In the year 2010. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded Instagram which has been rising ever since then. Now we are all familiar with the popularity of this social network and probably know the importance of being there to represent our brand or even ourselves. We can assume you are all aware of the power of Instagram and have your or your company’s profile on this media since you’re reading this post. There are a lot of things you need to take into account if you want to be noticed. Of course, you need to have a strategy, and you can read more in one of our previous blog posts about this topic, but right now we will be dealing with hashtags.
Hashtags are an essential and powerful tool for Instagram. It derives from another social network, Twitter, and Instagram introduced them a little bit later. Now it is hard to find pictures without their description or comment containing at least a few hashtags. Why are hashtags important? Well, because that’s one of the ways people can be brought to your content. To make sure that those people are your target audience, you need to use hashtags wisely and carefully. We will try to give you some basic tips on how you can rule the Instagram and bring the right people to your Instagram profile using suitable hashtags.
First of all, before we even start talking about hashtags, you have to be careful to set up your profile public. If it is private, the whole concept with hashtags doesn’t have any sense because your content wouldn’t show up in any search result. Now that we cleared that up, you need to know what is possible and what’s not to write in the form of hashtags. For example, you can write numbers, but signs such as signs for money ($ or €) won’t work, as in, won’t pop up in the search result. You can write up to 30 hashtags, which, of course, doesn’t mean you have to. However, there are also some banned hashtags, which you need to be careful not to use. Most of them are understandable because they contain inappropriate words, but be cautious for those which are not so logical, for example, #popular or #like. The best way is that you try to search for some hashtags you want to use. If you can’t find anything, it means the hashtag is banned or not existing. Also, it’s great because, if you stumble upon many dull pictures it’s better you skip that hashtag.
The more specific the better
If you are a company that, let’s say, sells furniture, you will most certainly not use the hashtag like #food. That’s pretty obvious. Still, there are some people who are writing absolutely everything that comes to their mind just to pop out in every search result. That’s definitely the wrong approach because you want to attract people who are searching for something that you can actually provide them with. Of course, if you are selling furniture, you can provide people with beds, wardrobes, mirrors, etc. However, just because you can offer them that, it still doesn’t mean you need to put it all in your hashtags. Why? Because you need to attract people who are searching for something at the very moment. That means they are likely to buy something because they need it right now. If on the picture you have a sofa and under it, you write all the products that you have, people who are searching for beds and see the sofa instead won’t be pleased. We understand that you want them to know you have all of that, but it won’t get you anywhere because they won’t proceed to the next step. Instead, you should try to be specific as much as you can. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. What kind of sofa do you want? By adding some adjectives, you can narrow down the search and get precisely the target audience which will most certainly be interested in your product. For example, the sofa is yellow, so you add #yellowsofa. There are not many people searching for it, but whoever is, they will stumble upon your photo and will be the right audience. So, hashtags need to be meaningful and a good representation of what’s actually in the picture.
Come up with your brand’s hashtag
Many companies write their name as a hashtag, which is fine if your company has a short and catchy name. If not, it is better to shorten it somehow or to use your company’s motto or saying. Here at Kontra, we like to combine it, so we are using #kontraagency and #turningthingsaround. You need to be consistent for it to spread and become recognizable.
Check your options
You can investigate a little bit before deciding which hashtags you want to use. One of the ways to examine can be by searching different hashtags yourself. For example, if you’re going to put #business when describing your picture, you can first search this hashtag and observe what people wrote besides that. It can be #success, maybe #work and so on. That way you can understand your target audiences’ interests better. You don’t need to concentrate only on the customers; you can expand your search on your competition as well. See if they are already using the same hashtags as you want to use. If they are more successful, it can happen that you will end up being in their shadow. That’s why you need to come up with other variations of the same thing.
Smart, not popular
If you search the web for hashtags, I’m sure you’re going to stumble upon different sites which gives you all hashtag ideas sorted even by topic. These sites have the possibility of copying these hashtags so that you don’t have to think much. Don’t do that! These hashtags are typical, broad and won’t get you anywhere. If you’re just copy-pasting popular hashtags maybe you will get many likes on this particular post, but it won’t be from the right people, and it won’t get you followers for good. It’s better that you try to think of something innovative, catchy, something that can define your brand, not something irrelevant.
Combine and test
You can try with different hashtags, test them and see which ones give you the best results. Also, you can put hashtags both in your caption or in the first comment. Basically, these two ways have the same function, but sometimes it looks crowded with many hashtags in the caption, so it is better to put it in the comment. You can experiment even with this by using just a few crucial hashtags that you want to be visible in the caption and then add the rest of it in the first comment. You have to always follow the trends in your industry so that you can use them in your hashtags.
All in all, these are some basic stuff you need to follow if you want your Instagram profile to be professional. However, everything else is up to you. So, combine, test and, of course, have fun!