Hashtag Marketing on Instagram: History and All Secrets
Active Instagram audience has more than 500 million users. It is not surprising that more than 1 million advertisers use this platform to promote brands, products and services, and high-quality customer engagement. Among the many ways to interact with the target audience, hashtags have become one of the most effective and efficient. In this article we will tell about the history of the appearance of hashtags, the correct algorithm for selecting hashtags for your posts, and also share some secrets that you can use today.
A Brief History of Hashtags – The Three Platforms Where They Hooked On
Although the invention of hashtags is often attributed to the creators of Twitter, they appeared much earlier. Hashtags are words or phrases without spaces, preceded by a # character. For the first time they began to be used in 2000 in the networks of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to form and search for thematic groups in chat rooms. Only a few years later, in 2007, hashtags appeared on Twitter, and then on other social networks.
1) Twitter Hashtags
Twitter with its huge and virtually uncontrolled flow of information has become an ideal breeding ground for hashtags. Originally used to combine messages of similar subjects, today hashtags are used to create and develop trends, search for the freshest information (which has not yet reached official sources) and like-minded people, research and, of course, to promote business in the right circles.
2) Facebook Hashtags
Since June 2013, hashtags have been officially supported by Facebook. They were supposed to work like Twitter, but in practice it turned out differently. If Twitter users publish in it everything they think, and in large quantities, then Facebook is used for more personal and private communication, where hashtags are often inappropriate.
Most Facebook users use various levels of privacy in their personal publications, which limit the distribution of hashtags and the ability to find them through a search. Therefore, hashtags in Facebook have taken root mainly for business pages.
3) Hashtags in Instragram
The use of hashtags gained the most popularity on Instagram. Therefore, this is the first and best platform for which you should develop a hashtag strategy and gradually implement it in practice. Want to ask why do you need it? According to the Simply Measured survey, posts with at least one # on Instagram receive an average coverage 12.6% higher than without any hashtag.
This technique is successfully used by marketers around the world to:
- increase brand awareness;
- increased engagement;
- expansion of the target audience;
- viral acquaintance of the target audience with a new product or service.
However, let’s move on. To really accomplish all these tasks for your business, we need to know how to choose the most appropriate hashtags, how to distribute them in your profile, and what secret moves you can use to promote your company in Instagram using hashtags. Stay with us.
7 Simple Steps to Creating a Hashtag Strategy
We will be honest with you. The correct choice of hashtags on Instagram is half the battle. When you develop your website, your certainly thinks what keywords should your content contains. Pauline Farris, the SMM manager of The Word Point company said: “In general, hashtags in Insta work in the same way as keywords in search engine optimization – you need to understand how your users can search for you and give them that opportunity” . For this, you need to take the following simple steps.
1) Getting Started with Brainstorming
To begin, write down all the keywords, tags and phrases that are related to your brand and specific offer. For this, it is better to get together with the team and brainstorm. Consider with the help of what hashtags you want your audience to look for you.
2) Carry out Field Research
Then do research and find popular and fancy hashtags. To determine how popular a tag is, just type it in the search box on Instagram. The social network will show in how many posts it is used. Also note what content is published on your chosen hashtags. Do you fit into this community?
3) Be Specific
Do not choose hashtags that are found in millions of publications. To draw attention to your brand with the help of such tags will be very difficult. Choose more specific phrases to find an audience that shares your tastes.
But! There is a little secret here. We will tell about it a bit later.
4) Come up with Unique Hashtags
Creating branded hashtags will allow you to organize content into unique collections that are easy to sort and search. Subscribers will also be able to use your own hashtag to talk about your brand on their pages.
An example for inspiration is the hashtag of Calvin Klein #mycalvins, with which you can find a huge collection of photos of users in clothing brand. This is a free advertisement!
5) Use Industry Hashtags
To find effective hashtags, look for profiles of successful competitors or representatives of your industry. To do this, enter any shared hashtag describing your field of activity, and view popular entries. What tags are used in them?
Another great hint from Instagram is that when you enter a hashtag in the search bar, you will see a list of recommended phrases, sorted by popularity.
6) Record the Results
Once you have your own set of perfect hashtags, write them down somewhere so that they are always at hand. For this, note taking applications are perfect.
Before posting each new post, simply go to the saved file, copy the hashtags and paste them into the description or comments.
7) Analyze the Efficiency of Your Hashtags
Of course, your primary task is to use only those hashtags that attract the audience. If any of the keywords chosen by you do not bring results, it is better to refuse them. You can determine with the help of which hashtags your users find you using special tools like HootSuite.
Some Secrets You May Incorporate into Your Hashtag Marketing Strategy
1) Use Hashtags After a Post
Hashtags are, of course, one of the main advantages of Instagram, but it’s okay, if suddenly, having published a photo, you realized that you forgot to add them. You can add hashtags in the comments. Other users will still be able to find your photos, and the description of the picture will look neater, and not as spam. In addition, it is believed that the optimal number of tags to the photo should be no more than 5.
2) Include Popular Hashtags to Increase Visibility
Remember, we said that you need to be as specific as possible when choosing hashtags? So, the reverse method also works. Trendy themes come and go, and there are pros and cons in the use of certain hashtags, but some of them are always useful to add to improve the results. Sometimes very common options instantly increase engagement and reach.
To stay in trend, you need to keep track of what hashtags are the most popular at this time. You can do this on the site websta.me, where the current list of the most popular tags for today is presented. Take note of them and use them for your shots. The top three tag leaders now consist of #love, #instagood and #me.
The visibility of these hashtags is high, but the competition for attention and involvement is also significant. Do not abuse them: add only one or two of them to each post and focus on the hashtags that are most relevant to your target audience. Your posts should not give the impression that they are written by a spam bot for the sake of likes.
There is one more thing: the most popular tags will increase your reach, but you will receive an order of magnitude fewer views of the publication. This is all due to the fact that they are too common. In order not to lose, combine popular and specific hashtags. Assuming that the best number of hashtags is five, then:
- use your individual hashtag once,
- use two hashtags that are popular in your industry – one should be high-frequency, the second may be less popular,
- plus two hashtags from the list of the most popular to increase coverage.
3) Use Hashtags in Korean
Suddenly, right? However, it is a fair statement that adding several hashtags in Korean will significantly increase the number of likes. In fact, South Korea is very fond of Instagram, the population is now 51 million people. So it is worth writing a few of these tags, it is not only useful, but also looks beautiful.
Forbidden Hashtags and Business That You Will Never Be Able to Promote to Instagram
It is possible very often to hear the statement that Instagram is universal and suitable for any kind of business. But no. It is not suitable for anyone. This is so, in particular, because the platform blocks part of the hashtags that could be used for certain types of businesses.
First, the tags to be blocked appeared on Instagram in 2013. The list contained only obscene language. Since then, it began to increase and today has reached a significant size. All prohibited tags Insta divides into 2 varieties.
- 100 percent ban. The Instagram post will not be posted until you delete the forbidden hashtag.
- Flexible ban. The search for this tag shows the last 30 posts. All previous posts are hidden.
The Instagram Administration carefully monitors the tragedies and news of the world, regularly blocking the corresponding hashtags.
In total there are 118 requests that are prohibited to use. Some of them may seem harmless, but the administration explains its position as follows: quite a few tags are blocked in a limited number of regions and only for a while. The black list includes tags that suggest anorexia (#loseweight, #thinspo), and tags with an erotic slant – #booty, #sexual. Therefore, it is not possible to promote stores with adult products or diet pills.