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Having a #throwbackthursday? Did you just leave for a party because you have #FOMO? Or, are you just too lazy to put makeup on and going for a #nofilter day?
Well, I am pretty sure that most of you have used these Instagram Hashtags or are using them in your everyday lives. However, the real questions are what are they? Why have they become such a sensation?
Most importantly, why do they matter just as much as the content of your brand?
If you want to get the answers to satisfy your curious mind, this guide will help you with it.
Here is the ultimate guide to #hashtagging on Instagram.
What are ‘Hashtags’ For Real?
‘Hashtags’ are just a word or a sequence of words used along with a ‘#’ to create a category of posts.
Using Instagram Hashtags, helps you engage the targeted audience because when a user searches interest for a particular hashtag, your post will be among them if you have added that hashtag.
Not only this, but a viewer can also view any brand’s post when they open a post or a story containing a hashtag and clicks on it, finally landing on the post of a brand they didn’t know about.
It is proved that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media. Therefore, why not make this percentage even more by using Instagram hashtags?
Isn’t it cool for a brand to gain popularity when you know it that you can surely do it on Instagram?
Why Instagram Hashtags Are Important?
Imagine, you are a brand that has a great collection of shoes. The quality is beyond the level of any other and the variety is huge but, you are not able to get as much attention and response as you are willing to offer. In such a case, unconventional methods play an important role in helping in magical ways.
Any viewer viewing the post of a well-known brand will read its caption, might click on a hashtag that you have used on your post. Then, under that category of a hashtag, your post will be flashing. Hence, the viewer who had no intention of visiting your page will see what you have and might start following and buying your brand.
Henceforth, miracles happen in the most understated circumstances, and here’s the miracle!
For Example, #yoga has about 69.6M posts in it which means that so many people have used it in their feed-posts or stories.
How to Use Instagram Hashtags
Instagram Hashtags can be added in three places i.e. posts, stories, and IGTV.
In all the three areas, the impact is different but all of them aim at a single cause: “WIDENING THE OUTREACH OF THE BRAND”
Hashtags can be added to your posts by simply typing them in the ‘write the caption…’ section.
Having an idea of the kind of hashtag you’re going to add gives you an edge in posting the right one for your brand. This is because when you start typing the initials, suggestions for various tags start appearing below the ‘caption’ section.
Thus, it helps you to coin a better hashtag than the one you are thinking. Since the Instagram hashtags coming below also show the number of posts they have appeared in, it really helps to choose the best out of all.
This is the demonstration of how you can add hashtags in your posts.
In this, hashtag campaign is started by Oreo India to get mass participation.
Another way to incorporate Instagram hashtags is by using them in your stories. Now, you can do that in two ways.
One way being, you can simply add text on your post and start with ‘#’ and whatever sequence of words you want to use to get discovered on Instagram.
Well, even in this way you get to choose from numerous options flashing below the blinking text cursor. Hence, after finalizing the hashtag you want to use, simply press ‘done’ and post the story like any other.
You see, while adding a hashtag in a story, you also get suggestions to improvise it.
The other way includes using a ‘hashtag sticker’ from the ‘sticker’ button on the top of your screen in your story. It is just a fancier version of the previous option and it works well too.
So, when any follower of yours opens your story and clicks on the hashtag, they end up landing on the page full of posts of the same category.
Using Instagram Hashtags here is the latest way right now, as according to the @bbcstories following a woman’s post of her disease reached 60,000 views through IGTV contrasted to only 1000 views through her in-feed post.
Also, @foodandwine got 225k+ views on their IGTV as compared to about 100k views on their Instagram feed post.
Hence, it won’t be incorrect to call IGTV the new emerging trend off posting videos. So, why not use hashtags on IGTV videos too?
When to Use Instagram Hashtags?
The answer is ‘as much as you can’. Try to post frequently and schedule the time when you post. Random posting will not create a flow between you and your audience and some of them will see and some might not.
