14 Hashtag Dos and Don’ts for Instagram

Hashtag Hell and Heaven for Instagram
Hashtags are the lifeblood of Instagram. Everybody uses them liberally to get their photos and videos noticed.

As an Instagram marketer however, you need to be mindful of the way hashtags work. Use them the right way and you’ll be well on your way to stardom. Use them wrongly, however, and you’ll find yourself losing followers faster than Bruce Wayne can say “Because I’m Batman!”

OK, enough of the bad jokes, let’s start with the dos.

Hashtag DOs

1) Take the time to research the best hashtags associated with your industry. Learn how they are used by seeing how the most engaging Instagram accounts use them.

2) Participate in the use of hashtags to spread your message to a broad audience. Don’t just use hashtags liberally on your post – go and visit others who use the same hashtags and like or comment on their posts!

3) Check to see who else in your niche or industry is using that specific hashtag. Follow them. For example, check out these Instagram accounts and hashtags if you are running photography businesses.

4) Be cautious when creating new hashtags. Monitor how they are being used by others, and ensure that they are not hijacked by irate individuals or competitors who are out to create havoc.

5) Create hashtags that are brief, easily understood and simple.

6) If unsure, check out websites that track trending hashtags. Examples of such online tools include RebelMouse, Tagboard, and Hashtracking. Use these resources to see which hashtags would work better for you and which ones suck.

7) Long tail hashtags (ie niche and focused on your industry) may work better than popular short tail hashtags. While there may be a lot more people attracted to hashtags like #foodporn #OOTD and others of their ilk, there are also plenty more images for you to compete with.

Hashtag DON’Ts

1) Avoid hashtags that are negatively trending for the wrong reasons. Hijacking these hashtags will not do your brand any good unless you are crystal clear about how you turn the situation around.

2) Overly popular hashtags (like #fastfood) are way too open to be any use. These are not useful for marketing purposes as your post WILL get pushed down quickly on the hashtag’s page amidst the deluge of posted content.

3) Do not create hashtags that could possibly be interpreted in a negative manner. Organisations that have skeletons in the closet should be mindful that they could be used by haters to troll your organisation. An example of hashtags that were wrongly used are the #McDStories used by McDonald’s which was appropriated by irate consumers to spread negative goodwill.

4) Do not use hashtags with brand names that do not belong to you, in a bid to redirect their traffic to your Instagram image. Doing so is not only unprofessional – it also puts your brand in a bad light.

5) Hashtags should be used with care. While you can add up to 30, it isn’t recommended to have so many as it could give the impression that you are desperate. Anywhere between 2 to 10 would work better.

6) Avoid using acronyms that nobody knows about in your hashtags. On Instagram, few users will bother to decipher what it means.

7) Witty hashtags like #myhashtagisbetterthanyours are cute as jokes for individuals. However, there isn’t a place for them on Instagram accounts owned by brand. Remember the adage – the harder you try, the harder you fall.

What other examples of hashtag heaven – and hell – are you aware of?



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