Win the Instagram Hashtag Game

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It was a decade ago when Chris Messina became the first person to use a hashtag in social media. However, the concept of hashtags has been around for a long time before they were popularised by social media. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was the first platform to use metadata tags to group messages, images, video, and content into a category. When you searched the term “hashtag” on Google in 2007, the only thing that would’ve shown up would’ve been Stowe Boyd’s blog post.

Let’s take a look at few examples of hashtags campaigns out there:

  1. #OriginalIs by Adidas
  2. #HaveABreak by Kit Kat
  3. #OpenYourWorld by Heineken
  4. #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola
  5. #ShareYourEars by Disney
  6. #HeForShe by the United Nations
  7. #LikeAGirl by Always

Hashtag campaigns gain hundreds of thousands of posts. Not only are they successful by number, but also by the quality of content. Whether it’s a profitable business or a non-profit organization, all have been utilizing the hashtag and proved that hashtag is one of the simplest yet most powerful tools. Its function has developed, not only to group information, but also to spread them to a large audience in a short time. Individuals can get connected with infinite numbers of strangers on the internet; businesses can increase their brand engagement without being limited by country borders, and social movement can make campaigns that raise awareness which lead to a real change in the world. It’s easy to use, give quick satisfying results, and most importantly free. It’s not exaggerating if we say it’s an advertising dream come true.

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The hashtag tool has been incorporated into most social media platforms including, Facebook, Vine, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest. But, people are mostly using them on Instagram and Twitter. We want to particularly highlight the hashtag on Instagram because it’s the biggest ‘player’ in the game. Since it allows people to follow the hashtag, Instagram might beat the popularity of Twitter’s hashtag. Without people having to type the hashtag every single time, Instagram shows the posts of a certain hashtag automatically on a user’s timeline at any moment. This is the great breakthrough of the hashtag in 2018.

Now that it’s 2018 and everyone knows how serious the hashtag game is. Don’t you want to stand out from the others by maximizing the hashtag tool? Take a look at these tips and remember them well.

1. Use As Many Hashtags As Possible

This may be the most debatable best practice. Some, say to not use more than 10 hashtags because it’s spammy and not helping. But, the others like Louise Myers and Klaud9 are in the 30-hashtags-club.

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Here’s the study break down by Louise Myers:

  • 0 Hashtags – 18% interaction per 1k followers
  • 1 Hashtag – 29% interaction per 1k followers
  • 2 Hashtags – 41% interaction per 1k followers
  • 3 Hashtags – 39% interaction per 1k followers
  • 4 Hashtags – 31% interaction per 1k followers
  • 5 Hashtags – 43% interaction per 1k followers
  • 6 Hashtags – 33% interaction per 1k followers
  • 7 Hashtags – 30% interaction per 1k followers
  • 8 Hashtags – 39.5% interaction per 1k followers
  • 9 Hashtags – 49.5% interaction per 1k followers
  • 10 Hashtags – 22% interaction per 1k followers
  • 11 Hashtags – 79.5% interaction per 1k followers

Based on this, using more than 10 hashtags means 442% more engagement than using none and almost double of using 1-10. So, have you now decide in which team you are?

2. Plan Your Hashtags

Using the relevant hashtags is cool. But, it is not enough. If you want to use Instagram hashtags to their maximum potentials, such as for business or campaigns, see these useful tips.

  • Use Uncommon Hashtags

Hashtags such as #love, #beautiful, #travel, and #photography are very easy to be incorporated in the captions. They are also so simple that it pops up the quickest in one’s mind. However, they will not help your account stand out because there are too many posts using these types of hashtags already. See this list to get an overview of the hashtags that you need to avoid.

  • Use Various Hashtags

Have you heard about the Instagram shadowban? When Instagram detects harmful or repeated hashtags, it will block the account without even a notification. Thus, it’s essential to use a variety of hashtags on your posts.

  • Use a List to Write Your Hashtag Plan

One way to create a list is by utilizing the Google Spreadsheet. First of all, you can create categories of the hashtags, it can be based on types of messages to deliver in your account, types of the hashtag itself, or the number of times the hashtag has been used. Secondly, list as much as hashtag possible according to how long you will need hashtags. Once you did this, you can use the listed hashtags many times and combine with each of the hashtags on the list.

3. Post the Hashtags Immediately

Back in 2015, if you add a hashtag of an old post, Instagram lets the post to show up on top of the search result. But, this game is over in 2018. Regardless of the time when you added the hashtag, the post shows up on the hashtag search result at the time the post was published.

4. Promote the Hashtag in Instagram Story

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Since Instagram added its stories feature in 2017, people migrated from the previously famous app called Snapchat. This means that Instagram has its own charm and strength that can keep and even add users. It is now competitive in the world of Instagram Posts, the feed is showing the most popular posts on top and there are so many visuals so that users aren’t reading captions from all post, instead, they are choosing.

We highly suggest you to start putting the best hashtag in your stories because it has some valuable advantages: (1) users can tap the hashtag and be directed to the hashtag collection and (2) users will remember the hashtag longer and better.

5. Learn Your Hashtag Analytics

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Good news is if your account is a business profile, you are able to see the analytics of the hashtag you used. Just follow the pictures above as the guide on how to do this. Indeed the hashtags are analyzed per post (not per hashtag). So, the trick to know the effectiveness of the hashtag is by using one hashtag per post and experiment with it.

6. Follow Hashtags

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To keep updated with like-minded hashtags users, you can follow the hashtags. As said, Instagram has allowed the feed to display not only followed users but also followed hashtags. The advantages of this are:

  • Instagram shows you relevant post in explore page based on users or hashtags you followed. Thus, you will be able to explore even more hashtags and apply the most strategic hashtags for your own posts.
  • The dilemma of following too many users is over. You can now follow hashtags to see even more relevant posts without adding more numbers to your following list.

To conclude, one must be relevant and up-to-date to win a competition in the digital era. This includes the Instagram Hashtag game. It’s also not debatable that social media as a marketing tool is highly effective and efficient. To learn more about visual content for social media usages, please read our other awesome article here.

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