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It’s been 10 years since #hashtags have become commonplace and billions of #’s later, tags are a social media staple and second nature. From #foodporn to #motivation and feeling #blessed, hashtags extend beyond the screen into every marketing campaign. Businesses and marketers understand a hashtag strategy forms a vital part of branding and campaign. 

With all the recent and exciting changes landing on Instagram which we wrote about >here<, hashtags form an important part of marketing strategy more than ever. And it’s easy to see why: hashtags categorize content and allows users to search and discover by classification or type. Using the right hashtags is just as important to your brand as it is to the end-user experience. When used properly, they’re a wonderful marketing tool.

What Are Hashtags

Hashtags are defined as “a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, to identify messages on a specific topic.”

Hashtags can be used as part of a search to find posts and content. When users click on a hashtag, they’ll be brought to a page assembling all the posts with the same hashtags, in real-time.

When a keyword picks up enough momentum, it becomes known as “trending.” But trending isn’t always the most popular hashtag as each trending topic is unique, based on location, social connections, and interests.

Why Hashtag

Hashtags are effective tools in social media. They’re ideal for engagement, branding, and boosting reach, and when cleverly used, offer the chance to be quirky and show personality. Instagram has announced you can Follow Hashtags to “stay connected with the interests, hobbies, passions and communities you care about”.

Essential Hashtag Strategy

The basic element for your hashtag strategy is to keep your hashtags specific to your audience. Use hashtags effectively and strategically, targeting your audience so they’ll remain engaged while elevating your brand through the quality of your content and hashtag usage.

Essential Hashtag Tools

A bit of research never goes astray. Hashtag tools come in handy to help with boosting engagement while optimising content for the most relevant audience. These tools are useful in finding the top hashtags or establishing a new branded hashtag

Branded Hashtags

Create a branded hashtag as part of brand recognition for your and your customers’ posts when sharing your content. This makes your business distinctive while allowing customers to find and follow your profile. Keep it simple, short, and on-brand, such as #YourBusinessName or something unique and memorable specific to your business – like McDonald’s #imlovingit

Campaign Hashtags

Campaign hashtags are great in campaigns and for gathering user-generated content in promotions, competitions, and call-to-actions. Keep it short and simple – and with all the hashtags out there, keep it unique and fun.

Memorable campaigns include the ALS Association’s #icebucketchallenge and  #likeagirl

Community Hashtags

Community hashtags use industry terms to connect collective users around specific topics from #fitspo to #handmade, and is perfect for targeting niche groups.

Memorable campaigns include the ALS Association’s #icebucketchallenge and  #likeagirl

Trending Hashtags

Trending tags are time-sensitive, reflecting current events that capitalize on exposure, from the #CommonwealthGames to #gameofthrones, #TBT, or #bestfriendsday.

How To Hashtag On Instagram

Instagram Posts with hashtags receive 15% more social value or likes, shares, and comments than those without them. The use of hashtags is as much a reflection of your credibility as is anything else in business so follow these hashtag rules for happy hashtagging:

  • Keep hashtags relevant to the post
  • Switch up your hashtags with each post
  • Use between 10- 30 hashtags in the comment rather than the post
  • Use niche hashtags effectively and popular hashtags sparingly
  • Use hashtags to drive purchases for users to click through and buy products with limited-time sales and offers
  • Create a custom tag: research it, promote it, engage it
  • Use hashtags to join in on conversations
  • Look through daily trends to jump onto conversations in real-time

Hashtag Dont’s

As with any marketing game plan, a hashtag strategy needs a high-level plan of action with a long-term aim – randomly scattering hashtags on our posts can’t be considered a strategy. As with any marketing plan, keep your message simple and handle hashtags with care:

  • #do #not #spam #with #hashtags – Instagram have now introduced Don’t Show For This Hashtag to users when the content is not interesting or irrelevant
  • Avoid gimmicky hashtags
  • Don’t excessively overuse hashtags
  • Tread lightly with politically charged hashtags
  • Don’t take advantage of sensitive situations for sales opportunities
  • Beware of Shadow Banning – which Plann tackles in their blog >here<

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Dahna Borg

Author Dahna Borg

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