What do you currently use in your Instagram captions? Is it #love and #instagood? Or is it more #branded? How much time do you dedicate to thinking about your Instagram hashtags? If you’re dipping your toes in the hashtag waters, it might feel like more is better but this isn’t always the case. Read on to learn more about how using hashtags on Instagram could benefit your brand and how to put these strategies into action.

Why should you as a brand even care about hashtags? There are a number of benefits that you get from using hashtags on Instagram. No matter what your social media goals are, there’s an #advantage for everyone.

1. Increases exposure & discovery

The biggest reason for using hashtags is for the increased exposure and discovery. Clicking on a hashtag in Instagram leads to a gallery of both the top posts and latest posts that used the hashtag. From there, you’re able to explore all the related posts, making hashtags a great way for people interested in a certain topic to find more accounts to follow. This means that if you use the right and most relevant hashtags for your brand, others searching on that hashtag will find those posts. Your audience can use branded hashtags to show off their experiences with your products or services as a form of brand advocacy. Hashtags are good for overall brand exposure. Even clicking through one post on the search results page will lead you to other similar posts.

2. Encourages audience interactions

When you use branded hashtags and encourage their use, it becomes another form of engagement. Tagged feed posts are saved in search results and tagged story posts are saved for the duration of the story. Think of hashtags as just another way to reach and engage your customer base.

3. Competitor analysis

How much digital space are your competitors taking up in your market? Hashtags help you analyse your share of voice on social media. Chances are that you and your competitors will have overlapping hashtags, especially if they are industry and local ones. In an ideal share of voice situation, your posts and ones that your customers have tagged are taking up the bulk of those hashtag search results. You can also check out posts with your relevant hashtags for content inspiration and to get ideas on where your brand might be falling short compared to competitor content.

4. Content research

Similar to what you would do for SEO keyword research, hashtags can help you research different content ideas. For example, if you want to increase your share of voice in the #naturalskincare hashtag. That’s rather tough since there are over 6.9 million posts with the hashtag.

However, you can use the search results page’s Top tab to see what the best posts have been. Use this area as inspiration. What seems to be working for similar brands? Is there a certain style or caption that’s trending now? By clicking into top posts for details, you might also be able to find additional hashtags that are less highly populated, but just as relevant to your audience, similar to secondary keywords for search optimisation.

5. Links digital and IRL campaigns

Go shopping in any retail store these days and chances are that you’ll come across a marketing campaign with a hashtag attached. Whether they encourage you to use their general brand hashtag or a campaign one, hashtags offer an easy way to connect digital and in-real-life campaigns.

Is that post #cool and #creative? Gone are the days where hashtags were still new and brands threw in every popular hashtag they could think of, regardless of its relevance. It’s important to take your time and research what hashtags will perform best for you.

Need more help with your general social media strategy? A social media strategy from South Coast Social will give you the road map and tools you need to maximise the social media presence of your business, generate sales, drive traffic to your website, create engaged brand advocates and ultimately, develop and grow an impactful social media profile for your brand through paid, earned and owned social media content. Contact us today and let’s talk social! 

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