First, keep in mind that if your account is set to private, you cannot expect any gains from hashtags. The reason being that Instagram users can't discover your page if it isn't made public, which beats the purpose of social media marketing.
There are different kinds of Instagram hashtags—understanding how they work and are used will help you get the right results. These categories of hashtags include:
These, as their name suggests, are hashtags that are peculiar to certain communities. It means that Instagrammers use such hashtags to either foster a community or make it easy for like-minded individuals to find them or their content.
For instance, if you're a blogger, using the hashtag #Blogger will help you find other people who have previously used the same hashtag.
Examples of community hashtags:
Hashtags including the type of products or services you render; #bookshops #gymwears
Hashtags explaining your niche in your industry, i.e., the exact thing you do for a living. These hashtags will either help you find people operating in the same industry, or aid in finding clients who could use your services. #travelblogger #copywriter
Hashtags for special events #Independence #Valentine
Hashtags that involve the use of abbreviations #TBT #tgif
Hashtags that combine phrases explaining what you do #bagmaking #musicmaking
It's important to remember that you must explore different types of hashtags without going out of context. These tags can expand your reach to a lot of people.
You may also decide to come up with your own unique tag, otherwise called a branded hashtag.
When choosing your tag, you have to make sure no one is already using it. This hashtag should be about your business, resonating deep with your audience.
So, what actually do branded hashtags do for you? For one, they make it easier for prospects and customers/clients to find content related to your brand.
These hashtags don't have to be elaborate or complicated; they can be something as simple as your brand name and the type of products you sell. They may also be words you like using—words that are unique to you or your brand/business.
And when you come up with your unique hashtag, don't forget to encourage your followers to use your hashtags when necessary. This way, it becomes easy to get noticed by people who were unaware of your brand.
So, you can say that hashtags, especially branded ones, are a direct means of creating awareness for your brand or products/services.
5 ways to find the best hashtags for your Instagram post
A lot of people make a big mistake when it comes to hashtags on Instagram. We often assume that the most popular hashtags are going to be the most beneficial in terms of engagement.
This is a very wrong assumption; hashtags don't usually work like this. You don't get the engagement you desire from using the most popular tags. Instead, you should try using hashtags that are more specific to your niche, community, and content.
How can you find these hashtags?
See what your competitors are doing: To have a better idea of the best hashtags to use, you may need to check out what people and brands in your industry are doing. You can always study your competitor’s strategy to know what's working for them, though you don't have to employ the same, exact tactics. Studying them only points you in the right direction.
Know your audience: Pasting random hashtags at the end of your captions isn’t what gives you the visibility and engagement you desire. You have to know exactly what works and do away with what doesn’t. So the real question is how do you discover what works. Simple—know who your target audiences are and what they're looking for.
Knowing these two gives you a perfect idea of the right keywords to use. These specific keywords will help you come up with the right hashtags, quickly creating a catalog that makes it easy for new and existing viewers to find you.
Study influencers: There are so many influencers in your industry; these people are very well established and they already know how the industry works. One idea would be to follow top-rated influencers to stay up-to-date with their latest strategies, learning a thing or two along the way.
Check your related tags: For every time you use an appropriate hashtag, you can always find several other related tags. Exploring these relevant keywords gives you a chance to uncover exactly what your ideal customer may be looking for, or what type of hashtags other people and brands in your industry are using.
Know what type of hashtags your audience engages with: One sure way to know whether or not a hashtag is going to work for you is, by checking your analytics to know how your previous hashtags are doing. When you have a perfect idea of how these things work, you get to discover or guess other related hashtags that could give you the same result.
It’s one thing to know that hashtags work well for your engagement, it’s a different thing to know how to use them, and another thing to know how to optimize them.
Getting in the top spots for a particular hashtag is something that can be really great for your business. Showing up on the Explore page can help you drive more traffic to your business site, helping potential consumers to discover your page.
But how can you get there? Well, there's no magic to this thing, what Instagram does is this;
As soon as you publish a post, once it drives a certain level of engagement (especially a few minutes after making the post), it signals to Instagram that your post must be of great quality. This results in even more reach and engagement because the algorithm automatically believes that your post is worth seeing by other people.
This is how you wake up one morning to see your post on the Explore page. All you have to do is work on the engagement of your Instagram posts.