Instagram has become a powerhouse on the web, especially now with launching IGTV...but I know a lot of you are still not using it because you either don't know its power, don't have time, are overwhelmed with social media in general or are just getting started.
A key element to social media success is using the tools it provides to reach followers...and eventually make sales, if that's your goal of course. Using hashtags to help you grow with your engagement, gain followers and reach your target audience are a powerful tool.
How to hashtag:
"Hashtagging" is easy! Upload a photo, use '#' and write your targeted hashtag after. Just a few rules - no spaces, dashes or special characters ($, %, etc). Numbers and emojis are actually permitted - use with caution. They won't always translate across platforms and may come off as unprofessional depending on your industry.
How to choose a hashtag:
Set your strategy.
In the fitness industry? Offering personal chef services? Beauty expert? Your hashtags should be reflective of what you do/are offering. Think about your target demographic. What are THEY looking for. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about the things they might tag on their own photos or what they might be searching for. For example, if you're a wedding photographer hashtag to attract local brides i.e. #denverphotographer or even more specific #denverweddingphotographer .
Just the right size.
How many hashtags should you use in your post and what size of hashtag should you target? Instagram limits you to 30 hashtags, which doesn't mean you HAVE to use all 30. I find the sweet spot to be between 10-20 hashtags - and slightly "hidden" at the bottom of your copy or even as a second post in your comments. Readers get hashtag fatigue - don't wear them out trying to read your content that's overloaded with hashtags throughout the sentences. Target hashtags sized for posts between 5,000-250,000.
Study your competition.
No, I don't mean play follow/unfollow with your competitions clientele...but I do mean study those in your industry who are successful. What are they using? Have they branded themselves? It's important to know what hashtags are trending and working well. You can also use the instagram search feature to size up what hashtags are being used often.
Some hashtag bonus tips:
Make sure you aren't accidentally hashtagging something that has an alternate meaning. I'll tell you a personal story briefly - as a stylist, I once made a post about some new shoes I was feeling. I wrote some shoe related hashtags and long story short, the next morning I woke up to multiple DMs about sending foot fetish movies for money. Just make sure your self awareness meter is full when you're posting.
Don't limit yourself.
Using hashtags in your posts is the most effective strategy - but also using them in your stories is a great way to be found too! In fact, they're starting to become MORE useful than post.If you want to "hide" them you can always throw a sticker, text, or a gif over them and tag your heart away.
Don't be sketchy.
Playing follow/unfollow, buying followers, or doing the #likeforlike style hastags - it's all trash and people (and businesses) see through it. Remember you want leads, sales and engagement...followers helps, but its not the ultimate goal here.
Hope this helps - feel free to email me if you want to chat more or need someone to help your business with social media!