I have had hashtags that have inspired me to write a whole post.
They are useful labels used on social media sites that make it easier to find information with a theme or that relates to specific content. If I see a relevant one trending, I won’t hesitate to use it if it fits my niche and storytelling flow. Hashtagging can encourage social media users to explore new content that catches their eye.
However, the tricky part when considering using hashtags as part of your content is that there are, literally, thousands of books and articles out there on how to use them – often offering completely different views and tips on how to effectively use hashtagging. So, yes, it can make it very difficult to decide which approach to take.
When it comes to Instagram, some hashtagging rules can make or break your post. If you get it wrong, you could be automatically slowing down all your efforts, while implementing your content strategy, to reach more people and grow your channel.
Even if you don’t make use of hashtags as much as you should, it is worth knowing these universal hashtagging mistakes to cut out from your Instagram routine – before Instagram cuts away at your content.
Lack of synchrony
“Vary your hashtags based on the image/content description e.g. industry, location, sentiment, brand, campaign. Create a group of hashtags for each kind of post and keep it handy.
Always look to see if a tag exists – if so, research how big it is and who uses it. Avoid using big tags because then there is a very small chance your picture will be seen.
Mimi Banks – Founder www.mimibsocial.com
Unnecessarily long hashtags
“When it comes to hashtagging, brevity really is the soul of wit. Hashtags should be considered brief rather than short. Essentially, they should distill the point of the post into an easily digestible and readily memorable term. Using long hashtags makes it hard to post something slightly different that still resonates with our audience, and it also makes it hard to grab the customer’s attention.”
Michael Nemeroff – Founder at www.rushordertees.com
Ignoring hashtags your audience follows
“We mostly use hashtags on our company pages on LinkedIn and Instagram. For each, we really focus on what our prospective clients (financial advisors) would be searching for. So, even though we’re sharing content about digital marketing, instead of tagging our posts with things like #SEO #digitalmarketing, etc. we include hashtags like #wealthmanagement and #financialplanning. Those hashtags are more likely to be ones our specific audience is following.”
Samantha Russell – Chief Marketing Officer at www.twentyoverten.com
“From what I’ve learned, putting far too many hashtags on your posts can do more harm than good. Not only are they a time-waster, but you’re also confusing the platform’s algorithm. Additionally, consumers find it rather distasteful to see brands spam hashtagging like there’s no tomorrow. So, this spamming could get you quite a lot of negative publicity.
The bottom line is: Some social media platforms only detect the first few hashtags on your post so you have to make those count.”
Aaron Simmons – Blogger at www.testprepgenie.com
Repeating the same hashtags
“The most common error conducted by companies, and not just on Instagram, is repeated usage of the same hashtags. It is not only irritating to those who follow you but also restricts your distance. If you get too comfortable with the same hashtags and don’t bother exploring new ones, why would your audience bother getting involved with you?
Constantly explore and modify common hashtags. Hashtags are meant to be fresh, relevant, and entertaining, and help you meet a wider audience.”
Ayesha Holloman – Founder at outdoor living guide www.outdoorish.com
Maxing out your hashtag allowance
“Platforms, such as Instagram, allow users to add up to 30 hashtags. But just because you’re allowed to, doesn’t mean you have to! Sometimes the platform perceives it as spamming and sometimes users may feel like it is just too much and gets turned off. Make your use of hashtags simple and efficient without disturbing anyone.
Also, stay away from generic hashtags. There are 617 million posts on Instagram for #photography. However, for a photographer who happens to have a niche in Portrait Photography, that individual could use #PortraitPhotography. #PortraitPhotography only has 44 million posts, as for someone directly interested in portrait photography that would be a go-to hashtag to search for rather than just #photography.
Can Ahtam – Influencer campaign manager and photographer at www.canahtam.com
Lack of consistency
“We make sure our hashtags are unique and no one accidentally uses it for spam or to gain exposure for the wrong reasons. We also use our hashtags consistently, even on blogs/vlogs, for SEO purposes. Very important: check if the hashtags you are using are correctly spelled – one wrong spelling and Instagram might tag it as spam content.”
Daisy Jing – Youtuber and Founder at www.banish.com
Forgetting to include your location
“One very simple, yet effective, way to utilise your hashtag and promote your business is to ensure you are including your location. This allows people who are viewing your work to understand where you are based, so you are only getting real leads to work.
You also want to think of a branded hashtag, along with your company name. This can reach a wider audience than just the business name.
Research is important. You want to make sure that the hashtags you are using are not linked to something else. This can mean your post is lost in the madness of hashtags and pages. Stand out by ensuring you are looking at the market and using this to your advantage.
Jamie Downes – CEO at www.airconditioningwales.co.uk
Not taking time to engage with your hashtags
“Hashtags are living, breathing content lanes. Many people think their work is complete after the post goes live, but it’s the opposite. The real work begins! Choose your hashtags based on the mindset of your audience, not only the content of your post. Also, once the post goes live, click each hashtag and take the time to engage with recent posts. This can spark interest and drive organic traffic back to your profile.”
Altimese Nichole – Founder of The Ezer Agency
Not tailoring your number of hashtags to a platform
“Hashtags are useful for gaining exposure and reaching new audiences. The number of hashtags I use depends on the platform. I typically implement the following: Instagram 5-7, Facebook 0-2, Twitter 1-3, LinkedIn 0-1. On all platforms, I use current/trending hashtags or geo-location specific hashtags. Users look at the hashtags of a destination or place to gain more of an understanding of what they might experience or find there.”
Amanda Moore – Sr. Manager of Integrated Marketing and Partnerships at www.marinelife.org
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