An Instagram hashtag strategy for your business will help you increase the visibility of your account. This leads to more followers and a higher engagement rate. With a little effort upfront, you’re able to maximize the hard work that you’re doing creating the content. More people will see your posts and that often means more leads for your business. Here’s how to create one for your business.
Why Use Hashtags?
Hashtags serve three main purposes. First, Instagram users may choose to follow certain hashtags, which means they want to see posts with those hashtags in their main feed. You’re able to reach these users without them following you since they’ve requested to see posts on that topic.
Second, your business will display in Instagram’s search results for those relevant terms. Let’s say someone is looking for “saving tips” so they can stay motivated to not spend their money. When they search for that phrase, the hashtag “#savingstips” comes up and the user may choose to follow that hashtag.
Last but not certainly not least, Instagram uses hashtags as a way to categorize your content so they can display it on the “Explore” tab to the users who are most likely to enjoy it.
Related Reading: Promoting Content on Facebook Using Hashtags
Caption or Comment
A frequently asked question is whether or not the hashtags should appear in the caption of the post or the first comment. If you are using a scheduling tool like Buffer, you can add your hashtags to the first comment and there’s no delay between when the post is published and when the captions appear. On the other hand, if you are doing it manually, then I would recommend keeping the hashtags at the bottom of the caption. The first few seconds that your post is published matter a lot. The engagement that it receives is an indication to the Instagram algorithm that your post is worth showing more people. That means, to maximize your use of hashtags you need to have them immediately available on the post.
The Instagram Hashtag Strategy
This is my strategy when it comes to Instagram hashtags. It takes 1-2 hours to do, however, it avoids a lot of unnecessary stress later.
It’s important to note that a huge part of success on Instagram is engaging with other accounts. Publishing high-quality content is great, but you need to be interacting with other people to truly reap the benefits of the social media platform. The hashtags that you choose for your content do not necessarily fall into the same category as the hashtags that you want to engage with. In this section, we’re talking specifically about how to come up with hashtags for your published content.
Step #1: Identify Your Content Themes
Your content themes are the topics that your account will post about frequently. For example, a landscape company might choose: before and after photos of their work, landscaping tips, and inspirational photos of finished designs. Open a spreadsheet and type these themes into separate cells of column A.
Step #2: Find Influencers/Competitors in Your Niche
These are the accounts that have a high following and good engagement on their posts. (Hint: that account with 16k followers and 10 likes on their post from yesterday isn’t it.) Take a few examples from three of your favorite accounts and copy their hashtags into another tab on your spreadsheet. Do you see any additional themes that you want to add to your list? Enter any relevant hashtags next to the appropriate theme in column B on your spreadsheet.
Step #3: Search for Related Hashtags
Take the hashtags you found in step 2 and enter them into a tool like all-hashtag.com or the Hashtag Expert app. These tools will help you discover many more relevant hashtags that fit the theme. Add the new ones to column b of your spreadsheet.
Step #4: Create Groups of 10-12 Hashtags per Theme
If you go over 12 hashtags listed in column B, create another group in column C for that same theme. You’ll be able to mix it up when you post content. You can experiment with trying both hashtag groups at the same time or one versus the other and evaluate the success of each.
Step #5: Use These Hashtag Groups in Your Posts
When you are creating content for Instagram, you now have a spreadsheet that contains all the relevant hashtags that pertain to the topic that you are posting about. There’s no more hunting or guesswork. To help your post reach an even wider audience, add 2-3 hashtags that are specifically related to that post. For example, the landscaper could add #gardeninspiration to a photo. The most important thing to remember is to make sure all the hashtags are relevant to your post. Otherwise, it could be flagged as spam.
Related Reading: Best Hashtags to Use for Each Day of the Week
As always, you’ll want to evaluate the success of these hashtags by taking a look at your Insights at least once per quarter. What are the top hashtags that are driving traffic to your profile? Is there a common topic that interests people? Expand on those hashtags or publish more content on those hot topics. It’s all about learning, improving, and then repeating the process.
Next week, I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live about How to Leverage Trending Topics to reach more people but you must be a member of our Facebook group in order to attend. Click here to join and add this event to your calendar.
Adding hashtags to your posts on Instagram is a way to increase visibility for your account. It optimizes your posts for search results, helps users engage with your posts, and categorizes your content for the Explore tab. Instead of panicking when it’s time to post, try this approach to hashtags and copy/paste them in the caption to maximize your chances of being seen.
We talked about this topic in our Facebook group and we’d love for you to join us at The Credible Brand: Online Marketing for Service-Based Businesses. If you have any questions, post them in the group and I’ll personally respond.
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