In this current landscape of social networking, you simply cannot escape the enormous presence of hashtags. Aside from breathing life into your posts, hashtags make it easier to reach your target audience and can be used to increase engagement, as well as categorize content.
If you are a social media novice, hashtags may seem useless, awkward and confusing at first, but once you fully understand their purpose and learn how to use them, you’ll be on your way to building a strong social media presence.
Here are ten tips on what to do and what not to do when using hashtags on Instagram:
- Do your hashtag research
Find out what keywords other people are using that are most relevant to your brand, products, or account, and use them to your advantage. Make sure to check things like their post count and the images shared under each particular hashtag. Also, determine whether or not your desired hashtag is already being used, and if so, decide if it’s still relevant to your brand.
- Do use different hashtags on a regular basis
Is your current set of hashtags running out of steam? If that’s a yes, consider switching them up a bit. Start by changing around about 10 of them and see if there’s any difference. A quick way to tell which of your hashtags are gaining traction is to check which ones are making your “top posts.”
- Do use hashtags in the right context
There’s nothing more annoying than misleading hashtags. When you use hashtags that are relevant to your posts, you avoid throwing off your visitors. Using hashtags that are deceiving can tarnish your overall brand, attract the wrong audience, and may cause possible clients to unfollow your page.
- Do avoid overly popular hashtags
Using hashtags with low competition tend to have less posts, which makes it easier for users to find your content. Posting a photo with community hashtags such as #tbt or #ootd might cause your post to get lost among the millions of incoming photos with those same hashtags. Alternatively, you could alter popular hashtags to supplement the content in your post. You can also use brand-specific hashtags to encourage and discover user generated content.
- Do keep your hashtags short and sweet
Make it easy for your audience to remember and spell your hashtags, please. Hashtags that are too long can be a headache. What’s more, a single misspelling can reduce the value of your hashtag by making it undiscovered. So, make sure to double-check your hashtags to prevent wrong spellings and keep them short and sweet, not long and hard to read.
- Don’t hashtag every word in your post
The pain of seeing an Instagram post with a pound sign before each word is virtually unbearable. It can look downright sloppy and can be very annoying for readers. Know when to use them and when to lose them. Remember, the point of using a hashtag is to emphasize a particular topic or thought.
- Don’t overuse hashtags in one post
Using hashtags can be exciting and fulfilling, but don’t be a hashtag abuser. Flooding your Instagram posts with too many hashtags can be overwhelming for your visitors and make your page appear “spammy.” Even though Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags (up to 60 via a workaround), it’s best to use 5 to 10 hashtags per post. If you choose to use more than five hashtags, just make sure to put them in the comment section so they don’t interfere with the caption of the photo.
- Don’t use the same hashtag for every post
While using the same hashtag frequently can help boost engagement and brand awareness, it’s crucial not to use the same hashtag in every post you make on Instagram. Repurposing your hashtags helps avoid redundancy and reduces the risk of losing followers. However, you can create a specific business hashtag that you are free to use it in all your posts.
- Don’t use punctuations in your hashtags
A basic rule is to never put a punctuation in the hashtag. This will render the hashtag ineffective and may cause errors. Also, the hashtag will end where you put the space or punctuation. Take for example, the hashtag “#I’m alive.” After posting, only the “#I’m” will be rendered a hashtag, which is clearly useless on its own.
- Don’t use all CAPS
Only use all caps for acronyms, else it might seem as if you’re shouting. Besides, it adds unnecessary work that you really don’t need in your life.
Hashtags can seem irrelevant and confusing at first, but once you grasp the basics, you’ll discover how useful they can be. Now that you are up to speed with the dos and don’ts when using hashtags on Instagram, it’s time to go out and kick start your Instagram marketing. The best of luck!