Is Instagram Marketing Right for Your Business? SEO & Social Media Maven Stephanie Nelson | SBN Marketing

post by Stephanie Nelson

Instagram remains one of the fastest growing social media outlets around. Something we’ve seen time and time again is that if one wants to harness its power, one needs to know how to use hashtags on Instagram. Here are a few tips.

First, take a minute to understand how hashtags work. When a user clicks on a hashtag in a post or does a search for a hashtag, all of the posts that include that hashtag are returned for the user to see. This allows your posts to be seen by Instagram users that don’t necessarily follow your account. This exposure can lead to more followers, which is great, particularly if they engage with your content.

Second, take a minute to understand how Instagram’s algorithm works when it comes to hashtags. The algorithm doesn’t like it when you use the same hashtags over and over in every post. So take the time to build yourself a little repository and mix it up. The algorithm also doesn’t like it when you include popular hashtags that are irrelevant to your post; this is seen as trying to game the system by using the reach of the popular hashtag and will likely backfire on you in the end.

Now it’s time to choose your hashtags. Target the audience you want to see your posts. Do research into what hashtags they’re using, and use specific/niche hashtags for targeted audience reach. Check out your competitors and industry influencers to see which hashtags they use. Also use the Explore (search) function. Type your idea(s) there, then tap “Tags” to get ideas straight from the source. Be creative in what you search, too. Are there funny misspellings (foto instead of photo) or does adding the year or an emoji help? As you’re choosing from the results, aim for “middle of the road” traffic. Hashtags with too many related posts means your post likely gets lost. Posts that have too few related posts means nobody’s looking at/for that hashtag.

When it’s time to write your posts, choose your hashtag strategy carefully. Again, you’ll want the ones you choose from the list you’ve made to be relevant to the content in the post. Do not hashtag every word. While 30 hashtags are allowed by Instagram in a post, studies have shown that nine to 11 is the optimal number. If you’re doing a story instead of a post, only 10 hashtags are allowed.

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