Hashtags are words or phrases that group similar content on social media. This makes it easy for users to search for specific content, or similar content from multiple sources. Using hashtags on Instagram in particular is a great way to increase your visibility online. However, whether you’ve been on the platform for a while, or are just getting started with Instagram, choosing good hashtags for your posts can be tricky.
When using hashtags to grow your business, your focus is not on just getting more eyes on your content, but on getting more of the right eyes on your content. Here are some guidelines for choosing good hashtags for your Instagram posts, to ensure that your audience is happy and your business is growing.
Think of the Best Hashtags to Use for Your Target Audience
A good hashtag for your business is not necessarily one that is trending, or universally popular. It also may not relate directly to your products or service. A good hashtag for your business is a hashtag that your audience is searching for to find businesses like yours.
To come up with good hashtags for your Instagram posts, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customers. What are they searching for online? What are their interests? What other groups or communities might they belong to? What might they be searching for on Instagram specifically? For example, if you sell green heating and air conditioning systems, you might want to consider researching hashtags in green living, home design, energy efficiency, or DIY renovations.
The best hashtags to use for your Instagram posts are those that resonate with your target audience, not just in relation to your business, but also with respect to their lifestyle and behaviors, both online and off.
Use Hashtag Tools
Brainstorming with regard to your target audience is only part of the process of choosing good hashtags for your business. You may know your target audience well, but it’s always a good idea to also use some additional resources when choosing hashtags.
There are many great keyword research tools that can help you to find hashtags for your business. Hashtagify.me is a free resource that measures tag popularity and compares them, while Hashtags.org offers information about trending tags (they also have a paid analytics tool). For businesses focusing on local communities, TrendsMap.com is great resource—it maps hashtag trends by region. Use Instagram to Find Good Hashtags
You don’t always have to use hashtag tools to do hashtag research. By searching on Instagram, you can easily look up potential hashtags, see how popular they are based on the number of posts that use that hashtag, and find related hashtags.
To do this on your mobile device, simply tap the magnifying glass in the bottom navigation bar. Once you type your hashtag into the search box, tap the Tags tab to obtain results on that hashtag. On a computer, simply type the hashtag with the “#” in front of it into the search field.
If you are still stumped, consider doing some research by looking at accounts or businesses similar to yours and seeing what hashtags they use. Better yet, choose a business like yours that has a strong and engaged following—that’s the sign of good hashtag use!
In addition to using Instagram for hashtag ideas, you can also use it as a tool after you come up with hashtags. Before you create your hashtag, check to see if the content you are associating with that hashtag is similar to the rest of the content being linked with that hashtag. A good hashtag is one that is useful to a person searching for that hashtag, and brings them to content that meets their expectations.
Choose Both Industry and Local Hashtags
When coming up with hashtags, make sure to use a variety— not just in terms of popularity but also in terms of the types of hashtags. Some examples of types of hashtags include daily hashtags, small business hashtags, local hashtags, and industry hashtags.
If you’re a local business, choose local hashtags to attract more people in your area, such as the name of your city or #ig_cityname. Be sure to also use general industry hashtags that describe your photo, like #birthdaycupcakes or #greenheating. Industry hashtags are good for getting your post found by people in your industry, who are looking up photos of what you’re posting.
Narrow Down Your Hashtags
At this point, you’re likely to have a large list of potential hashtags. But are they good hashtags? Now it’s time to evaluate your hashtag choices, based on how broad, popular, and relevant they are.
Just like with keyword research, broad hashtags have a high volume of searches, but as they are extremely competitive, your posts using this hashtag might not reach your target audience. Very narrow hashtags, on the other hand, will get low search volume and interest, even though the people who find your post might be just who you’re targeting.
A good hashtag is right in the middle of narrow and broad. These hashtags typically have at 500 – 10,000 uses, but it depends on the topic. When choosing good hashtags for your business, it’s important to mix it up. Use some hashtags that have only a few hundred posts and some that have several thousand posts. It takes a bit of testing to see which hashtags will drive users to your posts.
Choosing good hashtags for your Instagram posts requires a mix of intuition, information, and experimentation. If you stay focused on delivering relevant and engaging content to your target audience, the results can help guide you the rest of the way.