The Debate on Hashtags – Are They Worth Using?
For many years, hashtags on Instagram were important in helping brands increase their reach, engagement and overall brand awareness, but now – are hashtags dead?
Despite Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri announcing that hashtags on IG posts don’t really help you get more views, we still believe when used correctly, hashtags can STILL be effective.
Why? Because we use them every day for our clients, test them, analyze them if they’re working and YES we still get new eyes on our content from hashtags.
Here is the most effective strategy below (and yes this could change again with an algorithm update…smh).
Only use 3-6 hashtags on each of your posts
According to co-founder of Social Media Today, Adina Jipa, accounts with 50K to 1 million followers saw a decrease in post engagement when using more than 3-5 hashtags in their captions and smaller accounts with 5K to 10K followers saw a decrease in engagement when using more than 5-6.
It sounds crazy – we know, but say goodbye to using 25-30 hashtags on your posts if you want to increase your brand’s engagement and reach.
Use the right hashtags for your target audience
You can’t expect to grow your audience if you don’t target them correctly so do your research! It wouldn’t make sense for a men’s barbershop in San Diego to use location hashtags that aren’t near or in the area, for instance, hashtagging places like #NewYork or #Chicago when they don’t relate to the brand. But remember, these hashtags can be used if you can relate it back to your content!
It’s important to know your audience’s wants and needs too, so think efficiently when it comes to hashtag creation, especially because you’re only using a handful of hashtags on your new content.
Mix niche hashtags with popular hashtags
Intertwining niche hashtags with popular hashtags gives you a better chance of reaching new audiences, according to Instagram. Doing this allows you to target specific people in your audience, while also targeting people who are interested in broader topics too.
For example, if you’re a men’s barbershop based in San Diego a niche-specific hashtag could be #sandiego or #barbershop more broad hashtags that you may use are #sandiegobarbershop or #sandiegobarbers.
Checking a hashtag’s search volume number can also help you determine what hashtags are used more often than others, allowing you to choose both niche and popular hashtags for your posts.
Although there isn’t a set number that differentiates a broad hashtag from a niche hashtag, broad hashtags are generally defined as having 500,000 – 1 million posts and niche hashtags are those with less than 500,000 posts.
So…are hashtags really dead? Ultimately – that’s up for you to decide. When used effectively, hashtags can help your average engagement rate, but only to a certain extent so don’t waste time working on a hashtag bank to help increase the distribution of your posts!