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Instagram Hashtags – Survival Guide for 2019

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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Find out the best tips from Irene Calcaneo, our guest author from Mailclick, to get the most out of your hashtags. Irene, we couldn’t have asked for a better guest. Thanks so much for this awesome post!

Hashtags: What You Can’t Miss Out On

Instagram has gone from just a social media network for personal photos to one of the most searched terms on Google world-wide. Contrary to what happened with Facebook, which suffered a significant decrease of 29% in said searches, as well as Youtube with a less aggressive drop of 4%, Instagram’s success can be measured by it’s 21% increase. Surprised? Don’t be. Audiences change, grow, and evolve. What was used 10 years ago is different from what is used today.

The important part of social media strategy is your ability to adapt as fast as the media, technology, and its’ audiences. Only that way will you be able to get the most out of your marketing attempts. You must be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with hashtags on Instagram? I came here to read about hashtags.” We’re getting there!

Instagram hashtags are one of the many technological elements that have evolved in its use and engagement by our audiences. That means that you can get the most positive of results without having to invest more than you need. Therefore, it’s important to know how to use them or how to contract a community manager service trained for just that.

The Importance of a Good Hashtag

Just as publishing on social media doesn’t mean you’re a community manager, putting a hashtag on Instagram doesn’t mean that you know how to use them correctly. Here, “correctly” implies knowing not just how to write them but the very characteristics that will deliver results for your social media strategy time and again. Instagram may seem pretty easy, but the small details can determine the success of your strategy.

Visibility from the Niches that You’re Interested In

Instagram has around a billion active users around the world. Furthermore, it experiences a 5% increase per trimester. That means 50 million new active accounts. However, not each and every person in that “world” will be part of your target audience. The importance of a clear strategy lies precisely in the hashtags that you make use of.

Imagine that you have a restaurant with delivery service in Mexico. You could stick with general subjects like #Food, with its 1.8 million publications; however, it won’t help much given that users from around the world are searching the same hashtag and you can’t send food to Perú or Argentina. So, what can help you? One of your options could be a specific hashtag pertaining to a geolocation, for example: #RestaurantFD. And what if the food you sell isn’t just any type of food but healthy food? Surely you’ll want to use a hashtag that your target audience will be able to find, for example: #Healthyfood.

Showing up just for the sake of showing up with whatever hashtag is not as helpful as it may seem. Think of shots fired into thin air. You need to actually show up on the searches of your potential clients.

Improve Your Readability

Although its rarely used and even a method frowned upon by some, I’ve learned that the easier it is to visually identify key words, the better the results of your posts will be. You’re probably thinking, “What’s she talking about?”

In most social media network applications, the font color of hashtags and usernames are different than the rest of the text. This translates to a visual differentiation that can help to achieve greater readability for your publications. And as if that wasn’t enough, Instagram hashtags can also act as visual accents that break up larger texts, making it easier for users to read them.

Brand Discovery

Imagine now that you’re working on a brand launch for a restaurant chain. Your market niche isn’t geographically defined and you need brand exposure fast.

Of course you’ll use advertisements, but it’s important to maximize your results as well since no business has unlimited resources for social media. In that case, using hashtags that are highly popular will bring your brand the exposure that you need, widening your audience as much as possible.

Evaluate Your Results

One of the daily problems that businesses have is that they’re not able to measure the profits of their actions on social media. However, with the appropriate tools, you’ll be able to evaluate the performance indicators of your strategy. Naturally, this includes the hashtags that you use on Instagram. Like you’ll soon realize, the kind of profit that you’ll be able to get doesn’t depend only on the use of a hashtag. It matters which hashtags you use and how you use them. That brings us to the next step.

Hashtags, Make the Most of Them!

Choose Your Hashtags Carefully

Don’t use irrelevante hashtags just because they’re in style and all of a sudden seem like a good idea. Have a clear strategy and stick to it. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use trendy hashtags and/or newjacking, but it should be carefully laid out in your plans when and how to use them.

Make Your Hashtags Easy to Remember

Even if you’re working with a well-known brand, it would be difficult for anyone to remember a hashtag like: #Andalusianrestauranthealthyfood. Your users would wonder, “What does that say?” Make your hashtags short, understandable, and preferably in upper and lower case. For example: #AndalusianRestaurant.

Make an Annotated List of Hashtags

If you’ve already taken the time to choose and plan the hashtags that you’re going to use, it would be a waste to forget reasons for using them and the focus that each will have. You should make use of a calculations sheet from G-Suite or another online tool so that you always have access to the information on your cloud.