Also, there is no necessity to use Instagram Hashtags but as long as it can serve as a positive feature, I think you should use them whenever you can.
They won’t reduce anything but only increase something for your brand if used in a careful manner.
So, use them on your posts (maximum 30) and stories (maximum 10) to increase your chances of getting exposed to more people.
The Instagram Hashtag Funnel
Going by broadest category to the most specific one, here are all the types of hashtags ever used.
1. Industry Hashtags
This is the broadest category of hashtags. It includes a wide range of hashtags that can be used under a single category.
These hashtags are often used by brands to be a part of the wide variety of posts it includes.
Most of the people use these hashtags in their posts as they do not know the specific ones.
They are generic Instagram hashtags and usually have high competition.
For example: #dogs #traveler #photography
Being a broad category, it consists of a large number of posts.
2. Niche Hashtags
These are a step lower to the ‘Industry hashtags’. They include a specialty in the prior type. They may be more specific than the first one and have a little less competition.
In this one, users usually have a common niche together.
For example: #travelblogger #weddingphotographer #traveltheworld
3. Branded Hashtags
These hashtags are exquisite ones. They are self-made by the individual brands themselves and cannot be used by any other brand except for them.
Usually, they are created to promote a particular collection or a new slogan of the brand.
Example: #givesyouwings by Red Bull #travelinsider by Insider Traveller #shareacoke by Coka-Cola
The example above shows how an Instagram Brand, ‘Insider Traveller’ used its own Brand name as a hashtag to promote the post.
4. Community Hashtags
They are those hashtags that are used by like-minded users. The difference between Brand hashtags and this one is, here, the hashtags need not be only business-oriented.
They can be broad too.
Basically, they represent a community of common thinking.
Example: #welltravelled by Herschelsupply
#communityovercompetition by Risingtidesociety
5. Location Hashtags
Similar to what the name suggests, these hashtags are used to highlight the location of the place you are posting.
It is yet another way to promote the brand by simply mentioning the place you are.
These hashtags mean that you do not just have to restrict to cute puns or alliterations in your hashtags but being straight-forward can also bring as much audience.
Example: #colorado #orlando
6. Event Hashtags
These hashtags are pretty popular. Any food-related brand or clothing brand uses it on different events. These hashtags are used casually and not for specific purposes.
For example: #tuesdaytogether by @risingtidesociety
Such hashtags of popular brands aware people of what is happening currently. It can be related to a casual day or any event organized.
Also, they can be easily used in stories or live videos.
7. Campaign Hashtags
These hashtags are not included in the hashtag funnel but they are similar to the event hashtags. These hashtags are generated especially for a particular campaign run by brands for their endorsement.
They are promoted for a short period of time because they are for a sale or a special offer or maybe a collaboration. Only due to the fact that the campaign will last for a short duration.
For Example: #sixwordshorrorstory by @dunkinindia
8. Special Day Hashtags
Such hashtags are also momentary. They are used for a day or two maybe just to promote an offer on a special day. The day can be a holiday or a known day to celebrate.
Using these hashtags help brands to garner a huge audience for the purpose they have used the hashtag.
This way they are profited by the event due to the publicity through their Instagram feed-posts and stories.
These brands have always made sure that there is a hashtag for an occasion. That’s why even when they forget to do it, people assume that there will be some offer in these brands.
Research. Recreate. Revise.
Since we now know what are the kind of hashtags that can build a brand, we should not forget the amount of research work required for it to be a success as well.
Hence, contemplating the agenda in mind before introducing it to the world is a very crucial step.
Here are the 3 levels on which your research or recreation of existing hashtags should take place.
At the end of the day, what are these hashtags for? To promote. To do marketing through Instagram, right? Who are the people needed for this promotion? Audience.
Therefore, creating hashtags with regard to the people who view the post and story is necessary. Nobody will open the hashtag if you recklessly add anything you think of. So, knowing the niche of your brand and their likes and dislikes is of utmost importance.
