Hashtags are funny little things, aren’t they? Like social media itself, they’re still sometimes seen as this annoying thing the kids are doing.
But, also like social media itself, if you know what you’re doing they can be incredibly valuable to your business. Hashtags categorize content, so anyone who clicks on or searches or a certain hashtag will see everything that’s been ‘tagged’ with it. Hashtags are what turn social media platforms like Instagram into search engines – in fact, hashtags can even be ‘followed’ on Instagram the way users can follow friends or businesses.
If you use hashtags properly, you can increase likes, comments, and engagements on your business posts and generate new, targeted followers.
Here are three keys to making hashtags work for your business.
Because hashtags can be followed, you’ll pop into the feeds of people who aren’t following your account. If you’re tagging your content with irrelevant hashtags, you risk coming across as spammy. Users can tell Instagram not to show your content for that hashtag – which will results in fewer views of your post.
Instagram uses these flags as a way to determine the type of content users want to see. Too many reports like this may keep your account from being shown as often in other’s feeds.
Using specific hashtags as opposed to generic and widely used ones (like #canada, which has almost 43 million posts) has two purposes: one, it increases the chances of your content being seen at all, and two, it reaches your specific niche and target audience as opposed to random users.
For example, if you’re a coffee shop based in Calgary, Alberta, instead of using #calgary (4.6 million posts), try #calgarycoffee (3,000 posts) or #pourovercoffee (171,000 posts). While it may be tempting to use popular hashtags, it’s going to make it harder for your content to get found in all the noise.
You can find appropriate hashtags by searching for them the way you would a user. Look for ones with fewer posts:
But remember, the hashtags with fewer posts are only good if they’re also relevant to your content.
Creating a branded hashtag is a way to get your followers engaged with your account and business, and bring more attention to an event or promotion. You can create a branded hashtag to support things like a product launch, event, promotions, or contests.
Although it’s not rocket science, there are a few ways you can make sure your hashtag resonates with your audience.
What’s your goal? If you’re using the hashtag to generate awareness and excitement around an event, you’ll want to make sure it’s created prior to the event and you use it in promotional material.
Start by creating a shortlist of possible hashtags. Make sure they’re related to your target audience.
Research each of your shortlisted hashtags to see if they’re already being used and if they need to be tweaked.
Once you’ve settled on a hashtag, make sure to promote wherever it makes sense.
Finally – Analyze. Check to see how often your hashtag is used to measure success.