What some of us once knew as the pound symbol on phones that plugged into walls, has now become a widely-used, highly-effective tool with which to cultivate and grow your digital audience. Hashtags make you searchable, i.e. they allow you to be found in a vast sea of content where you otherwise might have floated unnoticed.
But with so many options, how do you know which hashtags will be the most useful for promoting your content?
Let’s start with the golden rule: Make sure all of your hashtags are relevant to your topic, your brand and your target demo. You don’t want to get flagged as a spammer because you’re tagging photos of your latest successful project with #selenagomez.
Next, do a little research. What hashtags are being used by similar brands publishing similar content? Leverage the work your competition has already done in order to tap into a wider, established audience.
Finally, get creative. Play with the popular hashtags for your subject matter in order to create something unique, but still relevant. What makes your content different? Why is your perspective special? Humorous hashtags (when appropriate), e.g. #winnerwinnerchickendinner, can be highly effective.
So, what’s the smart balance between popular and more specific hashtags? You want to be found, but not buried under a tonne of relevant content. You want to tap into new demographics, while still maintaining your core audience. There is no trick, you’re just going to have to experiment a little. Don’t be afraid of a little trial and error, you’ll find your sweet spot.
In the end, the right mix of hashtags will represent your topic in an authentic manner, accurately reflect your brand, engage established and new followers, and help you to stand out in the IG crowd.