Categorise your audience and judge the type of posts and stories they view more. Taking inspiration from your past to better your present should not be restricted to written content but also followed.
2. Potential Competitors
Getting success in what you are doing currently is perfect. In fact, it is the dream of many that you are living in today.
However, the point is to continue with it, and to do so you need to know the market.
Putting your best efforts is not the only parameter, instead of doing best amongst everyone is! Hence, knowing what your opponent is capable of offering to your viewers is significant.
Observe the kind of hashtags they are using. Maybe they are throwing #challenge to their audience or holding #contest for them. Whatever they are doing, you should always be one step ahead, or else, you will lose your way out.
3. Instagram Influencers
As the name suggests, ‘they influence’. So, taking ideas from what they are doing on Instagram can help your brand to transform into a better version of itself.
You do not have to copy the hashtags they are using. That way the whole plan will become transparent. Just observe, take notes, watch their moves carefully. They know a lot about their followers so, using them to get ahead of the game will only be considered as a smart move.
Always try to see what they are showing that is gaining them publicity and how you can improve. See what is in trend and subtly use that in your branding as well.
You will surely be able to discover and create your own good ones!
Be attentive. Be artistic.
‘Vijay Deverakonda’, who has not heard his name. So, being a celebrity business can take inspiration from how he used his hashtag in getting more people to know about his upcoming project.
How many Hashtag is too much?
According to a 2014 study by Simply Measured, a revelation was made that feed-posts on Instagram with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement, so adding hashtags for brand marketing is not at all a bad idea.
Whereas, the question is how many of them are optimum. Neither do we want to overdo it not do we want to do it any less. Well, we have an answer to that.
According to an analysis by Track Maven, ‘9’ is the optimum number of hashtags that should be used to make a post more approachable.
However, these are just numbers and they can never be a hundred percent correct. So, I suggest go with your instinct. You want to add nine, add nine. You want to add any less or more, go ahead. In all, it should satisfy you and serve justice to your brand otherwise the efforts are worthless no matter what any study proposes.
Technically, you can use a maximum of thirty hashtags in your feed-post. Therefore, make a choice of your own just optimum to judge whether your potential post-lover will be able to land on your post or not.
Tools for Best Instagram Hashtags
Here are the the best tools to refine the Instagram Hashtags.
This app is owned by Influencer Marketing Hub. It gives you results for the appropriate hashtags to be added when you click the ‘+’ button and add the picture you are going to put on your feeds.
Then click on ‘upload and generate hashtags’ box. Immediately, you will see a sample of your post consisting of the ten relevant hashtags that will suit it the best.
Further down the page, you will find 20 more keywords for your post and their analysis. On selecting any keyword, the app will show the results of five hashtags for it.
Finally, you select whatever you feel is perfect and just click on the ‘copy the selected hashtags’ button.
Also, if you have a pre-decided list of keywords, enter them with commas on the box at the bottom of the page.
Then, click on the pink button ‘Generate Hashtags’ button to get the corresponding results.
2. All Hashtag
This app is exactly just for hashtags. It generates, creates, analyses, and all searches for top hashtags.
It has everything you need. It started in 2015 and is growing ever since. It provides you more than thirty hashtags based on any keyword. There are three options to filter the right hashtag for you. They are: random, live, and top.
When you get the suitable hashtag for your brand, you just have to copy by using the ‘copy’ button.
Using the ‘random’ option will generate random hashtags for the given keyword. Similarly, the ‘live’ option will generate the already in existence hashtags.
This app was introduced by ‘Later’ for the sole purpose of creating, saving, and keeping a track of hashtags.
As the name suggests, ‘Hashtags Suggestions’ comes with two exclusive features.
- Hashtag suggestions
- Saved Captions
In Hashtag Suggestions, the app suggests suitable hashtags for your post. All you have to do is click on the ‘Hashtag Suggestions’ button at the bottom and the tool will provide over 30 suggestions for the same.
In saved captions, you can create a list of your daily use hashtags and then you can add them anytime you want!
