August 14, 2020

#hashtags: why, when, and how to use them.

A "how-to" kit on #hashtags: why, when, and how to use them.

How to use hashtags

Have you ever wondered why using these waffle-shaped symbols are important? Well, today we are going to tell you why and show you how to use them effectively.

Hashtags are used to organize photos and videos. They function like search keywords. Let's elaborate: when a certain # is linked to a post that post gets categorized. Think of it as a massive library. Every book is an individual text however similar books are grouped. So if you're a fantasy lover you can just walk up to the fantasy section and peruse the books you're interested in. If you found an autobiography between them it would be considered a placement error. The same goes for hashtags. Every post is unique but gets indexed in a certain bracket through the hashtags that are used. This helps content become searchable or discoverable by users. But if an unfit hashtag is used your content ends up in the thriller section when it's really a children's book. Because of this, it is paramount to use hashtags that are relevant to your post's content and that will reach your target audience. You don't want to be a romantic novel ending up in the nature section. A good starting point is asking the following questions:

1. What brand am I trying to sell?

2. To whom am I talking?

3. What are the trending hashtags and why?

After answering there are two routes you can follow:

Route 1: Be specific. Hashtags are great tools to reach your niche market. There are astonishingly defined and detailed hashtags out there. So when you are deciding what # to use in a marketing post be sure to first do in-depth research on possible hashtags that best fit your audience and product. A good way of doing this is seeing what your competitors are hashtagging and what the market leaders use. Instagram's algorithm is created in such a way that it adds posts to users' explore pages that link to what they liked based on the hashtags of previous posts they double-tapped or searched. The more narrow the hashtag - the more defined the audience. The key here is user-engagement. Are you going to attract those who are truly interested in what you are offering?

Route 2: Be trendy. Use the most popular hashtags of the day - and yes the answer is only a Google search away! After you've looked up "The 25 most popular hashtags today" you can go nitpick through them and identify the most relevant ones. Bear however in mind that using popular but broad hashtags like #love might not be as effective as one would hope. Remember all of these posts fall into a category based on the hashtags that accompany them. This could lead to your post being muddled up between thousands of others! Yes, you might get a couple of extra random likes but are these really the invested clients you are looking for? Don't just go for trending hashtags focus on their relevance as well.

After you've finally identified the right hashtags you need to be sure not to use too many in your post to overwhelm or crowd the caption. Luckily there are tricks! A popular go-to move is hiding them deep under the rest of the caption. So when a scroller sees a cool post they'll need to click the "more" button and then the hashtags will reveal themselves. However, creating a clean-cut space between your caption and hashtags is a tricky endeavour on Instagram. Or at least it was - now you have us!

Do not write the caption directly on Instagram. Write it beforehand in your phone's Note app. Where you want breaks paste invisible spaces inside brackets [⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀]. Paste it multiple times if you want to add more than one line break and then remove the brackets. Instagram captions cap off after 3 lines so you need to add at least 5 spaces to truly "hide" your hashtags. Copy and paste into Instagram and voila!

You can also add symbols in the line breaks like periods, dashes, or asterisks. Scheduling apps like can also be helpful as the latest version of the program formats the text onto the platform exactly how you wrote it. The GramSpacer app is also an easy route to follow. Download the app, type your caption in it, and copy it over to Instagram.

Burying the hashtags at the end of the caption is not the only way to use them fruitfully. A fun way of incorporating hashtags is by adding them to the caption itself. This adds a quirky edge to any caption. If you don't feel like adding hashtags in your caption that's fine too! You can write your hashtags in the comment section.

Lastly, be sure to create a unique hashtag for your business! Something recognizable that is specially designed for you. An author's signature of sorts!


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