I wasn’t lying when I said we’re getting back to the basics...
We ALL know that #hashtags increase the reach of our social media posts and more-often-than-not the engagement. But are your hashtags attracting the right kind of attention?
Popular hashtags like #love #instagood #photooftheday (the list goes on) mainly attract what I call “Phantom Followers”. Sounds spooky doesn’t it?
Basically, they will like a dozen of your photos and maybe even follow you for a week, but are they potential clients/customers? I’m gonna guess nooooo.
I get it though. Who doesn’t love that extra bit of engagement on their content? *But* what if I told you, that by strategically selecting hashtags, you could turn your followers into potential clients/customers? Yep. And it’s actually easier than you think.
Essentially, #hashtags are literally one of the easy-peaziest (did I just make a word?) ways to attract your ideal clients/customers as well as get your brand out there, all while building awareness of what you offer. With Instagram recently introducing the hashtag follow feature, NOW is the time to jump on it!
Ugh ok Jarrah… but where do I find and how do I use these low-key-business-transforming hashtags… you ask?
Alright. Here’s what you’re gonna do.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT HASHTAGS
1. Research your competitors & industry leaders
What hashtags are the leaders in your industry using? Take a look at a few different accounts, find their content with the most engagement and browse through the hashtags they used. You don’t need to every single one they do, but take note of the tags you think will fit suit your content well.
2. Research Your Audience
Before using a hashtag, check the volume of posts already under that hashtag. For example #marketing has 19.3 million posts… the likelihood of my posts being found under this hashtag? I’m gonna say scarce.
But #socialmediaau? 6,000 posts… I use this hashtag and more often than not my posts end up in the “Top Posts” range, which makes them so much easier for my potential clients to find. I always aim to keep the volume of my hashtags from 5,000 posts to 500,000.
3. Community Hashtags
Community hashtags are my favourite kind o’ hash tags. They almost always have a super engaged audience behind them, and allow you to nail the art of attracting your ideal client. You can find these through Facebook groups, and researching your competition & audience. For example, a reeeeally useful hashtag for me is #lmbdw which stands for an extremely active Facebook group I’m in (Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine). This group is packed with small business owners (aka my ideal client), so using this hashtag puts my posts straight in front of the exact demographic I’m after.
4. Relevance is key
If a hashtag isn’t relevant to the photo your posting – it can be reported and your content will go “to the back” of the algorithm. For example, lets say you’re posting a photo of your dog - if you hashtag #beachlife, people who follow this hashtag are likely to report your photo for being irrelevant. Instagram will pick up on this (especially if you do it regularly) and your content will suffer the heavy consequences of the dreaded Instagram algorithm, i.e. your post won’t be seen.
HOW TO USE HASHTAGS THE RIGHT WAY
1. My 5:10:15 Rule
This rule is GOLD if you want to get the absolute best out of every set of hashtags you use.
Use 5 hashtags with 500,000- 1 Million posts – these hashtags will showcase your business to a huge audience and are likely to increase your reach the most.
Use 10 Hashtags with 50,000 – 150,000 posts – these hashtags like you nail the specifics and attract people who are genuinely interested in your industry/niche, meaning they’re way more likely to follow you & do business with you in the future.
Use 15 Hashtags with 50,000 posts or less - these hashtags will mainly be community hashtags, and will open your posts up to engaged audiences and allow you to build genuine relationships with those who follow and engage with your posts. Something that is so important these days on Instagram.
2. 30 Hashtag Per Post
Instagram generously allows you to add 30 hashtags to each post, no more. That’s 30 more places your content can be found, engaged with and introduced to new potential clients. I like to use each of these 30 to ensure I’m using hashtags to their full potential!
3. Story Hashtags
Story hashtags are low-key one of my favourite instagram tools. You can add up to 10 hashtags per story. For these, I recommend using relevant hashtags with large post volumes. Your stories are a lot more likely to end up within the “top posts” range as not many use this tool regularly.
4. Follow Hashtags
Following hashtags has done worlds of good for my business. It allows me to follow specific categories that resonate with my business, and connect with people who use it. This is one of the easiest ways to bring attention to your account from people who are already interested in your industry.
5. Post Them in the Comments
Posting your hashtags in the comments is honestly the way-better alternative than adding them into your caption. They can make your captions look convoluted and overly complex. By adding them as a comment, you’re hiding them from your followers and coming across way less spammy.
And that’s it! Try implementing a few of these tips and you’ll see a huge difference in the type of followers/engagement you attract
Oh and p.s if I say hashtag one more time I’m gonna cry.