Less than a decade ago, the pound sign meant nothing unless you were on a telephone and and hitting it to navigate a voice prompt for customer service. Now it means everything, with online marketing that is, and you need to start taking advantage of my FREE 20 page Instagram Strategies to get your hashtag game working for your posts. Want to reach a larger more targeted audience to help you grow followers? Want to creatively brand your account? #Hashtags are the answer.
Hashtags started out mainly on Twitter, but since then they’ve branched out being supported by other social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and sometimes used as a joke in a text message. But the most important platform, because of it’s rapid growth and very high user engagements is Instagram. Your hashtags can get you more followers, recognition, and build a community when used correctly. You should be sharpening your hashtag game in order to maximize the ability for your content to be seen by new followers, especially now that Instagram will be updating how the content in your feed is delivered.
Download this cheat sheet to get the most out of your hashtags.
1. Get Trendy
Try using Instagram’s search feature and research what hashtags are currently trending. If any are relatable to your product, use them! Try to stay away from tags like #tagsforlikes or #follow, because people will see right through your games – you won’t gain organic, active followers that way. Consider keeping a base of core hashtags that you rotate through commonly for your posts.
2. Don’t be trigger happy
We get it. There’s a big beautiful world of hashtags out there that you want to use. But when you spray your photo with a barrage of them, it will look like you couldn’t decide – and, worst of all, like you’re spamming. Instagram will let you post up to thirty hashtags. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Even though the interactions occurred on Facebook, the graph below gives you a little more insight into why. Use no more than 1-2 relevant hashtags in your caption.
It’s not always completely taboo to overuse hashtags. If you must, post them in the comments section below your photo. Why? It keeps the look of your post looking neat and tidy, which everyone wants. And don’t fear – posting hashtags in the comments makes them just as searchable as when you post them in the actual photo description. If you’ve got the need to hashtag in the double digits, keep it to your comment section.
3. Which hashtags do your competition use?
Take a look around and find similar pictures and hashtags to your own. Not only can you scope out your competition, but you can borrow hashtags that you might not have thought of yet by your lonesome. The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal – do so with hashtags. Use others as a frame of reference and a benchmark for your own work, which you can then surpass.
You can even pay particular attention to the time of day that people post their hashtags in order to track which types of hashtags perform best at certain times. Keep an eye out on others, because they’ve probably go their eye out on you, too.
4. Be unique – but not too unique
If your brand is the type that calls for it, introduce your own hashtag – which is about as unique as it gets. Including this in every post will help give your photos your own spin and create marketing opportunities for your brand. Along with your own hashtag, research hashtags out there that apply to your brand. Try to select ones that aren’t used millions of times – instead, focus in on one or two that have a fair amount of shares, but not so many that they get lost in a sea of tic-tac-toes.
5. Get by with a little help from your tools
Instagram will automatically let you know the amount of times a hashtag’s been used when you start to type #hashta.. so you can see the relevant hashtags that match your characters as you type – this built in function is an important reading to take note of. By observing the numbered list of how many hashtags there are for a given word, you can find other hashtags that don’t have millions of posts so you can ensure that your posts get seen by people searching a more targeted hashtag. It’s better to use #redballon than using #red #balloon because of the millions of photos/videos that have used #red & #balloon.
6. All you need is #love
Research is the key component to any hashtag strategy that you’re going to implement. As mentioned earlier, stay up-to-date on the trending hashtags of the day. Go ahead and sneak one or two of these into your regularly used hashtags – you want to stay relevant. Also keep in mind the more hashtags there are for any hashtag you want to use the less likely you’re post will be seen. Be selective and be descriptive and be strategic with your hashtags. Hashtags with less than 250,000 total hashtags are more likely to yield results than using a hashtag with millions!
Putting in some time to discover local hashtags will also give your posts some oomph – getting specific with location will organically draw local users to your photos. As well as specific locations, specific days of the year may have hashtags that apply to your brand. Events may pop up from time to time with hashtags that your brand can piggyback off of as well.
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I even predicted the major June 1, 2016 Instagram Update that shut down all the automation apps that were auto-liking and auto-following (spam tools) that even some people were teaching and charging people to use to help build their followers. Little did these people know they were getting scammed into buying Instagram strategies from others who barely have 5% of the 17 Million Followers I do among 30+ Instagram accounts and continue to dominate the Instagram game even after all all these major Instagram updates, not to mention strategies that are now useless after June 1, 2016. If you every hear someone talking about how they used “CrowdFire” or “LikestaGram” to grow their account, you can openly laugh at them and tell them Wolf Millionaire feels sorry for their losses.
So, Instagrammers, it’s #time to go out there and hashtag to your heart’s content. Let me know how it goes.