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instagram hashtag

CHOOSING HASHTAGS FOR INSTAGRAM

Whether you understand them or not, you have likely seen hashtags used on social media.  Instagram is most closely associated with them.  Do you actually know how to choose hashtags when posting?  Or, do you find yourself flying by the seat of your pants?  If guessing has been your strategy, let’s highlight some proven practices.

HASHTAG 101

What are hashtags?  Think of hashtags as street signs.  They point the way to your Instagram profile.  View them as Google keywords to help people discover your brand.  Users have the ability to use up to 30 hashtags per post.  It’s important to use several hashtags per post.  Using one or two doesn’t help route followers to your profile.  Like many aspects of the internet, spam exists on Instagram as well.  To avoid spam followers, avoid hashtags that include words or phrases such as “follow me”.  Stay away from generic words like “love” or “happy”.  Search hashtags before choosing them.  If you are seeking one that has millions of posts associated with it, steer clear.  That will only cause your posts to get lost in the shuffle.

DENSITY AND HASHTAGS

Hashtag density means that a large number of posts are associated with a particular hashtag.  So, what’s a good hashtag density?  According to plannthat.com, choose tags for Instagram that have less than 500,000 posts associated with them.   To help reach a more specified audience, research tags with under 20,000 posts.  When someone searches on Instagram, the most popular images show in the Top Posts section.  All other photos show in chronological order in the Most Recent section.  Don’t be scared of the Top Posts section!  This section isn’t only determined by the most comments.  Finding a unique tag that is easily associated with your brand will go a long way.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SEARCH FOR EFFECTIVE TAGS?

When signed into your Instagram account, pull up the search option.  Start by typing in a few words that relate to your business.  Then, select ‘tags’.  This will populate your hashtag and hashtags similar to your own.  If you select a hashtag from the list, another related list of hashtags will populate.  What’s great about this is that it populates tags that relate to your brand.  Also, it will suggest effective, non-spam hashtags to choose from.  Keep your tags specific!  Are you a hairdresser?  Say that you specialize in coloring hair.  Instead of choosing ‘hairdresser’ as a tag, try ‘colorist’, or ‘haircolor’.  By keeping them specific to what you do, you’ll gain more targeted followers.  It’s also important to keep your hashtags familiar.  If users don’t know what your tag means, they won’t follow you.  

HASHTAGS FOR REPOSTS

Hashtags that were created by someone else who curates images and reposts them on their Instagram profile are also effective.  How does it work?  On your page, add their specific hashtag to your picture.  If the creator of that tag likes your picture, they will repost it.  Marketingwise, this is very helpful.  That user will also post a link to your Instagram account.  A networking relationship is born.  Often, these kinds of accounts have large followings.  This can only benefit your profile and your business and brand.  As larger audiences discover you, your follower count will increase.  

FINDING INSPIRATION

Search for profiles that are in your industry, or in a similar line of business.  Observe what works for them.  What hashtags do their followers react best to?  As an Instagram user yourself, which of their hashtags capture your interest?  By putting yourself in the shows of your audience, you will be most effectively able to find your hashtag inspiration.