How To Effectively Use Hashtags

Great. You’ve carefully selected that amazing pic amongst the hundreds you took that is sure to fire-up the ‘likes’ count on Instagram – almost as good as any über-influencer. You’ve edited in your photo subtle light and colour adjustments. Now you’re ready to kill it on social.

But. Not. So. Fast.

First, you need to make sure you’re using the absolute best hashtags for your content and audience.

Let’s show you how!

Hashtags Are Not Secret Codes

Oh, yeah, we’ve all been there. Using cute hashtags that mean everything to you and your ego, but absolutely nothing to other people – AKA your followers on social, who become digital currency when they create engagement by liking or commenting on your posts.

So, please, by all means, you must resist the temptation of going for something like #RemindsMeOfLastWeekend, which will bring you close to zero engagement. NADA. Unless it’s last weekend’s hookup who gets your inside joke. Get it?

Cataloguing System

Just like when you search on Google, or ask Siri, for the ‘Best Balayage Hairstylist in Montreal’, hashtags are a way of cataloguing your post so that when people do a search on Instagram or Twitter – yes, it’s still relevant for some brands, but we’ll get into that in another blog post -, they can see the relevant posts to their quest which, in a perfect world, always include yours.

If you’re not a global brand but are running a great local business, geographical location is super important to include in your posts. This is how your potential clients will find you. Let’s say you’re managing social media for a salon in Westmount, for example, so you should always mention the location of your business in your hashtags. So instead of just using #BeautifulBlondeBalayage you should also include in your list of hashtags #WestmountHairSalon #BlondeHairWestmount, and so on.

Wide and Narrow Search

Instagram also has a cool feature that gives you the amount of times a certain hashtag has been used. Some of them are numbered in the millions (broad-spectrum hashtags), and others have less than 100 (narrow-spectrum hashtags). Generally speaking, a lower number of hashtags usually refers to something very specific like a geographical location of a specific service your brand is known for.

Start typing the hashtag in your caption, and you will see the autocomplete function pop up and give you the total number of times a specific hashtag has been used.

For our clients at Kustom Kontent, I like using both broad-spectrum hashtags and narrow-spectrum hashtags, in that they cover a wider range of key words their actual audience is searching for. That way, a potential customer walking in the door with money to spend can effectively be targeted with the most appropriate hashtags.

Remember, you’re a brand not an influencer, so the amount of ‘likes’ means less than the actual engagement your Instagram account is generating.

But more on that later. Bye for now!

BONUS QUESTION: “Should you be using the same hashtags over and over again for each post?” The short answer: NO!

Simply put, you’re not always posting the same pic, promoting exactly the same service or product. What’s more, if you read the fine print of Instagram’s terms of service – that endless document you casually scrolled over, then clicked ‘yes’ when you signed up – it’s expressly forbidden to post repetitive content or spam.

If you can’t find the time to come up with new hashtags for every new post, why not hire a specialised social marketing agency like Kustom Kontent? 😉

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