generators out there--like All Hashtag, Ingramer, and Sistrix--that will generate relevant hashtags. They will also provide the information about which hashtags are most popular.
Start by typing hashtag ideas into Instagram's Instagram search bar, and then see what the Instagram search bar autofills.
Check your competitors: See what your competition is doing along with the brands and accounts that your people are likely to follow. Drawing inspiration from other accounts can be super helpful to gain an understanding of what hashtags are trending (more on this in tip number 3! ).
The most important thing to consider when choosing hashtags is making sure they're relevant to the people you want to reach, and well-known, but not wildly popular--you don't want to get lost in the shuffle. Do you remember the kid in school who wasn't "popular," but was well-liked and known amongst many groups? You want that to fall into a similar arena with your hashtag game.
"We've noticed that the more specific the subject, the more conversations people are having about it, so it pays off to really narrow down a subject or topic," states Benjamin Chacon from Later.
2. Don't use hashtags that are too long
While it's appealing to use hashtags and tweet your little heart away on each post, it isn't good to do too much with hashtags. When it comes to having greater impact from your hashtag game, it can actually pay off more to be picky. Research has discovered that the ideal amount of hashtags per post is 11.
Although Instagram lets you make use of up to 30 hashtags in a post, your time is better spent researching and using a small number of extremely effective hashtags, rather than making a huge pile of tags for every post.
Burgers and Hashtags Better in moderation.
"Tossing 30 hashtags on one's post is not going to do many things, especially for businesses," Says Alex York from Sprout Social. "It gets to #overkill pretty quickly. And if your brand isn't focusing on the right goals or questions it's an unnecessary waste of your valuable marketing time."
3. Learn from other Instagrammers working in your field
There's absolutely nothing wrong with spying on your competitors from time to time. Actually when it comes down to hashtagging this can be an extremely useful investigation activity. Joining in on trendy industry topic hashtags and finding related tags to your niche that your readers are likely follow can be extremely helpful for upping your hashtag game.
For instance, take this blog about food and drink, Restoring Radiance, for example. Below, you will see that she shared a photo of her yogurt, and rather than using simple hashtags like #breakfast or #yogurt she made use of a multitude of hashtags that referred to other brands her potential customers are likely using, like #f52grams as well as #foodgawker.
You could take a leaf from her book and incorporate some of the top industry hashtags for the following Instagram post?
4. Design your own campaign hashtags
The cool thing about hashtagging is that you aren't restricted to using other hashtags that have already been utilized. You can get creative and build a campaign with your own unique hashtag. It can elevate your brand to a whole new level with a clever and engaging way.
Take the unforgettable #IceBucketChallenge. The marketing department of the ALS Association was able to raise awareness with this hashtag campaign, but they also raised a substantial amount of money ($115 million to be exact!). Think about how you can achieve the same thing by getting your followers to WANT to use your hashtag, which can help increase awareness of your business with other Instagrammers.
5. Be sure to keep your hashtags consistent but not too consistent
As we've discussed In addition, you must research your hashtags for each post to ensure that you're not using hashtags that are excessively popular. If you use them, your posts are likely to get lost in the sea of hashtagged posts. However, should you use each post with a different collection of five to 10 hashtags per blog post you write?
The answer is no. There's no reason not to re-use the exact, well-studied, and highly targeted hashtags if those are what appeal to your audience. In fact, you should keep a list of hashtags handy so you can easy copy and paste the commonly used hashtags into new posts. However, spicing things up by adding a few new hashtags is encouraged. For instance, you could use the same five or so hashtags that are on your brand, but throw to the mix a few additional hashtags that are even more pertinent to the photo or video you're sharing. Relevancy is critical when it comes to using hashtags When someone is looking for hashtags and your unrelated post appears in the search results, it could make your entire brand look un-reputable.
6. Make a contest around a unique hashtag
Everyone is in love with free stuff. This is just simple human nature. I often enter Instagram giveaways on the daily to win cookbooks from bakers and chefs I follow. The majority of these giveaways are fairly easy to participate in. The brand will publish a blog post offering a free copy of whichever cookbook and ask you to tag a friend in the comments to enter. Although this is an simple and easy way to offer something for free Why not take it a step further with the hashtag of your choice?
Take the example below that comes from Talalla Retreat, a beach-front resort that promotes yoga. Rather than just having users share their photos and tags in the comments their contest demanded people to post a picture with that hashtag: #WINTalalla. What I love about this kind of contest is that it is still easy to enter, but it will get many more people to see your brand because those who participate must post their photos to all their followers by using the hashtag associated with their brand.
7. Use hashtagging to connect
Another great thing about hashtags is that they're an effective opportunity to meet people and build a network. Be aware of the most popular hashtags can help you discover new partners as well as engage those that are part of your target market. Making an Instagram campaign to promote your business using a hashtag may be an extremely effective way to partner up with a similar brand. This will help you gain even more exposure, since this partner brand will be sharing information about your company to their entire population.
