Instagram is heavily image-focused, making the captions a vital component for SEO indexing and community development. Instagram has embedded a special feature, hashtags, to make it easy for content producers and viewers to sort out the material and build forums centered around specific topics. These hashtags, in reality SEO optimized keywords, can influence how people view your image and potentially lead to a rapid growth in brand recognition and market penetration. Here are some things you need to know when integrating hashtags with your image posts:
What Types Of Hashtags Are There?
There are two main “types” of hashtags you will encounter on Instagram, especially with business-focused posts:
These are general hashtags that reflect what your target demographic is most interested in seeing. They are usually used in drawing in the general public and can help boost your Instagram profile, as long as you use them in conjunction with branded hashtags.
These are hashtags specific to your company and make up nearly 70% of those posted on the platform. They are popular since they are tied directly to your brand and can be both easily used in user-generated content and in your social media monitoring tools. Here is an example of a branded hashtag used by Free People Clothing Boutique from Later:
How To Discover The Best Instagram Hashtags
Strategy is key for developing an effective hashtag policy for your Instagram profile. Don’t just toss what seems right at the end of your captions, take the time to figure out what works. Here are some things you should keep in mind:
Search For Similar Tags
Take the time to see how well similar hashtags perform. Not only will this clue you in on what does and doesn’t work for your industry, it will also provide you with a wealth of potential topics to discuss. Consider the topics your industry covers to get started, for instance, teachers will be interested in school supplies and lesson plans. Just make certain that the list you create is SEO optimized for maximum impact.
Follow Your Competition
If you know your competition you can outmaneuver them. See what they are doing and strive to understand both their strengths and weaknesses. Use this information to develop a media campaign that will leech their viewers and increase your potential sales pool.
Cheat With A Tool
Use a hashtag discovery tool to quickly weed out bad candidates and settle on the best possible phrases to use in your post. While there are many possible tools available, we highly recommend the following:
This tool is among the most well-known thanks to its ease of use and discovery mechanism. Within minutes you will have all the information you need.
It identifies the subject of your video or photo to help you find the perfect Instagram specific hashtag. Stop the guesswork with this tool today!
How Many Hashtags Are Enough?
While Instagram supports up to 30 hashtags per post, it is often unwise to use all of them. Instead, limit yourself to what your competition is using and what feels like common sense. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes – at what point would you be turned off by the number of hashtags? Too many and the post will feel like spam, too few and you will not reach the largest number of people possible.
This is a process that takes time to master. Monitor your posts to see what works and change your policies accordingly.
Some Instagram Hashtag Tips
There is a world of difference between knowing why you should use hashtags and knowing how to use them. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect hashtag for your Instagram post:
Match The Photo With The Tag
An image is worth a thousand words, making the hashtags that describe it vital for success. Research what images and caption hashtags your competition is using and do the same about half the time. The other half go in the opposite direction in order to stand out. This will guarantee that someone notices your efforts!
Jump On The Trending Topic Bandwagon
Grow your audience whenever something interesting happens in your industry by using a relevant hashtag. There are two ways to do this: “Pick and Sit” and “Semi-Related Hashtags.”
Pick and Sit
Pick a relevant hashtag and hold off on using it until something happens. The results will be great, though it may be some time before you can put it into action.
By using current events you can tie what is going on in the community with your company. Just make certain that the rest of the content backs it up or else you risk the entire thing degrading your brand recognition.
Spice Things Up
Your hashtags should reflect the content of the post. If you are using the same tags over and over again, it will lead to end-user exhaustion and lack of interest. Select other phrases and develop content that bests reflects them in order to keep a lively spark of interest in your brand going.
Be A Big Fish In A Small Pond
Do not rely exclusively on hashtags with the most posts. Instead, use phrases that best reflect the material you are creating. Even if it doesn’t lead to as many viewers, those that do visit will be vastly more interested in what you have to say and more likely to share it with others.
How To Stand Out In The Crowd And Join The Top Posts Section
There are nine “top post” positions at the top of the Instagram home page. Getting your content here is a surefire way to boost your brand recognition. Here are some basic tips on how you can develop the social presence needed to get noticed and highlighted:
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
While the exact equation Instagram uses to determine popularity is an industry secret, the necessity to build a thriving dialogue with viewers is not. Use hashtags to start a conversation and ensure the material is fresh enough to hit every conceivable metric the platform may have for inclusion in the coveted top spot.
Don’t Swing For The Fences At First
After narrowing down your target demographic, leverage hashtags that best fit their needs. You will often find that medium tier tags will garner much more attention than high ranking ones due to their more specific purposes. Just remember to mix things up for the best possible impact!
You will not break any records starting out. Success, instead, comes with perseverance. Post 3-5 times a week in order to entice people to follow your feed. Over time this will lead to a healthy community following every post you create.