5 HASHTAG MISTAKES TO AVOID
Hashtags are all the rage these days.
Popular social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter utilize hashtags by helping people and brands gain more followers, engage with more communities, and attract the right audience to profiles and posts. And, if hashtags are actually used correctly, they can really take your social media game to the next level.
Hashtags originally started on Twitter and have since migrated to Instagram and even Facebook. Instagram has been gaining in popularity for the past couple of years, making hashtags a key component to its popularity and social media presence. A large Instagram following with an active and engaged group of followers creates great brand awareness, builds new partnerships, and helps you land the clientele of your dreams.
But first, you have to get noticed.
In order to get your Instagram noticed, there are definitely some rules to follow when it comes to using hashtags. So let’s start with the basics…
WHAT EXACTLY ARE HASHTAGS?
Hashtags are the words and phrases that precede the “#” symbol that are found on different social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. These tags, when clicked on, lead you to libraries full of content (pictures, tweets, videos, etc) that contain a certain hashtag.
You can only hashtag words and phrases without any spaces. For example, #scarymovie vs. #scary movie will have two completely different libraries as the first one will contain both “scary” and “movie” and the second one will only have content for the word “scary."
Instagram also has some rules when it comes to using hashtags:
- You can only use 30 hashtags per post
- There is no swearing or using profanity in hashtags as these posts are often removed
- Private pages using hashtags won't show up in hashtag libraries, which are public
- In addition to spaces, special characters ($ ! &, etc) won't show up in hashtags either
- And you can only hashtag your own posts
Overall, hashtags are a great social media marketing tool that you should be using to grow your account. In order to fully utilize their power, you should definitely be avoiding these 5 hashtag mistakes.
MISTAKE #1: YOU HASHTAG EVERY WORD YOU CAN THINK OF
Ever read those captions where people hashtag every single word under the sun? I'm talking about the ones with hashtag like #instagram #food #eat #clothes #icecream #it #the #monday #fun #happy #a #you etc etc. It's annoying right? And turns out, when you do this, it does absolutely nothing to get your post and profile seen.
When you hashtag something that's super broad and popular in Instagram, it gets lumped into a hashtag library that has hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of other pictures. Once your image goes in there, it's lost in the mix as fast as you can say "sayonara" . So instead of hashtagging more general words and phrases, you should be using more specific and niche hashtags in order to get more bang for your buck.
For example, instead of hashtagging #shoes, you should instead use #runningshoes or #shoeaddict to get your posts seen by more people for a longer period of time.
MISTAKE #2: YOU DON’T DO YOUR RESEARCH
Depending on what genre your Instagram is in, whether that's fitness, food, interiors, design, fashion, etc, there are certain hashtags that work well within each sector. So do your research!
Start taking notice of what other accounts in your same genre are tagging, what are the hashtags of the well-known brands you follow, what are some up and coming hashtags that are gaining popularity? A great way to do this is by making a note in your phone of the top hashtags in your field. Keep updating and referencing this note as your account changes. Then, when you go to post a photo in Instagram, you can easily copy and paste from this note and save yourself some time (and brain juice).
MISTAKE #3: YOU PLACE ALL YOUR HASHTAGS IN THE CAPTION
This one is a quick-fix. Instead of placing your hashtags in your actual caption (even if you add the line breaks), try placing them in the first comment. This will keep your captions clean while hiding the hashtags since the current Instagram algorithm hides all of the comments until you hit the gray "comments" link. And don't worry, placing them in the first comment will still tag that photo, but with a more refined and less-spammy feel.
MISTAKE #4: YOU USE HASHTAGS OUT OF CONTEXT
Say you just posted a photo of your morning coffee and started to hashtag different phrases that are completely out of context like #justdoit #yogaeverydamnday or #gymrat. These hashtags make ZERO sense with the picture you just posted.
I see this mistake all too often. Make sure your hashtags go along with your photo. If someone is checking out a certain hashtag library, they expect to find photos that pertain to that tag. If they don't, you just wasted a chance to gain a new like, follower, or comment. Choose wisely.
MISTAKE #5: YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR OWN HASHTAG
A lot of people and businesses will create their own unique hashtag that become synonymous with their brand. Think Nike and #justdoit, Well + Good and #iamwellandgood, or The Wellness Rookie and #GIRLGETAFTERIT. These brands and companies have created a hashtag that is unique to them and one that lots of people know about. Therefore, these people will use the hashtag on their own post, which results in more user-generated content.
You can even create unique hashtags for events that are going on or certain giveaways that are happening, which act as an easy way for people to stay connected and build brand awareness.
As you can see, hashtags are such an amazing tool when using Instagram. Not only do they build brand awareness, but they create online communities with engaging and relevant content. If you follow these tips and avoid these five hashtagging mistakes, your Instagram will finally get the traffic it deserves.
What are your favorite hashtags? Comment below and let me know!