How Instagram Hashtag Tactics Can Help You Improve Customer Engagement
It's true that stuffing your photo captions with too many irrelevant hashtags can annoy your viewers. However, if used judiciously, Instagram hashtags can boost the reach of your posts tremendously.
In December 2017, Instagram introduced a new feature, whereby users can now follow hashtags. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, this popular social media network offers immense scope for brand building. If you haven't tapped into the potential of Instagram hashtags yet, you might need to rethink your social media marketing strategy.
Why use Instagram hashtags?
By now, you should understand why Instagram hashtags are a powerful marketing tool. Now, let's take a look at some strategies to help you use this tool effectively for your business.
Identify the right hashtags
Use relevant and specific hashtags
Identify the most popular hashtags in your niche and incorporate them into your posts. Keep an eye on the hashtags that are being used by your competitors. Avoid using generic hashtags as these are usually flooded with an insurmountable number of posts.
For example, rule out common terms such as #photographer, #photography, #travel etc. Instead, you can use #travelphotography, #landscapephotographer, #wildlifephotography and #naturephotography. A leading nature and travel brand posts photos taken by their photographers with such specific hashtags.
Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million social media posts to see what triggered users into sharing content. Extended text and powerful images along with emotions were the triggers. It seems that sharing implies trust. If you create content that people want to share, it's a definite vote of confidence in your product.
Craft your own hashtag
While crafting a hashtag for your brand, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
As a marketer or business owner, you must avoid this practice by all means. Even though Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags with each post, limit your usage to 15-20.
While Instagram has never revealed how its algorithm works, you can use captions and hashtags to your advantage. According to a survey, 30% of people put hashtags in comments while the rest put them in their captions. 70% of respondents even stated that they got more engagement when hashtags were in the captions.
However, if you want to keep your caption clean, you can write it without hashtags. Immediately after the post is published, add relevant hashtags in a comment. This ensures that the appearance of your post remains neat.
Motivate them to post photographs or messages with your brand's hashtag, in exchange for some incentives. The incentive could be in the form of a feature on your Instagram page or other material rewards.
This is a great way to create a buzz about your brand. It helps you re-engage your existing customers. In addition, if the contest goes viral, it can take your brand to a massive, wide pool of potential customers.
For instance, a popular software company gives their users a chance to get featured on its Instagram page. They have over 800,000 followers, so that is motivation enough for their users to want to get featured. All they need to do is share their posts using #<brand name>_DreamBig.
Use it everywhere
Take it offline
Display it prominently on all your marketing paraphernalia including flyers, hoardings, banners etc. Use it in your television commercials and print ads as well.
A leading soft drink manufacturer used this technique in their 2015 Super Bowl Campaign. They launched the hashtag #MakeItHappy and used it extensively on all their social media pages. They used the same hashtag on YouTube and television commercials. Further, they took it to print ads and other marketing collaterals as well.
Ask influencers to promote the hashtag
However, you must be very thorough when you choose an influencer. Make sure that they have a decent sized following and a solid engagement rate. You can use various influencer marketing platforms to find verified influencers. These can even help you manage your campaigns and calculate your ROI.
Create a hashtag that is unique and in coordination with your brand. Identify other hashtags that are relevant to your products or services and incorporate them organically in your Instagram posts. Encourage your customers to use them as well to spread the word about your brand.
Which other Instagram hashtag tactics have been successful for you? Let us know in the comments section below!
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