Go ahead. Use some hashtags. The good ol’ hashtag. Born unknown about 13 years ago and has now ‘grown up to be a young teenager.’ The idea comes from the late 90’s where it was used for IRC, but the monster we know today only surfaced its head around 2007 on Twitter, the original intended purpose. Since they are everywhere these days, it’s important to know how to use them and how to extract the most value from them.
If you’re still a bit new to the big world of #tags, you might have a plethora of questions. What are they really? How do I use them? Which are the good ones? You can soon find yourself in a maze of desperation. Fear not, we’re here to lend a helping hand!
So how come they got to be so big?
Notwithstanding numerous jokes about the overuse of hashtags, there’s immense value to be had if used correctly. They make your content more easily discoverable, you can create your own branded tag, it’s great for promoting a specific product or service, it helps you find the exact thing you’re looking for. I could just go on the whole day. There are some plain, outright advantages though. We’ll run through a few.
1. You can get a sniff on your competition
If you’re out looking for what’s hot right now in your market, you need not look further than the currently trending hashtags. It’s important to know who and what your business is up against. It’s great for seeing what your competitors are offering and what you’re not, or what kind of things they’re posting that are getting traction.
2. It encourages your target market to engage with you
Posts with at least one hashtag, are virtually guaranteed higher engagement than ones without. Seems like pretty standard stuff right, but not all of us get that. It’s safe to say that followers engage with hashtags, hence the reason bags of companies opt for their own branded hashtag.
3. It’s great for branding
It is the most prized result that you can expect from a hashtag. Good branding and visibility. If you're new in the game, you can expand your market and increase the online visibility of your business. Users search for your brand and discover which other tags you’re using, or they’re searching for tags where you will have branded posts. Double whammy type of thing here, and fantastic news for you.
4. They make it easier to find your content
Hashtags are essentially the reason why any of your content is found on Instagram. Even with them, your post is still just 1 part of the roughly 100 million posts for the day. Tags are however ‘bad boys’ in making you stand out and discoverable! So you have a really great pic, a super funny caption and the better part of an hour spent. Not ideal to just throw it down the can now, right? Use a hashtag! They’re like keywords in SEO, but all just meant for Instagram.
5. It promotes localisation
Using geotags in your posts is fantastic for localised marketing. It also enables you to reach various levels of communities based on whether you’re geotagging a borough or a city for example, as Instagram could potentially pull it into location-based Stories in the explore feed.
There are endless applications for hashtags and the optimum strategy for using them. This depends on a basket of different factors, each business differing from the next. There is no blanket approach ‘that will make hashtags work for your business.’ Every business is unique, and so should the solutions be as well!
Be sure to have a look-out next week as we continue with part 2 of this 5 part series!