Instagrams feature where you can search for images based on the hashtags used, as well as the feature where you can follow any image uploaded with a certain hashtag are great examples of how hashtags play a bit part in Instagram. You can easily utilise these features to your advantage and over time see an improvement of engagement and followers to your account. Here are our top 3 ways on how you can utilise hashtags for your Instagram page.
1.Research and Categorize
Some of the biggest Instagram accounts have large databases of hashtags that they use frequently, and they record how much they use them and how popular the hashtags themselves are. Unless you are publishing a post during every hour of the day, this is a bit much. Nevertheless, you can learn from this, and this is a good way to keep track of what hashtags that are frequently used in the industry that you work in and categorise them for your posts.
When it comes to hashtags you don’t want to rely on too generalistic hashtags such as ‘#cars’ as your post would be lost in the crowd. Equally, you don't want to use too niche hashtags such as ‘#brownandpurplecarsfrom1954’ in case your post doesn’t get seen by anybody. Be realistic about where you want your posts to appear, and think about your target market when deciding on what hashtags would work best for your posts. By using hashtags consistently you can get recognised by people and in turn, see an increase in followers.
2.Create branded hashtags
If you didn’t already know, a branded hashtag is a hashtag that is specific and unique to a certain brand. An example of this is ‘#BMWrepost’ which is used all over Instagram by BMW car lovers/owners as well as by the business themselves to promote BMW cars. By having a branded hashtag you can reinforce the brand identity of your business to increase engagement on social media and recognition.
You can even develop a community following on Instagram who use your hashtag and who post their own pictures with your hashtag. This example works especially well as it gives BMW owners motive to use the hashtag, as they are in for a chance to have their post featured on the official BMW page. Think about if you could replicate this technique and apply it to your own industry as giving motive will make people a lot more likely to engage with you and your content
3. Reach out to communities
Certain hashtags can be seen as being used very prominently within groups on Instagram. People religiously follow Instagram photography accounts, and certain styles or types of photography all have their own hashtag where people can tag their own work too, or check out other people’s work. For example, if you search ‘#fisheyelens’ on Instagram you can find nearly 400,000 quality images taken using cameras or phones with a fisheye lens on them. You can even follow that exact hashtag so you will see new uploads to it on your own Instagram feed.
This can be a valuable tool for a business, and by constantly using specific hashtags you can fit into groups that have a shared interest. Try not to go for hashtags that are too popular as you will be overshadowed by the professionals, but if you consistently include a few relevant hashtags it can really help get you noticed by those groups, and if those groups are in your target market then it can help you get the right kind of crowd following your account.
Overall be realistic, and take your target market into consideration. Think about what they want to see, and what they would engage with and want to share or contribute to. Digital Marketing isn’t just about driving sales, and raising awareness, improving engagement and gaining recognition can produce a lot more sales in itself without having to actively ask people to buy your product or service.