Test and Test Again

The same thing doesn’t work for all businesses. Advertising is not an exact science and neither is social media. Once you have your strategy planned out, it’s time to introduce some tests to redefine it. Don’t forget to evaluate and analyze the results of each action you take, or it will be as if you hadn’t tested anything at all.

Choose Hashtags from General to Specific

Keep testing and measuring your success! After carrying out your initial hashtag strategy, you won’t be able to know what has worked best so it’s important to include hashtags that go from general to specific while following the previous advice!

Hashtags, Are You Using Them Well?

I always insist that publishing on social media networks can be extremely easy and almost anyone can do it. However, not everyone knows how to do it well or how to get the best results with the same resources. To maximize those results, there are what’s called “good practices,” which are recommendations on how, where, and why to use certain hashtags. Below I’ve shared with you some of those recommendations:

Use Upper and Lower Case

This should be the common practice when writing a hashtag in whatever social media network because it significantly increases a tag’s chances to be read and identified. Believe me, when you’re competing against thousands of other publications, you’ll want people to be able to recognize yours quickly.

Use the Appropriate Number of Hashtags for your Strategy

In old school social media, the appropriate number of hashtags was a maximum of three. However, things have changed a lot. Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags. But don’t get excited! Even though you’re able to tag that many things, you should try out first whats going to get you the best results for your niche by conducting a series of tests at different times and with different types of content and numbers of tags. Evaluate the results of each publication as well as the results of each hashtag to establish the range in which those results have proved to work best.

  • Use hashtags that are specific and of interest for your audience

All of a sudden its become easy to check which hashtags are being used so as to introduce them into your own content. But that’s not always the best option. You could lose the opportunity for your target niche within a specific market to find your posts. Investigate your audience. Analyze the things they search, how they search for them, and how they interact. Based on your findings, create and introduce specific hashtags that allows you to be present among them.

For example, use tags that reference conferences, conventions, fairs, and other events that your audiences go to. Even natural occurrences that are trending, like eclipses, can relate to your audience.

  • Use events like these to collect UGC (User Generated Content)

Social media users love to be taken into account. It’s important to participate and interact with their favorite brands in given niches of the market. One of the ways to achieve this is to make them participants in the content created by the brand by incorporating photos that they themselves have sent. Instagram hashtags are one of the most useful tools so that users can participate and contribute new material.

  • You’re not using Instagram stories?

You’re losing other opportunities for your content to be seen!

  • Combine hashtags

When planning and beginning your strategy, you should use establish the types of hashtags that will allow you to reach a variety of audiences. Don’t forget to evaluate your results. They’re key to know which hashtags you should use.

Some important tips

1. Popular tags: you should use 5-7 hashtags that have 100,000 or more posts associated with it.

2. Moderately popular tags: consider using 5-7 hashtags that have 10,000-100,000 posts associated with it.

3. Specific hashtags: using 2-5 specific tags could be a good idea for your particular strategy

4. Brand tags: include 1-3 brand tags to position yourself in the market

Good Spelling

A bad habit of writing hashtags is to forego good spelling. Although most social media specialists show that it’s best to use correct spelling even in hashtags, it’s common to see them written incorrectly. Good spelling represents the image that your brand wants present to the user. Of course, it’s not the same if your business is a B2B (business to business) enterprise or if you manage a rock group’s account, where their name is already spelled incorrectly.

Take a Look At All the Hashtags that You Use on Instagram

Like all social media strategies, evaluation is a key factor in the failure or success of all your actions. Certain content or hashtags can be successful now (or seem to be successful now) but if you don’t continue evaluating them, you can’t have a real benchmark for how they work.

For example, that hashtag that you think has been working pretty well may be giving you better results that any other due to a variable that you haven’t yet identified. By evaluating your results, you’ll realize that there are other tags you tend to publish at a time where there’s little activity, whose success appears to go to your “star” hashtag.

What would happen if you discovered “secondary” hashtags that have, in reality, created greater engagement than your “favorites” just by changing the time of the post? Often it’s the little details that better the success of a given plan of action. And those details are typically discovered in the process of evaluation and analysis. Here, the important thing it to have access to statistics that state the scope, impact, and influence of each hashtag that you’ve used and, above all, to compare them with each other so as to make the necessary adjustments.

Now Its Your Turn

With Tweet Binder, you’ll be able to access the complete statistical data of all your posts and even download that content so as to create a personalized analysis that checks the data of any hashtag. Are you taking advantage of hashtags on Instagram? Leave your comments below!