I'm a librarian's daughter so the ideas that INFORMATION IS POWER and EMPOWERING PEOPLE IS GOOD are built into my DNA (I grew up in the 70s, so Wonder Woman is in there too. And I finished growing up in the 80s so......hello Prince. I'm pretty sure Wonder Woman and Prince are having a party in my DNA). Why should I–a social media marketer–have all the fun? I believe you should have access to all the beautiful information too.
To bring that to the über micro level, I'm going to share much of what I know about business Hashtags on Instagram in hopes that it's useful and–if I'm honest–that you'll remember I was helpful and allow me to help your business solve a social media problem in the future. Okay. Here we go. All the things:
HOW MANY HASHTAGS SHOULD I USE?
Best practices (based on engagement research) says 9-12 hashtags is the sweet spot. But there is little to no indication that Instagram's algorithm punishes posts with more than 12 hashtags. Especially if have a newer account, more hashtags are particularly useful. Instagram, however, limits you to 30 hashtags. I've used 30 and had excellent engagement and I've used 10 and had terrible engagement. Play around and watch your results from the 'Insights' page of your Instagram Business account.
IS IT BETTER TO MAKE UP YOUR OWN HASHTAG OR USE AN EXISTING ONE?
It is not BETTER or WORSE to create your own hashtag. Creating your own hashtag is just one marketing tool among many to use. Hashtags unique to your #brand can do the following:
Serve as a way to cull/recall/see a group of posts all in the same place. You might want to be able to do this for a customer or client. It’s a way to see a BUNCH of your calling cards over time on a particular subject.
Unique hashtags are also super useful for CONVEYING YOUR BRAND’S WHY to consumers. Think of a unique hashtag as a headline on your company’s website. Because that’s what it is the equivalent of on Instagram. It’s a way to EXPLAIN YOUR WHY.
Unique hashtags can also be used to #connectwithyourcustomers. Let’s say you’re running a promotion and one of the contest requirements is to RE-POST YOUR UNIQUE HASHTAG with a statement/thought about the hashtag. Now you are ENGAGING with your tribe, deepening the connection they have with what you’re up to in the world.
OK. BUT WHICH HASHTAGS SHOULD I USE?
No matter the total number of hashtags you choose to use, I recommend the rule of thirds when choosing them: pick some VERY popular hashtags (ones with over 1 million posts) some MEDIUM popular hashtags (100-500k posts) and some SPECIFIC hashtags related to you.
For the specific hashtags I recommend picking ones that are true to your brand/products and are SPECIFIC ENOUGH TO BE FOLLOWED BY POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS. These are different for every company. You'll need to play around with these by monitoring the INSIGHTS page of your Instagram business account to correlate the number of impressions from specific hashtags for each post to determine your best hashtags. Need help? I can help you.
WHERE DO I PUT HASHTAGS?
For Posts, put them in the comments. For Stories, put one on each story.
I CAN USE THE SAME ONES ALL THE TIME, RIGHT?
You can, but I don't recommend it.
Look: if you don't have time to deep dive, post the same hashtags. As long as your CONTENT IS FANTASTIC, it won't really matter. Because having FANTASTIC CONTENT is way more important than which hashtags you choose.
Think about Johnny Appleseed. No wait. Don't think about that guy. Think about how I am with hair rubber bands because I am the Johnny Appleseed of things that tie your hair back: the more you sprinkle that stuff around, the more likely people are to find your stuff. Also? Instagram likes it when your hashtags MATCH THE SUBJECT OF YOUR POSTS AND STORIES. So, if your post is an inspiring quote, include hashtags about the author oF the quote. Ya dig?
THIS WAS GREAT BUT I HAVE A DIFFERENT SOCIAL MEDIA PROBLEM. CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THAT?
Probably. You can find me and contact me over here.