It’s #official! The humble hashtag has come #alongway from anonymity and into the limelight on #socialmedia today.

Too many hashtags in one sentence, don’t you think? And #alongway is definitely not right. Instagram hashtags categorize content and make it more discoverable. You need to know how to use them correctly. An inseparable part of marketing on this platform, their proper usage is key to a successful social media strategy. They can make or break marketing efforts and knowing how to use them is of paramount importance if you want your content to be discovered, and your brand to become a familiar and recognized name.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that you can adopt to increase your Instagram presence and achieve success on social media.

The Do’s

  1. Research

Before you randomly start adding hashtags that you think will serve you well, study what your competition is using. Also, research the popular and most relevant hashtags for your industry. Track trending hashtags with tools like Hashtracking, RebelMouse and Tagboard. You could also use the ones that the most influential people in your industry are using. It always helps to learn from the best!

  1. Mix them up

Mixing up generalized and specialized hashtags for your industry helps attract your niche audience as well as those beyond it, in the outer circle of interest. For example, if your brand is all about fashion, then you could use generalized hashtags like #fashion, #trends and #style and add some specialized ones like #littleblackdress, #fashiongoals or #personalstyle.

  1. Change them routinely

So you’ve found a few hashtags that work well for you. However, repeatedly using only those will limit your audience and engagement. So add some new ones to attract fresh eyeballs. There are plenty that work well. You can create some of your own too.

  1. Use Instagram search

On the ‘Tags’ tab on the app, search for keywords that you are considering using. Instagram will throw up all the hashtags with that keyword, with the number of posts that are using it. Remember, a large number indicates that many people are using the hashtag, and chances are, your post may get buried under all that content. So choose those that show average usage.

  1. How many to use

A TrackMaven study of Instagram accounts with 1,000 followers or fewer shows that posts with hashtags receive more engagement than those without. While Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, you don’t need to use that many. Let your content decide how many you want to use.

  1. Brand hashtag

This is a hashtag that’s unique to your business; something as simple as your company name, or your tagline or product name. It’s especially useful when you’re running a campaign, to help you drive participation and engagement.

  1. Keep it simple

Make your hashtags easy to remember by keeping them easy to spell, short and simple.

  1. Hide your hashtags

Hashtags clutter captions. So either include them in the post separated from your caption by dots or line breaks or include them in the comments section.

The Don’ts

1. Different brand

Don’t use hashtags with brand names that are not yours in an effort to redirect their traffic to your Instagram page. It is unprofessional, and seems a tad desperate.

2. Negatively trending hashtags

‘Any publicity is good publicity’ does not apply on Instagram. Using hashtags that are negatively trending will not put your brand in a good light, so avoid this.

At the end of the day, hashtags are mere tools to help spread your content. Don’t rely too much on them. Instead, let your content speak for itself. That should be the first and foremost priority. If your content is great, then hashtags are simply the icing on the cake!

At Them You & Me, we guide you through various social media and recommend the best way to present your brand on Instagram using relevant hashtags. If you’d like help increase your visibility on Instagram, do give us a shout out.

Digitally yours,

Marie