The Hashtag Game!

“It’s easier than it sounds.”Instagram is much different than other social networks when it comes to business. It’s less about who’s following you and more about who you’re following. In other words, people like to follow people who follow them. (If you’ve been on Instagram before, then you probably understand this) So, if you want to accumulate a massive amount of like minded, relevant followers, then it’s absolutely vital that you follow them as first... That said, the following steps and tools are recommended tactics based on research that have been conducted in the creation of this book.  What are Hashtags? We all know that hashtags originated from Twitter and then they quickly became part of each social media channel. It is safe to say that at this point, Instagram hashtag density has become much greater than many other platforms as a result of companies realizing the success of their Instagram marketing.

One of the most effective ways people find content and contributors on Instagram is via hashtags, with at least one Instagram hashtag the average user gains 12.6% more engagement than on a posts without a hashtag. Instagram Hashtags are one of the most effective ways to grow your Instagram account. By using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) it will increase the exposure of your brand to large and targeted audiences. In fact, your chances of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement are vastly increased by the use of hashtags!

Types of hashtags Many of you may not know this but there are actually two different types of hashtags and understanding the difference and their corresponding audiences can help you develop a more effective Instagram hashtag strategy:

1.Branded Hashtags:What is a branded hashtag you might be asking, this type of hashtag is one that’s unique to your business. For example when I post a particular image I usually add the hashtag below #creativeinkstudio what this does is personalize my images and if I run a campaign or if person want to find me it’s far easier for them to do so. Your branded hashtag can be as simple as your company name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. Or it can be a hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand name, but has everything to do with your brand identity.Branded hashtags are designed to connect themes for you and your audience. They can be used to promote a campaign or aggregate user-generated content. 2. Community Hashtags: Community hashtags are hashtags that connect like-minded users around a specific subject, such as #ihavethisthingwithdecor or #wedding.  These types of hashtags are a great way to connect with others, improve your posts, gain followers, and grow your own little community. The best way to find these community-oriented hashtags is by looking to see which hashtags your audience, or favorite accounts, are already using. The narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged the users are. How to find the best Hashtags For you! It’s important to be strategic about your hashtag usage, while tagging #love and #happy may get you a few more likes than usual; it’s not going to do much for your growth in the long run so instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to search and find top hashtags that has an engaging community and are specific to your niche. You can do this by:

Researching Your Audience: Throwing random hashtags at the end of your Instagram posts isn’t going to grow your audience. Instead, find out what hashtags your audience is using and see which ones fit the content that you’re publishing. Your hashtags should be relevant and contain keywords that users are actually searching for. Researching Your Competitors: It’s always smart to find out what hashtags your competitors are using. By doing so, you can determine which hashtags provide the most engagement.While it may not be your intention to compete on those hashtags, you could still end up figuring out what your potential customers are talking about and which hashtags they’re using. And maybe you’ll discover new hashtags to add to your repertoire! Researching Industry Leaders: Another approach to finding hashtags are by following Instagram Influencers by using their hashtags once it’s within your niche. Social Influencers are basically the people that tend to perform exceptionally well on Instagram. Every industry has its respective key influencers your job is to find out who these people are in your niche and piggyback on their success. There is no rule that says you can’t do it so now is your time to take advantage of it. These people are already well-established with your target audience, so why not learn from the best?

Regardless of what you might have heard, Instagram hashtags do still work! Using Instagram hashtags strategically is still a great way to connect with customers, find content created about you by your followers, and build long-term relationships with influential partners! Hopefully these new rules for using Instagram hashtags have sparked some new ideas that you can begin to implement around your own hashtag strategy!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re being intentional with your hashtag selection and you’re using hashtags that your target audience is searching for and following.

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