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With every New Year comes innovation and changes in not only the types of technology we have but also the way in which we use it. With that being said, Instagram has recently made it possible to directly follow hashtags.  What does this mean for you? Well, that’s exactly what we are here to explain!

From following hashtags to incorporating them into Insta Stories, we’re going to show you all of the awesome ways you can use them enhance your marketing initiatives in 2018.

Rule 1:  Relevancy is KEY

Due to Instagram’s new feature to follow hashtags, users now no longer have the additional step of searching for an Instagram hashtag and scrolling through an endless feed of posts in order to land on content related to you.  This is extremely beneficial because now your posts can appear automatically in the feeds of potential customers. Instagram has always been quite particular in which hashtags are favored which is why this is such a big deal.

Much like Facebook, users now have the ability to mark any content that they do not want to see.  Then almost like Pandora, it tailors your feed to show only posts that you “like.” You should be extremely aware of this and really hone in on your target market in order to avoid being red-flagged like this too many times. Too many negative hits to your page could potentially impact the exposure and engagement rate associated with your overall account.

Rule 2: Be the Change You Want to See

Having a set list of relevant hashtags is helpful but using them all in the same order, consecutively in every single post, is not. It is important to switch up your hashtags so that Instagram does not categorize your content as spam.

Coming up with new and relevant hashtags may seem like a daunting task. However, third-party programs such as Later and Hootsuite have made it easier than ever to plan your posts out ahead of time.  Later even allows users to generate several hashtag lists based on the ones you currently use already. That way, when it’s time to schedule, you can simply copy and paste one of your already curated lists to your post, voila!

Now you’re probably wondering “alright, well how do I know which hashtags to use in my lists.” Well for starters be sure to avoid the more cliché tags such as #instalike.  They may receive a lot of use and get you a bit more engagement; however, they are not going to grow the type of audience that is pertinent to your business.

This is why it is so important to choose tags that will help people who are perhaps looking for your business, find it with ease. These can be descriptive of your page, brand, business, and/or target market. For example, Jolly Roger is an Amusement park that caters to young families. Some of the hashtags that they use are #amusementpark and #attractions as well as its own branded campaign hashtags like #myjollysummer.

Since they are a park geared towards families, Jolly Roger also uses community hashtags which connect like-minded users around a specific subject. Some of the ones used on their accounts are #familyfun, #beachlife, and #ocmd. They are an easy way to gain followers, increase engagement, improve your posts SEO, and grow your own online community base.

A great way to find these hashtags is to look at ones your audience or other similar accounts use. You can also click on followers at the top of your account and toggle over to hashtags tab where you will find a list of suggested ones for you to use! When you follow and include these highly relevant hashtags in your posts, Instagram will continuously cycle in new ones for you to use as well.  For more information on in-depth hashtag strategy, you can visit this guide.

Rule 3: USE INSIGHTS

Users who choose to have a business profile on Instagram have the ability to (1) track the growth of their account over time and (2) evaluate how specific posts are performing compared to others. Now how will this help you? By gathering information collected from insights, you will be able to see how effective your posts are based on their impressions. This capability is available when examining hashtags as well which can greatly assist in your hashtag optimization journey.

Rule 4: Include Hashtags in Stories

When you follow a hashtag, some of its most popular posts, as well as stories, will appear onto your feed. By using the hashtags within your story, you create yet another way to be discovered by new users.  This is currently an overlooked Instagram feature, although, as people use stories more it will become a more common practice.

There are two different ways that you can add hashtags to your story. One is by using the hashtag sticker, and the other is by using the text tool and simply typing your hashtags out.

We know you’re probably thinking,”hashtags all over my pictures? No thank you!” Fortunately, there is a cool little trick to avoid the clutter by dropping a sticker right in over your list. You can use up to 10 hashtags this way which brings more overall exposure to your page.

Rule 5: Use as Many Relevant Tags Possible

Although there are many differing opinions about how many hashtags are too many.  We believe that the more the merrier. The maximum amount of tags one can use is 30, not we aren’t saying you have to do all that, however, more tags gives you more opportunities to be found. Insights can help in the arena as they are a great way to compare what your viewers like to see. You can then use this as a gauge when creating all your future posts.

Overall, the main thing to keep in mind is that you want to be purposeful with your hashtag choice. If you are thoughtful and conduct thorough research about what tags your target audience is using/following it will be much easier for you to gain their attention.

Are you ready to optimize your Instagram marketing strategy? Call D3 at (410) 213-2400 for a free consultation on how we can help you!

 

 

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