Hashtags. I know. I have a bad reputation for my love-hate relationship with hashtag use.
So many people get it wrong (wrong being the wrong word because there are no rights or wrongs, right?).
Maybe ineffective use is a better way to describe many people’s Instagram accounts.
I know a lot of Facebookers (who cross-post their Instagram photos) just don’t realize that when they post a hashtag on a private (friends-only) post, they’re defeating the purpose of the hashtag (to be found in search). But I surrender.
No, I’m serious this time.
My personal strategy on Instagram is to post more landscapes, arty shots, and selfies. People bore easily of selfies on Facebook. But on Instagram, it’s almost expected.
Bears in Grants Pass, Oregon
On my first visit to Grants Pass, Oregon, I noticed bear sculptures all around town. So of course, I decided to take photos, put them on Instagram, and use the hashtag #BearsOfGrantsPass.
1. I was surprised I was the only one using this hashtag. These bears aren’t new.
2. I realized you can now click on a hashtag from your desktop.
Boom. This is when I realized the power of hashtags on Instagram has left the boundaries of mobile.
Try it on this post. Click on one of the hashtags.
Translating to Business
Will this change how much you use Instagram?
Will this change what hashtags you use?
When I was working for Riggins, I started an experiment. I used 13 hashtags and starting doing a weekly project. We got a lot of traction and results.
We had a project in Irvine and since Irvine won’t allow signs during construction, I thought a geo-location series of photos on Instagram with a boat-load of hashtags would be a fun substitute.
View this post on Instagram
Week 3 of the tenant improvement for our client, Wamco. ~~~~~~~~~~ This warehouse is getting an office, more storefront, and aluminum cladding on the exterior. #17752Fitch #OrangeCounty #OCContractor #TenantImprovement #Wamco #Irvine #BestTIEver #HashtagsAreFun #GeneralContractor #HardHatRequired #IrvineWontLetUsPutUpASign #NoFilter #PRoHDRx
How many hashtags should your business use on Instagram? The answer varies. Culture evolves. Culture on social media evolves quickly. Personal accounts can have long, drawn-out hashtags that involve sarcasm. Instagram should be more generic (think SEO keywords).
“Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags.” Buffer 2014
With all things in Marketing, you should test and see what works for you. Remember that hashtags on Instagram, just like on Twitter, are used for filtering (search) and discovery. If you hashtag your name and no one knows who you are, this will be only effective for internal reasons.
When it comes to hashtags, think keywords. When I say that don’t just stuff your post with the same 12 hashtags. Use hashtags that reinforce the copy in the photo’s caption/description. Otherwise, you’re at risk for shadow banning.
“Instagram is inundated with millions of hashtags. But not all hashtags will help you in increasing engagement with your manifold photos on Instagram. The popularity of hashtag is inversely proportional to your photo’s chances of getting discovered.” Gurpreet Singh [emphasis added]
Do your own research. Experiment yourself. Buy a subscription to Union Metrics or use their free Instagram check tool.
Trust your gut. What do you click on?
Instagram for Business
Here’s an interview video with Amy Dononhue from March of 2015. (This post was written originally posted June 25, 2015).