This post was written by the magnificent Stephanie Hyde, a littleBIG Marketing & PR Account Executive with a special knack for influencer marketing and social media. 

If your Instagram account isn’t feeling the love, it’s time to consider boosting your hashtag game.

Thinking strategically about your content pillars and developing a hashtag library is one of the easiest ways to increase engagement to your brand’s account, and it’s a great way to connect with consumers who might not have previously known about your product/service.

Forbes article ‘Big Mistake: Making Fun Of Hashtags Instead Of Using Them’ sums up the importance of having your #HashtagGameStrong by noting that “when individuals use a hashtag, engagement can increase as much as 100%; brands could get an increase of 50%. The reason for this is because a hashtag immediately expands the reach of your post beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.”

But how do you ensure you’re finding and using the right hashtags? We’ve broken down some helpful tips for you to follow below…

  • Monitor trends and do your research

Check out Instagram’s ‘top trending’ hashtags. These #’s can throw you into a large feed that consumers are already searching for, and are great for increasing engagement (likes and comments) on your posts. However, don’t just use them for the sake of it. It’s important to ensure that the ‘top trending’ hashtags are relevant to your brand and the image you’re posting.

Consider celebration days and keep a calendar so you can hashtag strategically in conjunction with them. For example, with Mother’s Day coming up, you could hashtag #MothersDayGifts in the lead-up as Instagram users may be looking for inspiration and you’re strategically reaching potential consumers through this hashtag.

Research competitors and relevant influencers and note down what they’re hashtagging. This is another great way to push your content into the feed of consumers from your ideal target market.

  • Don’t worry about the number of hashtags you use

Did you know interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags? Hashtags were invented by us (the user) through our obsession with categorising our interests into specific areas (who doesn’t love Pinterest for this?!).

Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, and by using the maximum amount you can extend your reach into a variety of categories that your target market may be interested in and searching for. Using maximum hashtags also increases your chance of increasing followers at a quicker rate than those who don’t use hashtags.

  • Use online tools which are designed to help you succeed

Online sites such as Hastagify.me and All Hashtag will help you build a solid hashtag library with minimal effort. Simply type in an area of interest and it’ll come back to you with relevant hashtags that you can note down to use on your posts. 

You can also use sites such as Tagboard to monitor hashtags across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and see all recent content using that hashtag.

  • Create a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your hashtags

We’re a little bit spreadsheet obsessed when it comes to social media planning here at littleBIG and we find that it’s easiest to organise hashtags into ‘Brand’, ‘Trend’ and ‘Content’ sections to ensure we’re covering all bases.

Brand hashtags are hashtags that are specific to your business. E.g. #CatProtectionSocietyVictoria or #WinemakersOfRutherglen.

Trend hashtags are hashtags that are currently trending in your industry. E.g. Clean eating and vegan-related tags are really popular for our client Australian Blueberries.

Content hashtags are hashtags that are relevant to the image you’re posting. E.g. If it’s an image of Blueberry Biscuits referring to a recipe in the copy, then we would hashtag #HealthyRecipe, #HealthyBiscuits, #CleanRecipe, etc.