If you’re an avid social media user, you’ve probably heard about “hashtags” at some point. But, what exactly are hashtags? Good question! Once you fully understand the purpose of hashtags and how to use them, you’ll be shocked to see how much they can improve your visibility and reach on social media.
What are Hashtags?
In a literal sense, “hashtag” is just another word for the pound sign (#). In a social media sense, hashtags are a word or phrase preceded by the pound sign used to organize, promote, or follow a certain subject. They’re very popular on Instagram and Twitter, but aren’t typically used on Facebook. In the early days of social media, most people used hashtags for commentary. They might write #LookAtMyCuteDog or #GoingToBrunch. In recent years, however, hashtags have evolved into a tool to increase a person’s or business’s reach and visibility on social media. When you use a hashtag, it turns into a link that you can click to see what other people are saying about similar things. On Instagram, you can even follow a certain hashtag, just as you would follow an account! Using hashtags is extremely useful for easy searching, gaining visibility, and organizing your posts.
*Note that hashtags will only work for increasing your visibility if your account is public, so make sure you do not have a private account before you start using them!
Searching hashtags on Instagram is simple. Go to your explore tab, and when you click to type into the search bar, press “Tags” to search hashtags.
If you’d like to find summer dresses, for example, you could type in “#SummerDresses”. A page will then come up, showing you all the posts tagged with #SummerDresses ! You can choose to view the top posts or the most recent posts with this hashtag, just toggle between the “Top” and “Recent” tabs above the posts.
You can also follow a hashtag from here - just press the “Follow” button, and. you’ll see a few of the top posts that use this hashtag in your feed each week!
Using Hashtags in Your Posts
Most businesses use hashtags as an “index” of sorts, where they can organize posts for easy browsing. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, and the more you use, the better your visibility! Think of it like using keywords in a product description. If it relates to your post even slightly, you can use it as a hashtag!
Use Hashtags Professionally for your business. Try not to use them as commentary. #ilovemydog #thisoneismyfavorite are commentary hashtags. They do nothing but add comments to your post. If you want to expand your audience avoid using commentary hashtags.
There are a few key tips for using hashtags in your posts. First, make sure you keep your hashtags pretty general. If your post is of a yellow and blue summer dress, for example, try tagging “#Sundress” or “#SummerDress” rather than something like “#YellowAndBlueSummerDress”. Hashtags that are too specific won’t get as much attention as more general hashtags, because people are more likely to search for things like a “floral blouse” than a “yellow, blue, and green blouse”!
Don’t put any spaces in between the words in your hashtag. If you type “#Summer Dress” rather than #SummerDress, it will be tagged as just “summer”, since there’s nothing to indicate the “dress” part should be included in the hashtag! If you’re using multiple hashtags in one post, however, make sure there’s a space between each separate hashtag. For example, if you wanted to tag a post as both a “summer dress” and a “floral dress”, you would write “#SummerDress #FloralDress”, not “#SummerDress#FloralDress”.
Understanding Instagram Insights
You can see the impact of your hashtags via your Instagram insights. Instagram insights are available when your account is set up as a professional/business profile. To do this, click the menu button on the top right corner of your profile, then go to “Settings”.
Once you’re there, go to “Account”, scroll to the bottom, and press “Switch to Professional Account”.
Once you’ve set up a business profile, your new posts will have a button that says “View Insights”. Press this, then swipe up to view more insights. Here, you can find statistics for your post!
You’ll see how many people your post has reached, how many people visited your profile after seeing your post, and more.
If you scroll down, you’ll see your “Discovery” insights. This shows you what percentage of people who saw the post weren’t following you, as well as how they found the post. You’ll notice your “Reach” and your “Impressions”. Reach shows the number of different accounts that saw your post, while impressions note how many times your post appeared in someone’s feed/search. For this post, in particular, 317 of the 413 impressions I got were from the hashtags I used alone!
Once you fully understand how to properly use hashtags, you’ll be amazed at how much they can help your numbers! Using hashtags allows you to increase the size of your audience, organize and categorize your posts, and gain more visibility and followers on social media.
For more tips and tricks or one-on-one social media training sessions book a free 30 minute consultation with Promote Creatively HERE.