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How to Use Hashtags More Effectively

Social Media: The one place where it’s good to be followed. If you are using Instagram, then you’ll know that driving up organic followers can be tricky. However, the key to being successful is understanding how hashtags work and how to use them. In this article, we’re going to be going through everything you need to know to get your #Instagame on point!

Overview

In the world of Instagram, if content is king, hashtags are queen. Having just one hashtag in your post averages a 12.6% higher engagement that if you don’t you any. But what makes hashtags so powerful?

Hashtags work by categorising your images in Instagram’s massive catalogue so that when people search for relevant content, your images show up. However, while this may sound quite simple, and in theory, it is, it can still get a bit complicated.

The problem with hashtags is that it can be really tempting to overuse them and over-generalise. For example, if you use #marketing, you will get people from a broad spectrum. However, the first rule of marketing is always to target your specific niche as accurately as possible. Therefore, if you are trying to get a good affiliate marketing following, then #affiliatemarketing would be better.

One of the things to watch out for when targeting your hashtags on Instagram is to check how many people have used a hashtag. This is a bit of a balancing act as, while you want to target your audience with precision, you also have to ensure that you are using the hashtags which your audience are looking for. The easiest way to do this is to find influencers in your niche and see which hashtags they are using. Remember though, if you are going to use their hashtags, make sure that they are relevant to your post.

One of the most exciting things about hashtags is just how diverse they can be, which can be fun for some and a chore for others. If you don’t #loveyourhastag, then it’s probably best to find someone who does. However, if you’re #stillnotsure, then here is a quick guide to how you can use your hashtags more effectively.

Find your #Number

The number of hashtags you use matters, and it would seem logical that the more categories you put yourself into, the more reach you will have. However, 91% of major brands use 7 hashtags or fewer our of a max limit of 30 in their posts. Therefore, you should do the same. Right? Nope, not necessarily.

The only way to know how many hashtags work best for you is to try it out. This can take a long time, and the data can be a bit misleading because, as you gain more followers, you will usually have more likes. Likes can also come from having good content which catches people’s attention. However, what you ought to remember, is that content which has caught people’s attention has been able to do so because it was made visible to the right people. Therefore, judge the number of your hashtags based on your best performing posts and average it out against your worst. Do this with a minimum of 30 posts to give you a fairly good idea of the number you should be aiming at.

Instagram’s search menu allows you to view hashtags related to your search. Therefore, if you have a hashtag you think works well or even one which doesn’t, type it in and see what comes up. Instagram will usually show you things which are both relatable and trending so that you can see what other people are using.

Create Your Own Hashtag

Creating your own hashtag isn’t only a great way to build brand awareness, it can also serve as a handy tool. If you want to track audience engagement, then creating your own hashtag will enable you to follow it too. Any time anyone posts and uses it, you’ll be able to see it. Don’t expect people to use it straight away though. It will take time, and you will have to create content that people want to share.

Be Specific

It can be really tempting to target the widest audience possible but, it rarely ever pays off. One way to get over this is to test precision targeting against broad targeting and see which pays off. Once you see the results in action, you’ll be far less likely to fall into the trap of using popular hashtags.

Think about precision tagging like this: If you post a picture of a dog and use #dogs, then you are categorising your post among millions of others. If you post a picture of a black labrador puppy and then use #blacklabradorpuppies, then you will be giving people exactly what they were looking for. If that hashtag is too specific and very few people have used it, then use #labradorpuppies. Remember, ‘go niche or go home.’

Once you have mastered these #tricks, then you will be able to build a far more targeted audience who will be far more likely to engage with you and turn you into an influencer.

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