Here is a great example of Lululemon UK and Stava, who teamed up to organize a fun challenge encouraging followers to complete a 40-80K run and include in their Instagram posts #4080challenge.
This kind of hashtag campaign bring the followers of both groups involved It also increases the awareness of each company with exposure to an even larger crowd. Check out the number of people participated in this hashtag challenge.
8. Make a brand-specific hashtag that will draw your customers' attention
Hashtags don't always have to be short-lived competitions or campaigns. In fact, many of the popular brand-name hashtags are those which can be applied to any type of post. For instance, the hashtag developed by the sneaker manufacturer Allbirds. Rather than using generic hashtags on each post, they use one very creative and catchy hashtag #weareallbirds.
Using a single branded hashtag that's clever and catchy is a great way to maintain consistency. It's also a great way to build a hashtag delighted customers will be eager to use to show off their new shoes!
Keep in mind these Instagram Hashtag Best Practices
As you increase you game on hashtags it will benefit you to keep these ideas in mind.
1. Relevance to your work is almost always more important than the popularity of the tag. Make sure you are as precise in your approach as possible!
2. Don't be afraid to include the maximum number of hashtags because you can. Check your posts to determine the best amount for you. In a similar vein, keep an eye out for the connection of your best-loved posts with the most hashtags that you employ. Don't continue to use hashtags which don't perform in the same way simply because you have the option.
3. Follow your best hashtags (and especially your own if you have a branded one). If you pay attention to the tags you use you can determine what type of content is being shared and who's using the tags. You can then contact them to them and talk directly, which can gain you some followers.
4. Keep an eye on your industry's influencers and competitors. If you're not certain what tags you should be employing, look over what other companies are successfully using in your business. This will provide you with a solid basis you can develop your own plan.
The 20 Most popular Instagram Hashtags
I know, I know: This entire post I've been discouraging you from using the most "popular" hashtags. Why? Being a standout in a congested space could make you appear unnoticed. So instead of focusing on the popular tags, the best method to gain hashtag success is to find special hashtags that are well-liked by your extremely specific target audience.
Why are we taking a look at the most popular Instagram hashtags today? So, just since I'm dissuading you from using these exact hashtags below isn't a reason to not get inspiration from them. For example, consider #love for example. What if you created a hashtag for #love that incorporates your brand. "#WordstreamLove" sounds quite appealing to me!
Or let's take #instagood, as an example. If you own a brand new restaurant, this hashtag could not make more sense--so why not consider using it with a hint of localization to promote your local cuisine? Just take a look at the hashtag #instagood as opposed to. #instagoodboston. The #instagood hashtag boasts 979,097 POSTS.
However, the hashtag #instagoodboston contains just 389 posts that are entirely related to food or restaurants. It is evident that people who follow #instagoodboston are passionate about trying new restaurants in their town!
For your convenience Here are the top 20 most-popular Instagram hashtags:
Remember, the best way to utilize these hashtags is for inspiration--not for hashtag stuffing.
Utilize tools to analyze your Hashtag Performance
Now that you're an expert in hashtagging is the time to find out if your knowledge has resulted in the achievement of your objectives. That's right: It's time to talk reporting.
There are plenty of tools that can help you make this step of the process simple, allowing you to grow into a better hashtagger in time. Let's have a look at some of our favorite tools!
1. Instagram Insights
This is one of my favorites since it's something new. It's just information provided by Instagram, and therefore it's completely free! The Insights contain the data you'll need beneath"Instagram's Insights" "Instagram Insights" tab around your content, activity, as well as your audience.
If you want to determine the effectiveness of your hashtags used for individual posts, look into the impressions of that post to determine how many of them were derived from hashtags in relation to profiles, home, and more.
The best part: All of this useful information for free is accessible right from the Instagram account you have created. Instagram account.
2. Sprout Social
If you are looking for a bit more information about individual hashtag performance, it might be worthwhile to invest in a different reporting tool that digs into the specifics, such as Sprout Social. This robust tool for social reporting will allow you to generate Instagram Hashtag Performance Reports to perform a range of tasks, including:
Examine your most frequently used Instagram hashtags with those that have the most engagement.
See how branded hashtags perform in comparison to other hashtags.
Use their tagging feature to build campaign specific hashtag reports.
If you're in search of the most compact Instagram management system, Iconosquare may just be the right tool for you. While the pricing is slightly higher than the competition, there is a ton you can get from scheduling social posts, tracking responses to commenters and accessing extremely detailed analytics from one location.
When it comes to hashtag tracking, this tool can provide very sophisticated analysis data regarding hashtag engagement and whether or not specific hashtags contribute to the growth of the brand or the campaign.
There are tons of other tools for social media out available that will assist you in hashtag tracking, which is definitely a component of your Instagram hashtag strategy and must not be ignored.
You're now an Instagram #hashtagmaster!
Woo! That was a lot. Now, you should now have the tools you need to go out into the world and take on Instagram hashtagging to accomplish your goals for business. We're excited to see how you can take your hashtag game to the next level!