Open up your Instagram app right now. Scroll through your home feed taking in all of the food porn, adorable tiny animals, and Kim K. selfies. Chances are, you also digested a few dozen hashtags along the way.
Even though hashtags are on every social network, quite a few brands still aren’t using them properly on Instagram. Simply throwing a hashtag in your Instagram post does not ensure that it will be successful – it’s a bit more strategic than that.
Common Instagram Hashtag Mistakes
By avoiding these common Instagram hashtag mistakes, using hashtags can significantly increase your exposure on Instagram. More exposure = more followers = more engagement = #winning.
You’re Only Applying One Hashtag
Hopefully that one being your own brand/campaign hashtag, but even still, you’re missing a huge opportunity for publicity. Unlike Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters, Instagram gives you the freedom to add a good chunk of content to accompany that beautifully captured, perfectly filtered image to your profile. Take advantage of this by leveraging several trending hashtags in addition to your main brand hashtag.
There’s No Hashtag in the Caption
If you are looking to use a hashtag in connection with a specific campaign, be sure to promote it in the original caption. Placing it in a separate comment runs the chance of being buried by other comments, and your followers will not know which hashtag you’re using – or if there’s one in the first place.
Or the Second Comment
Instead of cluttering up your post caption with every single hashtag you can think of (and coming off looking quite spammy), post brand-relevant hashtags in the comment section. This method has the exact same function as those hashtags in the post caption. They are discoverable for people searching the same ones. Posting hashtags in the comments allows your campaign hashtag to remain visible by itself in the caption while still reaching a bigger audience, exposing yourself to more people, and gaining better results.
You’re Posting Overly Popular Hashtags
The hashtags #love, #beautiful, and #family have over six hundred million photos connected to it, so that means your brand should leverage these popular ones, right? Wrong. Not only will your post be buried in that feed within seconds, but you’re also not getting your message seen by the right people. Stick with using hashtags that are relevant to your niche, so you can make sure that the posts surrounding the hashtag will not become diluted due to an influx of unrelated messages and/or audience members.
You’re Making Up Random Tags
No matter how clever you may think you’re being, using spur-of-the-moment ideas like #thisisthebesthashtagknowntoman isn’t going to be successful. No one is following it, so you’re not going to reach your targeted audience. It’s a good idea to always use hashtags that are related to your brand allowing users who follow the hashtags to interact with your post when they see them in the feed.
Pro tip: Make a list of industry-related hashtags on your phone’s Notes app. That way you can copy and paste them whenever you’re ready to post.
You’re Not Doing Your Research
Before you build a campaign around a certain hashtag, research to see how it’s being used. There are more than 500 million users on Instagram, many of whom will post anything, and hashtag everything, to get noticed. The last thing you want is for your brand to jump on a trending hashtag that turns out to be a highly sensitive topic. The backlash can be detrimental, and the hard work and long hours you put into building your presence will be lost.
Not sure how to leverage Instagram for your brand? Read our Instagram guide for beginners for more tips, or contact FSC Interactive to learn more about how we can develop a strategic approach to guide your social media efforts.
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