Hashtags are a large part of the Instagram platform, knowing how to utilise them correctly is key to increasing your brand awareness and engagement.
This guide is here to help you with exactly that, so let’s start with something simple.
What is an Instagram hashtag?
A hashtag is a short word or phrase that has the number (#) sign in front of it. On Instagram, much like other social media networks, hashtags are clickable or can be searched for, through hashtags users are able to find specific content as posts can be categorised.
How to add hashtags
Adding hashtags on Instagram is simple, all you must do is type in the # symbol followed by the word.
Why are hashtags important?
Including hashtags in your Instagram posts can have a whole host of benefits and it’s such an easy task to carry out. You can expand your audience and reach potential new followers. When you tag a post or a story, you will appear on the corresponding hashtag page/story, which users can search for. Instagram users can choose to follow hashtags that they are interested in, meaning that there’s potential for you not to just show up on the hashtag page but also in their feed.
You are also able to build a community through the hashtags on Instagram. If you use unique hashtags that have a purpose of uniting people, you can market this to them. Both you and your audience can use the hashtag to post to, therefore creating a sense of community.
In essence, hashtags enable you to categorise your posts and target specific audiences.
Popular types of hashtags
These ones are great for tuning into and creating weekly events. There are plenty of different hashtags to choose from on each day, such as #MondayMotivation or #WednesayWisdom. One of our favourites here at Intilery is # MeetTheTeamMonday.
Carry out some research to find out what fun or interesting daily hashtags you could incorporate in your posts.
Hashtags like these are for categorising your content, it allows your audience to find posts relating to your brand, such as the posts you have already published. One way to generate more engagement and interest around branded hashtags is to create a competition or giveaway, where you ask your audience to post content using said hashtag. This then popularises the hashtag, gets the word out to an even wider audience and enables you to gather user-generated content that you can repost.
Using product hashtags is a quick and easy way to let an audience know what your product or service is. It is nothing complicated and can be very general, for example, our product hashtags would be #CRM and #MarketingAutomation.
Industry Specific Hashtags
Hashtags like these allow you to target a more niche audience with regards to your product or service, again it doesn’t have to be anything complicated, an example of our industry specific hashtag would be #RealtimeCRM.
For some businesses, it will be beneficial to target people in their local area. For example, a new restaurant will want to market themselves to the local area to begin with, this way they can start to bring in customers and build up their reputation. Chances are, if you target by area then you already geo-tag your Instagram posts, but there is no harm in mentioning it in your hashtags too, if anything it will only increase your chances of reaching the intended audience.
Popular Hashtags on Instagram
Unlike other social media networks like LinkedIn, Instagram doesn’t publish the number of followers a hashtag has, however, it is possible to discover which hashtags have the most posts relating to them.
#love – 1.8B Posts
#instagood – 1.15B Posts
#fashion – 812.7M Posts
#photooftheday – 797.3M Posts
#beautiful – 661M Posts
#art – 649.9M Posts
#photography – 583.1M Posts
#happy – 578.8M Posts
#picoftheday – 570.8M Posts
#cute – 569.1M Posts
Tips and Tricks when using hashtags
Hide your hashtags
Instagram is a very aesthetic platform, you may spend a great deal of time crafting your imagery and caption, and therefore don’t want the look of the hashtags to ruin your carefully curated post. There are several ways you can ‘hide’ your hashtags on Instagram, this means that they may not be completely invisible but are certainly less visible in the initial instances.
The first way to hide your hashtags is to hide them in the caption. Once you’ve input your caption, tap the return button, and enter some sort of punctuation mark (this could be anything from a dash, bullet point or full stop). Repeat this process a couple of times before adding in your hashtags. Instagram hides anything after three lines and therefore your audience would have to tap the ‘…more’ button to view the rest of the caption and your hashtags.
You can also hide your hashtags in the comments of your posts. This is a rather simple process, create your caption and publish your post without any hashtags, then select the speech bubble under your post to add a comment, you can then input your hashtags into a comment, and they won’t be visible unless your audience click the ‘View all comments’ button.
Hiding any hashtags on Instagram stories comes down to your ability to edit your stories well. You can tap on the hashtag to change its background, to make it less visible, you should choose the semi-transparent background. Minimising the size of the hashtag and placing it in a corner is also effective. You might choose to make the hashtag rather small and then cover it with GIF, emoji, or sticker.
Discover the right amount of hashtags
The maximum number of hashtags you can include on a grid post is 30, whilst on a story it’s 10. You should trial what works for your business, you may find a large number of hashtags bring in a great deal of engagement, or it could be the case that a smaller amount is what works for you. If you decide to test this out, remember to keep the type of hashtag you use the same, including niche hashtags into one caption but not another may have an impact that will affect your results.
Instagram insights on a business profile are brilliant for gaining an understanding of how your posts are performing. Under the ‘impressions’ section of the insights page, you are able to see how many impressions you’ve gained ‘From Hashtags’, this is a good indicator of how your hashtags are aiding your reach.
Formatting your hashtags correctly seems such an easy task but it is crucial that you get it right, otherwise you may not reach your intended audience.
First and foremost you should check your spelling. If you misspell a hashtag then it won’t appear in the hashtag page you wish it to.
Remember that hashtags can’t contain symbols or spaces, this means no punctuation can be included, despite how much it may bother some of you grammar nerds!
Another important thing to check, is to see whether your hashtag says what you think it says. Sometimes, when you merge words together, there’s the opportunity for other words and phrases to appear, and occasionally this has had a disastrous effect for a company’s image.
Keep it relevant
If you start to include hashtags that don’t relate to your brand, product, or post, then you won’t reach your target audience. Trying to reach a large audience is pointless if said audience are not interested in your offerings. Hashtags are supposed to lead to higher engagement, and you won’t achieve this if you use irrelevant hashtags.
Adding hashtags to your Instagram posts when done correctly, can lead to positive results. Refer to this guide when you are planning your hashtag strategy to ensure you are familiar with the best practices surrounding hashtag use on Instagram.