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Hashtag Madness and its cure: a Hashtag Strategy

Hashtag Madness and its cure: a Hashtag Strategy

These days many are conscious about the importance of hashtagging their photos and videos on Instagram but I’ve seen lots of brands who fail to do it properly.

Hashtag Primer 

What are they? Hashtags are a pound sign immediately followed by a keyword or concept (with no space between the words). They are commonly used for categorisation on different Social Media platforms. What began on Twitter as a users’ practice to mark posts belonging to a certain group, has now spread to Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Google search…

Why should you use them? Without hashtags your posts will be seen only for the people who already follow you. The use of hashtags expand the reach of your post to everyone looking to that keyword of phrase. No matter if they follow you or not or ever heard of you before. They can also be used to listen to your market but that’s material for another post.

The hashtag is your bridge between your brand and your market. It is the way to attract your niche of clients by posting on what the clients have claimed to be of interest. Read more about your brand niche here

The two most common mistakes when it comes to using hashtags are batmanusing too many hashtags and using irrelevant hashtags. The first one is easy to solve: In general do not use more than ten/fifteen hashtags on Instagram. Second one is a bit tricky: How do you know which ones are relevant to your niche?

There are several marketing strategies for hashtags. For example brand and campaign hashtags, trending hashtags. But today I want to call your attention about Content Hashtag Strategy.
When you do not have lots of followers (and even when you do) a Hashtag Strategy will put your photos and videos in front of the global Instagram audience. Instagram users actively search for hashtags of their interests. They tend to search trendssubjects and locations. For that reason you want to hashtag your posts in a way that is relevant to the people searching for what your company has to offer (your potential new clients). It makes sense, doesn’t it?

So what is a Content Hashtag Strategy?

Is a strategy that defines which key words can help your clients find your products and services. These key words can also be grouped in a few categories:

1. Industry Hashtags They help to define the industry your brand is in. They can be useful sometimes but before using them always think: will my customers search for that? If they won’t do it you can spare the hashtag (unless it is strategic for you to have your brand curated under it).

Sis&Co industry is #socialmedia. Not long ago I decided to stop using that hashtag to curate my posts. I’m sure non of my clients would search for it. And it was attracting me the type of followers using follow4follow and followme. So I changed to #InstagramForBusiness and #InstagramStrategies something that my clients are more likely to search for.

2. Lifestyle Hashtags What are your demographic’s lifestyle and hobbies, and how do they refer to them? The very same event can be named differently by people in different stages of their life. A jewellery company that wants to market a pair of earrings to different demographic groups should use different hashtags. If the occasion to use the earrings is a night out, the post can be curated under #datenight #girlsnightout or #partynight to reach a variety of demographic segments.

3. Event Hashtags Are great to get your content noticed by people who are in that event or are interested in the event. It can be a local event, like an arts fair or a more global one. What events are relevant to your clientele?

How to be subtle and brilliant is this poppy from @ideabookltd publish on Remembrance Day? They do not even mention the event…

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Flowers by Irving Penn. 1980

4. Location Hashtags Are key to local clients for locally based companies. Which city, town, neighbourhood is your business in? What monuments or sightseeing attractions do you have around? Which local market are you in?  Use specific geo-targeted hashtags to getyour business in front of the local customers who are looking for that specific hashtags.

5. Product Hashtag Here is were I find more confusion. To get this right you should think like your customer. Use hashtags that both connect your product and your market. What can be your new customer searching for to find your post? Try to be specific. Back to the jewellery example as well as using the product description, use materials, colours… #earrings, #goldearrings

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Snowy in his new car! Thank you Tintin to help me illustrate the #hashtagfun

 Hashtags tips: dos and don’ts 

  • Do not use too many. Although you can use up to 30 hashtags using all of them will make your post look “salesy”.
  • Do your research before using any hashtag to see what is curated under it. Then decide if the hashtag is suited for your company’s posts. It might not be very relevant for a product hashtag strategy but is key for trending, lifestyle, event and location hashtags.
  • Do add the hashtag strategy in a secondary comment. Publish the post without hashtags (or only with your brand or event hashtag) When the post engagement starts to die out is time to delete the comment with the hashtags and make another comment with different ones so the post will come to life again.
  • Do not hijack hashtags. Adding a hashtag that is not relevant or has nothing to do with your post won’t make you any favours. And if you are using #follow4follow or #followme read this post and stop using them.

Thank you for reading. If you found this post useful, why not follow me on Instagram for weekly musings on how to win on Instagram: sisiandcompany. Or get in touch at paula@sisiandco.com if you have further questions. 

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