For those of you not familiar with platforms like Instagram and Twitter, hashtags can sometimes be confusing but don’t be put off by them. There are a few different ways hashtags can be used on Instagram.

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The hashtag was invented as a label for groups and topics. By adding the ‘#’ sign before a string of text, you make that text easy to find in a search. The main purpose of hashtags is to act as labels for a topic or to filter a conversation.

Search tool

Hashtags are a way of searching all the posts on a specific topic. If you search the hashtag #handmade, millions of results will come up.

This means you can make your posts searchable too. If you are making handmade products consider tagging them with tags such as #handmade #handmadeaustralia etc.

Then anyone browsing through the posts with that tag will see your pictures as well. This expands your potential viewers way beyond your current network.

If you offer a service, think of the tags that might be relevant to your clients. If you offer financial advice, for example, it might be as simple as #money or  #moneyadvice.

Like keywords on your website, the best hashtags are the ones your ideal customers will be looking for.

Business Tags

It is a good idea to have a hashtag that you use when posting core work related images. For example, I often use the tag #artfulbizcon when I post images directly related to the Artful Business Conference. When I post and share lots of images that are about the event, shine light on the values that relate to the event and post images that will resonate with the target audience I use the hashtag #artfulbizcon. This means when someone comes across us for the first time they can search that tag (and you do this simply by pressing on it) and they can see at a glance what the event is about. You also see images posted by our past attendees which adds social proof to the event.

I make sure to promote the hashtag at the events and encourage people to use it then and throughout the year.

Other business tags work in the same way and can allow people to search images share by a business and their customers, sharing experiences with the event or product.

It can give a sense of community to online events.

Community Challenge Tags

There are loads of fun challenges being shared on Instagram, probably the most popular in Australia is the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day, with over 3,344,500 posts.

Blogger Chantelle simply posts a list each month of a daily word and users from around the world share their photos tagging #fmsphotoday

A crafty example is the #committobeingcreative challenge started by Vicki Sinclair in Brisbane. This is simple challenge to remind you to take 15 minutes out of the day to do something creative and for yourself. Vicki encourages you to share your pics – tagging them of course.

Competitions

Hashtags are a great way to get people to enter a competition or giveaway. It means you can easily search all the entries.

Be mindful of what tag you use, always be sure to see if it is being used by other people. It can be hard to find a totally unique tag so don’t worry if there are images being tagged that are unrelated to you.

DO CHECK THOUGH and be mindful of the types of images being posted under that tag before you use it. Some images are not what you want to be associating your business with.

Here are few examples of competition posts that use the power of #hashtags.


HOT TIP

Hashtags are great and can help you expand your following BUT be mindful not to offend or annoy the followers you already have. Loading your feed up with images tagged ten or more times looks silly and puts people off so be smart about how you use them. The rule we tend to follow is no more than three tags on each image.

There is no hard and fast rules though, so work out what is right for you and your followers.

This week’s assignment

Notice the hashtags being used by the businesses you are now following. Click through different hashtags and see if you find other interesting people to follow.

Now have a go at using a few. Come up with one or two tags that you could use regularly for your  business.

If you missed any in the series check them out here;

WEEK 1 – Getting Started

WEEK 2 – Building Connections

WEEK 3 – Building Engagement

WEEK 4 – Grow Your Following

WEEK 5 – Driving Traffic