This way you can add multiple captions to your ‘Saved Captions’ list.
This tool is introduced by RiteKit’s social media. It is a paid tool and it asks for $49 per month.
Under it, you can get:
- Instant suggestions for hashtags using a picture or text on any site, mobile: android or iOS
- Detailed statistics related to the hashtags
- Capacity to save the research from various Hashtag Analysis pages or comparison pages in TagSets.
This app uses machine learning to go through any picture and find suitable hashtags for it.
It consists of ‘Keyword Generator’ and ‘Hashtag Generator’. As simple as it looks, simpler is its approach.
All you have to do is drag a picture into the box with a dashed border and the job will be done.
You can select from a maximum limit of 30 Hashtags and 50 Keywords to find the perfect one for you and can judge the amount of popularity you want for your brand’s post.
This is an iOS App available in Apple App Store. It is free but to get access to the extra features, you need to buy the premium package of $8.99 per month.
It serves the same purpose and works with the same basis as the other apps. Its rating is 4.9 on the App Store, from 677 reviews.
How to Track your Progress?
Any brand or business can track not only how many people visited their profile or the website clicks on your bio, but also the people who saw the post through hashtags.
This way you can judge as to which post got more number of impressions and which hashtag was a greater success.
All you have to do is:
- Visit any post and you will find an icon called ‘Profile Insights’.
- Click on that white-colored icon and you will end up on a page.
- That page will have a lot of information regarding that post.
- Scroll down to the ‘impressions’ section.
- You will find ‘From Hashtags’ there and look at the number across it.
- That is the number of people who saw your post through hashtags.
Instagram analytics is keeping a check your posts hashtag performance.
You can use any app for it like, keyhole.com or brand24.
This helps you to take forward the successful tactics used in the previous posts while also eliminating the use of hashtags that failed to create the impact they were needed for.
What kind of Instagram Hashtags You Should Use?
As easy as it may sound, you might be thinking that it will not be a hard row to hoe but, the matter is underestimated.
Not only can a thoughtful hashtag boost your brand-marketing but a careless attitude towards it can also ruin it.
Accordingly, remember that hashtags can be bifurcated as:
- Positive Hashtags
- Negative Hashtags
Positive Hashtags are those hashtags that are responsible for an increment in the number of views and followers of a brand.
They contribute to the growth of a brand.
Negative Hashtags are those which degrade the quality of a brand by negatively affecting its growth.
Brands must know the difference between these hashtags in order to choose wisely between the two.
How to find Positive Hashtags?
Finding or forming a hashtag can be a tiring job in itself. However, my question to you is what you actually mean by “What to find in them?”
Basically, you have to keep yourself in your audience’s place and see whether you will like it if someone posts this or not. The answer to this will help you make the decision for your own brand.
So, here are some suggestions on what to find suitable hashtags.
1. Short yet impactful
This is the key feature that we should look for while searching for hashtags.
Instead of going for the obvious ones like #insta or #instalove, use something that describes your brand and not the place where it is being publicized.
When anyone looks at it, they should be motivated enough to open it. If that fails to happen, the purpose of using a hashtag will itself be defeated.
For example: #TogetherWeAreStronger for a post related to love.
2. Use and do not use popular Hashtag
Confused already? Let me explain what this contradictory statement actually means.
It means to use the relevant and always a trend type of a hashtag in your posts if necessary but do not use the senselessly famous hashtags. Those hashtags are made popular by people but do good to no one so try and restrict yourself from using it.
For example: Never add hashtags like #followme or #onlyforfollowers or #insta or #forlikes, etc.
These hashtags are completely futile and will impact your brand for the worse.
That does not mean that you should not use any kind of popular hashtags.
Use #FOMO or #TBT or #TGIF if you want because these are some famous hashtags that have not become famous for anything.
How can a Hashtag lead you to popularity?
This is the biggest question because till now we have been discussing it’s useful for promoting brands and helps in reaching out to a new audience but now we are going to know how?
