Ever wonder why your recent Instagram posts have not been performing how they used to?
A lot of people would be quick to blame the algorithm for changing once again, but when was the last time you researched the performance of your hashtags for social media?
You see, for Instagram, hashtags are the make or break moment for your growth strategy! It’s how you introduce your content to new eyes.
Instagram hashtags need research, and it’s not something you can set and forget. Treat Instagram as a search engine, what keywords people are searching for is forever changing so you need to change with it!
Don’t even get us started on Instagrams list of banned hashtags.
So, how do you know which hashtags to use for your accounts?
1. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH SOCIAL MEDIA
You know the drill, everything done well in marketing is backed up by research, and that includes your Instagram hashtags.
Something we regularly find is business owners and Instagram account managers know they have to include hashtags with their posts but do not actually know why.
Instagram is a search engine primarily and used in just the same way as Google. People on Instagram will search for a topic or product they are looking for and by using the correct hashtags that your target market is searching for, will appear in front of new potential customers.
Let’s say you are posting about dogs, but you have a set of hashtags for marketing and networking or sales; this isn’t putting your content in front of the right audience so you’re not going to do very well in your growth strategy.
Don’t be afraid to test your hashtags but always ensure that they are related to what your target audience would be searching for.
There are many self-proclaimed life-changing hashtag generators out there, but in our opinion, the best way to test your hashtags is at the source. Jump into the Instagram Search Function and search your keyword. Now scroll over to the Tags tab and you will see exactly how many posts have used each hashtag.
Now here’s the tricky part. You should be using a mix of large scale and small scale hashtags. A few large scale hashtags to make sure your content is located among the many posts in these topics, but also a lot of small scale, search specific hashtags, so people can find your products easily.
HOT TIP: For a more detailed approach to Instagram hashtags you can check out their article here.
2. CHECK OUT YOUR COMPETITORS
Another strategy from our forever-updating cheat sheet here at BidPixel.
Remember how we talked about social listening in the previous blog? Well if you haven’t read that yet, you should. You can check it out here.
This strategy gets you to check out your top competitors and see what social media hashtags they might be using. Now, here is where you need to be careful.
Your competitors might be fluking the hashtag game so you need to be tactful and apply our first tip and research each hashtag you are going to use from this strategy.
This will ensure that your strategy is foolproof and Instagram-algorithm friendly. You want to keep ol’Instagram your ally as they have been more recently known to play favourites instead of fair.
3. UPDATE FREQUENTLY
There is no cookie-cutter approach to hashtags but you need to be doing research and updating them as your market changes.
As consumers’ search keywords change, you need to change with it to make sure you aren’t left behind.
You need to be researching and revisiting this once a month to make sure you are on top of your game. This doesn’t mean you need to change all of your hashtags once a month! But, just keep an eye on their performance and if you see any trending changes in your industry, add these to your hashtags.
Another reason to keep an eye on this is to avoid using banned hashtags. Every now and again Instagram releases an updated list of new banned hashtags that you need to avoid using.
Instagram does this to protect its users from spam, graphic material, nudity and other negative uses of the platform.
You can’t imagine how many bots or fake accounts Instagram have on their platform who use innocent hashtags directing to graphic content.
Overall, Instagram is a pretty powerful platform for small businesses if given the opportunity to be seen using the correct hashtags.
So, what are you waiting for?
If you find you need further help with your Instagram presence, follow us on social media @bidpixel where we post best practices and updates for businesses online. Or want to hear more about Digital Marketing Strategies for e-commerce? Head to our youtube channel here.
If you’re looking for experts to grow your business online for you, Book a Deep Dive Call with us!