If you use it the right way, Instagram can serve as a marketing avenue that is highly targeted. Research has demonstrated that Instagram has a significantly higher rate of engagement than other social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This photo- and video-sharing platform is therefore among the best channels on which to market your brand.
As is the case with the other popular social media sites, there is a right and wrong way to use Instagram. And there are also clever ways you can use it to your advantage. Here, we look at one of the most effective ways of reaching a vast audience and ensuring high engagement: hashtags.
Using hashtags wisely
Among the top goals on Instagram for your brand is to grow the size of your audience and to increase the engagement level of your current audience. A good hashtag strategy is imperative to achieving the first goal, whereas consistently posting content that is fresh, captivating and engaging will help you with the second goal. Hashtags make your posts easily searchable.
That raises the question of which hashtags to use. As is the case with Facebook and Twitter, different users prefer to use different hashtags. Therefore, the more relevant and popular hashtags you have in your posts, the wider the audience you reach and the more likely you are to be discovered by users on the site.
It is worth emphasizing that you need to use the appropriate hashtags. Keep in mind that even though thoughtlessly jumping on board any currently popular hashtags may register a slight uptick in your likes and engagement levels, in the long term, that strategy will not help you gain real Instagram likes and followers and drive sales, which is what you’re primarily after.
Appropriately tagging your content requires you to research on the most relevant hashtags to use. This means that you need to take time to identify hashtags that are popular on Instagram and at the same time most relevant to your content and your brand. Online tools such as Websta and IconoSquare are useful in this respect.
It’s a good idea to give different hashtags a try and add to your list of hashtags as you go. Remember, you’re only allowed a maximum of 30 hashtags in every post and that attention on Instagram is constantly shifting from one hashtag to another. So you will need to re-check your hashtag list periodically to ensure that it is up to date.
One clever trick you can use is researching and identifying the most popular hashtags for a given category of products. Thereafter, select about 15 popular hashtags for each of your product categories, and about 5 popular hashtags that are generally relevant to your brand overall. Then, add about 5 location-specific hashtags to this list.
You may also have a number of past posts that may have failed to take advantage of relevant and popular hashtags to reach a wider audience. You can simply go back and add a relevant hashtag list in the comment section.