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Your Guide to Using Hashtags in the New Year

guide to using hashtags

Fact: an Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than a post without any hashtags.

Why? Because hashtags are powerful. They help your social posts reach a target audience. They attract followers to your brand. They increase engagement. They help develop a recognizable brand image.

Why #hashtags are important:

There’s a lot of daily content on social and hashtags are the platform’s sorting procedure. (Seriously: 95 million photos are uploaded every day to Instagram.)

Using hashtags will help to get your content in front of the right people. Basically, by including some hashtags you are better categorizing your posts and helping platforms organize content. This means more people who are actively interested in, for example, #digitalmarketing will discover your content. The benefits are two-fold. Hashtags help you reach a target audience and help that target audience find you. They can help gain more likes, more followers, and more sales.


(there’s always a but, right?)

Don’t go crazy.

The hashtag function was created on Twitter in 2007 and indexes keywords or topics, tying conversations together, and increasing exposure. Hashtags can be great across social media for increasing overall reach and engagement but they can also quickly become meaningless and useless.

You need a strategy. I’ll write more on this below but you need to be organized and keep track of which hashtags you are using and how they’re performing.

You need to be wary of overuse. If you’re using too many hashtags your message is going to lose value, plain as that.

5 Tips on hashtag use for business:

  1. Be organized. You need an efficient system in place and to create one, you can use analytics tools or a spreadsheet. If you want to manually track your hashtag use, be sure to note which ones correlate with your most engaged posts.
  2. Narrow your hashtag use and find the sweet spot for your business. There’s no one right number for best results and it will take some trial and error to figure out what your brand’s number is. Good thing you already have tracking methods set up!
  3. Do your research. What are people hashtagging? You need to choose the most appropriate hashtags for each post you publish and there are brilliant tools out there (e.g. Hashtagify and RiteTag) for finding trending and popular hashtags. Search your competitors and followers posts to see what phrases they’re hashtagging. Check what influencers within your  industry use!
  4. Test. Do some A/B testing and try out related terms. When you type a hashtag into Twitter or Instagram’s search bar, related terms show up. This is an easy way to create a list of possible hashtags to use in future posts.
  5. Create a campaign hashtag. A unique hashtag is great for both specific campaigns and long-term branding. As you brainstorm something catchy, be sure to check it if already exists and keep in mind the length; your hashtag needs to be memorable so don’t use a long phrase that is more likely to get mistyped or forgotten.

Instagram is tailor made for hashtags, but similar ideas apply for Twitter, Facebook, and now even LinkedIn. The only big difference is that Instagrammers often use most of their 30 hashtag allowance per post and on Twitter, for example, most folks only use one or two hashtags. You still need to be strategized, conduct research, and test!

Top Instagram hashtags in 2018:

According to various social analytics tools these are some of the most popular hashtags in general:

  • #love
  • #instagood
  • #me
  • #cute
  • #tbt
  • #photoftheday
  • #instamood
  • #like4like
  • #food
  • #motivation

~ ~ ~

As you start thinking about your marketing plan for 2019, be sure to keep in mind the continued importance of hashtags and their essentialness to social platforms’ sorting procedure. Including relevant and specific hashtags in your posts or comments will help people discover all your great content.

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