Hashtag Like a Pro
Whether you’re posting on Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin, understanding the social language of hashtags is essential. Not only can hashtags help enhance the searchability of your posts, but they’ll go a long way in getting your business in front of new audiences, extending the impact of your marketing efforts. Not to mention, letting the hashtag do the talking in your caption can be a fun way to play with current trends and have fun with your fans. (Think #ThrowbackThursday)
Here are ten tricks to help you maximize your hashtag engagement.
Tip 1. Do your research.
See what others are doing in your industry, pay attention to hashtags your audience is already using, keep an eye on your top followers, and use the Tags tab of Instagram’s Explore section to search for tags that matter most to your brand.
Pro Tip: Tools like Tailwind can test the success of your hashtags. See what is considered niche, good, best, and competitive so you can direct your posts to the right audience.
Tip 2. Include the right number of hashtags.
It varies by channel, but for Instagram, we suggest aiming for 10 tags. (On Facebook, 1-2 is standard, and Linkedin go for just one.) Technically, you can include up to 30 on a regular Instagram post and up to 10 on a Story, but if you exceed the maximum, your caption won’t post.
Tip 3. Get rid of spaces and special characters.
You can use numbers and letters in your tags, but don’t get too excited with punctuation or else you risk your hashtag getting cut off.
Tip 4. Group hashtags at the end of your caption.
Since Instagram hides captions after three lines, you can add a few return-period-returns before adding your tags to keep them out of sight and out of the way. You can also save your tags for the first comment of your post. This ensures your posts are easy to read and accessible to anyone using text-to-speech readers.
Tip 5. Use location hashtags.
Even if you geo-tag your Instagram posts, it’s still a good idea to include a hashtag that refers to your location. At Circa, we use different ones for each of our studio, like #DiscoverKzoo, #NashvilleLocalLove, or #GreenvilleSC, to reach our regional fanbase. Take a hint from Tip 1 and look at your competitors to see what they’re using.
Tip 6. Use daily hashtags.
There are a lot of popular daily trends (like #ThrowbackThursday, #PhotoOfTheDay, and #WorkplaceWednesday) that are an easy, recurring way to stay relevant. Integrate them into your captions to help provide context for your audience.
It’s important to note that because these are trendy hashtags, engagement can be competitive, so make sure you are using a variety of hashtags that are more niche and relevant to your content.
Tip 8. Create a branded hashtag of your own.
You can then let your audience know about your hashtag by including it in your Instagram bio and highlighting it in your captions and Instagram Stories. Don’t forget to use your own hashtag in your posts.
Pro Tip: When you launch a branded hashtag, you’ll be tempted to pre-populate your tag with some post content to get the ball rolling. But proceed with caution. Don’t post back-to-back-to-back-to-back or else you might find your own hashtag banned. (True story, scroll down to Tip 9 and 10 to learn why.)
Tip 9. Change up your hashtags.
Switch up your hashtags in your posts to avoid getting marked as spam. (Yes, even your own branded hashtag!) Try using a rotation of general industry hashtags and add some that are niche and relevant to the specific subject matter of your content.
Pro Tip: Use a social media management app (We use Loomly) or even the free notes app in your phone to save different hashtag groups to make posting easier and less time consuming.
Tip 10. Don’t use banned hashtags.
Due to Instagram getting flooded with fake accounts and spam bots on the daily, one of their solutions to reducing bad activity is to ban certain hashtags that may have a record in housing spammy content. If you use a banned hashtag, Instagram will take notice and sabotage your rankings in the other hashtags used in your post. Check out the banned list here.
In conclusion …
The ins and outs of social media may have changed over the years, but hashtags never fade. Use these tips as an integral part of your marketing plan to help keep your brand moving forward, connect with your community, and reach new audiences. #TTYL
Interested in upping your social media engagement? Need a content calendar to keep your feed glowing?
Submit a project inquiry with our marketing team to chat about your goals and learn more about our marketing services.