Instagram hashtags should be an integral part of your Instagram marketing strategy. Hashtags are an invaluable way to get more Instagram followers, more engagement, and eventually, more customers and sales. But many brands don’t use hashtags correctly. It’s important to use the right type and the right number of hashtags to make sure your profile gets as much exposure as possible through your posts. Here’s why hashtags are so important, some common mistakes you might be making with your strategy, and how to fix those blunders and get on the road to success.
The Importance Of Instagram Hashtags
Statistics make it increasingly clear that Instagram hashtags are a must for every brand trying to market itself on Instagram. Hashtags have been around since 2007 and are becoming more and more important as a way to increase reach and engagement on your posts. Posts with hashtags get 12.6% more engagement than posts without.
“Instagram hashtags are powerful. They can help your posts reach a target audience, attract followers in your niche, increase engagement, and develop a more positive and recognizable brand image,” HubSpot says.
HubSpot explains hashtags as a funnel. Hashtags provide a way to categorize your posts, helping your target audience find your content. When your target audience finds your posts, they’re likely to start following you. And if you continue posting the kind of content they want to see, eventually you can convert them into paying customers over time.
There are a few different types of Instagram hashtags. Each one is important to use. You can choose from:
- Product or service hashtags
- Industry or niche hashtags
- Branded hashtags
- Campaign hashtags
- User-generated content hashtags
- Instagram community hashtags for your industry
Some of these, like industry hashtags, apply to a wide variety of brands. In other cases — such as campaign hashtags or user-generated content hashtags — you’ll actually want to make up your own hashtags that are unique to just your brand.
In this article, we’re breaking down all things hashtags — starting with why your current hashtag strategy might not be working, and ideas to help you get on the right foot.
Reasons Why Your Instagram Hashtag Strategy Isn’t Working
So, you know hashtags on Instagram are important. You’re adding hashtags to every post. But it just isn’t working — you aren’t getting much engagement, and the numbers you are seeing aren’t coming from your hashtags. What’s the problem? Is there some kind of magic formula to IG hashtags that you haven’t yet unlocked?
Chances are, this will be an easy fix. There could be a few different things going on. One common problem is lack of research. It’s important to do plenty of research on what hashtags you should use and how you should use them. Going back to the drawing board will likely solve a lot of your issues when it comes to IG hashtags.
Another common problem could be that the number of hashtags you’re using is not ideal. Using just one or two hashtags per post probably isn’t enough. But you don’t necessarily want to use the full thirty hashtags per post that Instagram offers, either. Finding the best number of hashtags for you will take some trial and error, but 5-10 is generally a good number to settle on.
Your posts could also be lacking engagement because you’re using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your target audience. When it comes to Instagram hashtags, you shouldn’t use just any old tags. The hashtags you used should be carefully selected words or phrases that are relevant to what you’re posting and to what your target audience is searching for.
Doing more research on the best number of hashtags to use and which hashtags are highly relevant to you could help your Instagram strategy succeed. It’s important to invest time into educating yourself about Instagram marketing best practices so you can create and schedule posts that have a high chance of success.
How To Get Maximum Results Out Of Instagram Hashtags
Ready to learn how to use hashtags to their fullest potential? Here are a few easy tips to help you get maximum results out of your Instagram hashtags.
1. Choose Hashtags Your Competitors Are Using
If you’re struggling to figure out which hashtags are best to use, take a look at what hashtags your competitors are using. Since your competitors have more or less the same target audience as you, drawing inspiration from their hashtags can help you decide on a hashtag strategy of your own.
Your competitors are companies in the same industry as you. Find out who they are by asking your customers where they’ve purchased in the past or Googling your product or service and seeing whose websites come up.
Once you’ve identified who your competitors are, look at their Instagram accounts to see what hashtags they’re using. You don’t want to copy and paste their list of hashtags. But looking at multiple competitor accounts can help you see which tags are used the most often. Those tags are probably important and effective hashtags for you to use, too.
2. Use A Hashtag Generator
An Instagram hashtags generator is an easy way to come up with a list of hashtags that will help your account gain more visibility. A free, online generator will produce a list of tags that are relevant to your niche and your business. You can also use these generators to find trending hashtags. Hashtag generators save you a lot of time because you don’t have to do the research manually.
To use a hashtag generator, enter a keyword and then select whether you want a list of top hashtags, random hashtags, or best match hashtags. The generator will produce several hashtags that you can then choose from as you create your IG posts. Make sure to use a slightly different grouping of hashtags each time to ensure those tags are ultra-relevant to that specific post.
3. Use Niche-Relevant Hashtags
Using hashtags that are relevant to your niche and industry is extremely important because this helps the right people find you. If you use more generic hashtags, like #love or #instagram, your posts will get lost in the shuffle amid the thousands or even millions of other posts with that tag. By using niche hashtags — tags that are specific to one certain niche — you have a better chance of showing up and helping your account be more visible.
Add a few niche hashtags to each of your Instagram posts. You can find ideas for these hashtags by looking at competitor posts or using a hashtag generator. Some of these hashtags might have large followings, while others might have a following that’s smaller. Either way, these niche hashtags will help attract people who truly care about what you have to offer.
4. Include Hashtags In Your Instagram Bio
Many brands choose to include a hashtag in their Instagram bio. This will not make your profile searchable under those hashtags, so adding a generic, trending, or niche hashtag probably won’t do you much good. But if you have a branded hashtag — a hashtag you’ve created specifically for your brand — this is a great way to point people in that direction, where they can see more posts about your brand or contribute their own (equaling more user-generated content for you).
You can link a hashtag in your bio by editing your profile and going to the bio section. Type the pound sign followed by the hashtag you want, and it will automatically be linked in your bio. Anyone who visits your profile will see that hashtag and have the ability to tap into the tag and scroll through all of the posts.
5. Use Trending Hashtags
Trending hashtags can help boost your reach on Instagram. If you’re able to get your post up high under a trending tag, this will mean major exposure for your brand. Add a few trending hashtags to each of your Instagram posts to increase your chances of getting featured under a top hashtag.
Find trending hashtags by searching on Instagram or using a hashtag generator. It’s generally fairly easy to get a handle on which tags are popular at any given time. You’ll want to rotate out your trending hashtags on a regular basis, as Instagram trends tend to come and go pretty often.
Use Instagram Hashtags Correctly
Instagram hashtags aren’t magical or mythical. Once you know where to look, it’s easy to hone in on the hashtags that are right for you. Start adding those hashtags to your posts, aiming for a mixture of tags that are generic, trending, and highly-niched tags on each one, and you should see an uptick in your engagement and your Instagram following. Instagram hashtags are one of the best ways to see Instagram marketing success.