The answer is very evident. The key is using good hashtags because of which you can make it to the top stories of the Instagram hashtag page.
‘Top stories’ is something you would have noticed when you searched for a particular hashtag.
In that, the top stories include the top 9 posts containing that hashtag. This way you come into the limelight.
If you use the hashtags that serve absolutely what a viewer wants to see then you might as well feature in the ‘explore’ tab.
Getting to these places requires a serious hashtag-game which is a bit difficult to achieve.
8 Best Tips on Instagram Hashtags
Here are the proven best tips on Instagram Hashtags.
1. Be Careful
Remember to be careful with the hashtags. There is an option of following hashtags, so if you do it right people can start following your hashtag. Whereas, if you post irrelevant things then they also have an option to “Don’t show for this hashtag”.
A single response of such kind might not do anything but if there are a number of it then your post might be shown rarely or not at all.
This is how your hashtag-game can turn into a bane instead of a boon for you.
2. Widen your Audience
You can widen the scope of your audience by simply exploring popular hashtags, adding on posts timely, and looking at related hashtags.
These are some of the unconventional ways of doing so. You can also take help from your old posts and be consistent with your hashtags which are getting a good response. In fact, you can even add more hashtags to the old posts to put your post in front of a new audience altogether.
Example: This brand used their hashtag and kept a track of the posts adding on to the hashtag they are using and believe me, their strategy worked.
3. Use Specific or Niche Hashtags
Try to use hashtags that serve a particular audience and is not a broad category. This way your hashtag will remain relevant enough to get the attention of the right audience.
For example, CalvinKlein uses the hashtag #mycalvins to promote their brand.
4. Be Consistent
Another point to remember is to try to be consistent with your hashtags. Using new hashtags in every post will only make your audience quite unpredictable. To keep them clear about your brand and to put forth a solid message through your brand, use a hashtag, and continue with it till they get used to it.
For example: Forever 21 is using its #forever21 for forever now.
5. Add Website Hashtag
Yes, it is possible. Add clickable hashtags to your bio. They can be clicked and will open up the respective website. Hence, your hashtag will promote your brand website too.
For Example: The hashtag website link was created for this brand to make it famous by the use of their well-known hashtag #NushForLove.
6. Use your own Imagination
Do not just use what is already there. If you want your brand to be talked about, you have to make it impressionable. So, create your own hashtag. It does not need to be smart or witty, just let it speak for the brand and it will be immediately accepted and admired.
In fact, add emoticons to your hashtags. They are unique and will give a refreshed appeal to them.
For Example: Here, the heart emojis are used with the hashtag to pave way for a new trend- ‘Emoticon Hashtags’.
7. Hide Hashtags
If you do not want clutter in your ‘caption’ section, then you can hide your Instagram hashtags in two ways:
1. In Comments
Use the captions box to write the caption and post it. Now open the comment section. All you have to do is, add all the hashtags you think are required and that were to be put up in the caption.
Nobody will notice them unless they press the ‘Vie all comments’ button on the post.
2. In Captions
- Tap the ‘123’ key when typing the caption and then press ‘return’.
- Enter any punctuation (usually a hyphen is added) and press ‘return’ again.
- Repeat these steps five times.
- Then, Instagram hides captions after three lines so your hashtags won’t be visible until your followers press ‘more’ option on your post.
For Example: Here, the hashtags could only be seen by clicking on the ‘more’ button. Else, they were invisible.
8. Save Hashtags
You can save the Instagram hashtags you think you will use in the future. All you need to do is go to the ‘Notes’ App on your phone and save them there. When you will need them, copy-paste them wherever you want them.
So, now I guess you know all about #hashtagging on Instagram.
Just do not forget one thing, every move you make is going to affect your brand in all sorts of the way so plan it through.
You have got what you need to know and the rest figure out with all your heart as life is not just about getting to know the rules but in reality making your own too.
People say “Less is more!” but where’s the fun in that? So, go with you not them.
Happy #hashtagging to you!