When do you think Hashtags popped on the social scenes?… I can hear you making rough guesses. What if I told you it has been since the year 2007?! Yes, 2007.
Hashtags have become synonymous to social media that whenever you see a hashtag (#), it screams “Social Media!!!” In fact, most times, it draws you to a particular social media platform – Twitter.
But over the years, other media platforms have also imbibed and taken over the concept of #’s. So much so that it has become bigger than Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook.
But this isn’t history class, so let’s dive in!
Like the concept of Social Media as a whole; “Creating a community of shared similar interests”, same goes for hashtags. Hashtags help users find themselves.
Think of that time you were at a fancy restaurant having lunch or dinner; you remember you used #Foodie, right? Exactly!
Over a decade now, finding the perfect hashtag strategy is still a mind-boggling problem. Hashtags should be purposeful and intentional to get maximum results. Either as a Social media manager, Blogger, or even a business owner.
You made a post and stock all the “correct hashtags”, but it doesn’t have any effect on your page health. Then you begin to think – “Who needs a Hashtag anyway?”
…Well you do and here’s WHY!
Using hashtags increase your reach outside the confines of your page followers.
We all love a brand we can be a part of, and branded hashtags help us achieve that. According to Sprout, 80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram. It also states that 7 out of 10 hashtags are branded. Having your own branded hashtag(s) helps sharing within your followers.
Instagram posts with hashtags receive at least 12% more likes and comments than posts without hashtags.
Did I hear you say, “I add hashtags to my posts, but see no changes???” It is very important to note that not all hashtags are built the same and there are different types of hashtags for different purposes. That leads us to…
… Types of Hashtags!
Like I initially mentioned, as a brand, just as everything else, Hashtags should be intentional and not just thrown about. Following this, let’s dive into the different types of hashtags and how you can use them:
These hashtags are created to build brand loyalty and close relationship with your audience. They can be more like a slogan that is attached to the brand, something like Nike’s #JustDoIt hashtag.
The benefit of this slogan type of hashtag is that it encourages User-Generated-Contents. This makes users upload their own photos and adding the hashtag to their posts.
Think of these hashtags as industry buzzwords, keywords or catchphrases. Take for example a fitness page, a community hashtag would be #NoPainNoGain, #SweatIt, these are just examples of what they look like.
Trending hashtags are only for the moment; they are time-bound or do I say ‘Time-sensitive’. These hashtags are usually around events that come and go periodically, it could even be around a one-time event.
Perfect examples would be Halloween, Fifa World-Cup.
Brands can take on the opportunity to latch on to the trend to also get increased reach, but it is also important to note that while using the “Trending Hashtag”, posts and captions should be creatively stirred in a way that it aligns with the brand’s voice.
While it can be argued if the location hashtag is a type of hashtag, it can’t be ignored. Like I explained in about using Location Stickers, they help in further targeting your audience to their location and surrounding locations that can convert for the page.
This one is very self-explanatory as it is only used for promotions, giveaways or contests. The major characteristic of this type of hashtag is that it usually acts as a CTA in a distinct way. It is very direct and tells what to do next.
Knowing the different types and uses of hashtags would really help you in crafting the perfect hashtag strategy for your page. However, crafting the perfect hashtag strategy is a craft on its own but it’s not rocket science. Let’s do this!!!
How to Create A Hashtag Strategy?
First Things First; The first thing you want to do is to do a quick but in-depth survey of the common hashtags or buzzwords your competitors and target audience (Followers, Influencers) are using.
By doing this, you are taking notes of the tags they are constantly using, the tags doing the most numbers and new tags that are beginning to blossom.
Second Things Second; Use a hashtag tool! You can’t do wrong with a good hashtag tool that does the Zanku for you.
In Tags, help you generate the best performing hashtags in your selected niche, while Hashtagify literally helps you generate hashtags based on your photo. It is smart like that.
That being said, it is important to note that when creating your own Branded or Campaign hashtag, if you can, make it shorter so it is easily memorable. If it’s a multi-word type of tag, make sure it’s appropriately capitalized in a way that it is not difficult to read. For example, an Ankara inspired shoe store – #WalkingInMyHeritage compared to #walkinginmyheritage, the former is easier to read and makes a meaning than the latter.
There comes the question of how many hashtags to use when creating your hashtag strategy?
In case you don’t know, Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. But imagine yourself scrolling on Instagram and you see a page with a nice post. Then you head on to the page because you want to feed your eyes and then with every post you open, all 30 max hashtags are slapped everywhere! I bet you’d exit the page immediately for sanity sake.
You must have probably heard the saying “Less is More”. Well, you probably can tell your favorite brands are living by that mentality, as most of them strategically place their hashtags to make sense and ultimately relevant to the type of post they upload.
So, why not imbibe the “Less is More” mentality on your hashtags rather than smacking 30 hashtags on your post (yuckk).
As a brand, while you have read that hashtags can help boost your engagements and all of that, it is strongly advised not to turn your page into an ocean of hashtags as that may lead to your page getting shadowbanned.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy to Instagram engagements, it’s a combination of best practices done simultaneously, complementing each other to achieve desired results.
Also, while you want to lend your voice as a brand to societal or political issues using hashtags, it should be carefully thought through different filters as it can cause an unpleasant stir with your audience. Trust me, you don’t want that. Your hashtags should compliment your posts, not the focus of your posts.
Thinking of hashtags as a community builder, you can add them somewhere on your profile bio, business card or even your website data-offset-key=”ae7v2-1-0″>.
While it might not seem like a lot, it can increase brand loyalty. Be intentional with this tool and watch your page gain more engagements.