Can your business afford to be posting ineffective content?
There are 25 million active business profiles on Instagram. Your business is up against millions of other companies competing for their voice to be heard.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool for business, but only if done correctly. Did you know that Instagram posts with hashtags are 12.6% more effective? 12.6% more effective at delivering your company’s message.
While it’s true, Instagram has been famous for their always changing features and updates, hashtags are here to stay. After being invented by Chris Messina in 2007 they’ve had a tremendous impact worldwide.
Companies, institutions, movements, politicians all over the world are using hashtags. These small # signs are responsible for generating more followers and increasing brand awareness.
This article will break down how you can use Instagram hashtags to effectively market your company and brand. We’ll explain exactly what hashtags are and why you need to start using them today!
As a business, it’s important your content reaches it’s intended audience. Millions of photos are posted on Instagram every day. Recently the number climbed to somewhere around 95 million photos daily.
Instagram hashtags are designed to organize content. Now, customers can easily navigate and bypass millions of irrelevant posts. They will be directly connected to the posts with content related to the hashtag.
Hashtags help companies specifically categorize the content they are sharing. Doing so will allow more customers to find you. You’ll be able to reach target demographics you otherwise would miss.
A Hashtag itself looks like this #DogsRule. They are simply a phrase or specific word with a pound symbol inserted before the words.
Your company will end up using a lot of different hashtags.
As the number of hashtags adds up, your organizational method has to be able to track effectiveness. Also, sufficient organization of hashtags will allow you to easily include them with content.
It’s important to weed out hashtags that are ineffective. Always remove hashtags when they aren’t helping you achieve your marketing goals. Unhelpful hashtags are a waste of time and clutter up your post with useless information.
We recommend using an Excel sheet to keep track of things. An Excel sheet provides you with the hands-on opportunity to organize manually. You’ll be intimately familiar with the different hashtags and their uses.
An Excel sheet will also record the frequency a hashtag is used. Over time you will start to see what hashtags are the most effective. Popular posts are a great sign that your hashtag was helpful in creating an audience.
Where will you come up with all of these Hashtags?
The good news is some of the work has already been done for you. You can perform research on other accounts for hashtag ideas. Start off by making a list of all your followers.
Look at your followers and take not of their posts. What kind of hashtags are they using in a post? Chances are you’ll start to see hashtags that occur frequently in a variety of your followers Instagram posts.
You can also research your competition. What are other people in your industry using for hashtags? You and your competition both have the same target audience. Hashtags that are effective for them should correlate into success for you as well.
With a handful of hashtags ready to go you can begin testing. Testing hashtags mean determining how effective they could be at reaching your audience. One way to do this is through the search bar.
Type the hashtag you’re considering using into Instagrams search bar. Instagram will automatically pull up all of the associated posts. A high number of posts associated with a hashtag is a great indicator of popularity.
Before we discuss how to create an effective hashtag, let’s review ineffective ones. What exactly is an ineffective hashtag and how can it damage your company?
Ineffective hashtags are either untrue or irrelevant. Users follow hashtags on Instagram to customize the content they see. If your content isn’t relevant your followers can choose to unsee your hashtag.
Instagram makes it very easy for the users to instantly cut you out of the picture. The process is only a click away and they will no longer see your hashtag.
If enough people start to flag your hashtag your numbers will suffer. Your company will have fewer views and followers over time. Also, the practice of posting repetitive content goes directly against Instagram’s community policy.
An effective hashtag will help your content be discovered by a larger audience. More importantly, an effective hashtag will help your business reach a larger target audience.
A customer can post about your company online and include your customized hashtag. You’ll want to make an impression so you’re easily remembered.
One way to make a memorable hashtag is by keeping it conversational. Hashtags that can be inserted into a sentence are more likely to be used. Also, try to avoid hashtags that include commonly misspelled words.
Incorrectly spelled hashtags won’t connect the user to their desired content. A restaurant might have the #bestdessert but if a user looks for their #bestdesert they won’t find a single posting.
Another idea is to keep your hashtags short. Short, memorable hashtags that can fit easily into a conversation will be used more frequently. The more your hashtag is used, the more exposure your company receives.
Your hashtag should clearly reflect your company’s image while also being specific and unique. Creating your company’s hashtag will dramatically increase brand awareness.
Before you can associate your hashtag to your company, you have to spread the word. Include your hashtag in your bio, social media posts, business cards and more.
Your brands’ hashtag will be one you use forever. A brand hashtag should always be included in any type of social media post made by or about your company.
You’ll want to check if a hashtag exists already before you associate your brand name with it. You want to make sure only your posts are populated when the hashtag is entered, not the competitions.
Your company can greatly benefit from creating community hashtags. A community hashtag will only work after recognition of your brand hashtag has taken place.
A community hashtag is a way for your business and customers to engage. The company’s brand will be subtly promoted by the consumers themselves.
Let’s say for example there’s a breakfast food company who has a unique hashtag that reads #HoneyOatCereal.
Their community hashtag would be comprised of their brand hashtag and then would just add on the word Community or AtHome. So in this example, the community hashtag would read #HoneyOatCerealAtHome.
Consumers can then post photos of them enjoying their Honey Oats Cereal. When they do they’ll include #HoneyOatCerealAtHome. Now other customers can easily find photos of people enjoying their favorite cereal just like them!
User created content will be spread by different members of the community. Your company can select the best user-generated content to add to your feed.
User created content helps new and existing customers trust your brand. Your company’s image will become more authentic and trustworthy when real people are talking about it.
Content hashtags are not branded at all.
Content hashtags aren’t trending, branded or even especially popular. Still, when used the right way they are incredibly effective at marketing your company’s message.
Instead, content hashtags are ideal for improving the SEO of your post. SEO refers to the search engine optimization. A healthy SEO means more people will be directed to your content.
Content hashtags are similar to keywords in their ability to boost your visibility online. Consumers who are searching for the same hashtags will see your posts. There are four main types of content hashtags. They include:
A product hashtag can be used when you post photos of your company’s products. Every day people search online for products and services using common product hashtags.
You’ll have to put yourself into the mindset of the consumer. Think to yourself, “If I was my customer looking for my product, what hashtag would I search?” Usually, a simple product hashtag is all you need to find your audience.
A bakery could post photos of their cookies with a product hashtag that reads, #DeliciousCookies or #CookieLovers. Customers who are searching for delicious cookies will be one click away from finding you!
Instagram hashtags are just one stop in the gigantic world of social media. Social Motion is always happy to answer any of your questions. We know that we can help your business grow and we’d love to show you how.
We are experts at social media who are passionate about helping your business thrive. Stay ahead of your competition by dominating the social media market.