How to Instagram like a boss – to hashtag or not to hashtag, that is the #question

by Fraser Clarke

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

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The photo sharing platform can be a powerful tool to grow your brand and engagement, with these tips from our PR agency.

PR agency shares tips on hashtagging on InstagramWE ALL have that annoying friend. You know the one. That one person who overshares on Instagram.

If it’s not a boring picture of their fish fingers and chips they had for dinner last night, it’s an inspirational quote popping up on your feed while you’re wedged into a seat on the last bus home from work with the rain lashing against the window.

They’re the ones who hashtag the life out of everything. In fact, it’s not unusual for them to regularly have more hashtags than likes on their photos.

Herein lies the issue. Do hashtags actually grow your following on Instagram and result in more engagement on your posts? Or are there more subtle ways you can go from zero to Instagram hero?


HASHTAGS

You get all sorts of different hashtaggers on social media. There’s the first-time social media users (embarrassing dads often fall into this category) who hashtag everything and sometimes even hashtag what they’ve just written, with no rhyme or reason. #NO #RHYME #OR #REASON.

Then there’s the people who use hashtags for irony or humour to prove a point. Sometimes this can be done to jump onto a popular phrase from culture. #BASIC

And then of course there are the classics like #ThrowbackThursday, #TBT, #MondayMotivation, #OOTD (for the uninitiated, that’s outift of the day, of course), you catch my drift. These are used to latch onto massively popular themes with the aim of driving people from across the world to your content.

As a business user, you’ll definitely want to do that so as many people have eyes on your product or service as possible. It’s also likely that you’ll see hashtags as a great way to get creative and clever to attract people to your posts.

However, a recent study found that the use of Instagram hashtags doesn’t actually increase engagement on posts.

So let’s look at other ways to drive more people to your pictures and video.


CHOOSE WISELY

When you post on Instagram, you can tag up to 20 accounts on a post.

While it may not be wise to flood a post with tags, it can be a crafty way to generate more engagement.

If you choose wisely, you can target users who’ll be interested in what you’re sharing and therefore may be more likely to comment on or like your post.

For example, if you’re sharing a post about an event in Edinburgh, it’s a great idea to find Edinburgh bloggers on Instagram to tag, or a quick search will show you fellow users who constantly share updates about Edinburgh life.


CONTENT IS KING

No matter what clever techniques you use or how many hashtags you drown your post in, it’s never going to save it if what you’re posting isn’t up to scratch.

So, first things first, make sure you’re photos or video are well thought out and presented. See our guide here for best practice in photography and video.

And then put some thought into when’s best to post. Research it. There’s a lot of it out there to wade through but it’s generally thought a post between 11am-1pm (that mid morning lull before lunchtime, when you might have a sneaky check of social media – don’t tell the boss) and 7-9pm (when you’re unwinding after a stressful day and scrolling through Instagram) are the best times to post.


USE INFLUENCERS

There’s little point in tagging Rihanna in your latest cosmetic surgery, as she’s never going to see it.

Likewise, there’s no point in letting David Beckham know about your company’s new store opening as there’s no chance old Goldenballs is going to share or comment on it.
Instead, look to the bloggers or smaller scale experts and influencers in your field and those users who have between 10,000 to 50,000 followers.

They’ll be far more likely to engage with what you do and it’s far better to have your posts seen by 50,000 people on a fairly niche Instagram page, than it is to tag a superstar celebrity and see it swallowed up with the thousands of other daily tags they receive.


SO SHOULD I HASHTAG OR NOT?

The answer is still yes. Hashtags remain an incredibly useful tool.

You can’t watch a sporting event or a TV show these days without the hashtag appearing, which shows they’re an extremely viable way of creating online communities and debates.

They can increase visibility of Instagram posts which can lead to a rise in brand awareness and ultimately sales.

But use them sensibly. Don’t overpower your posts with endless (and usually pointless) hashtags.

Likewise, don’t limit yourself only to hashtags. As we’ve shown here there are other, equally effective ways to get the most from your Instagram page and see your follower numbers soar.

After all, you don’t want your business to be seen as the embarrassing dad.

 

Find out how the social media experts at our award-winning PR agency could help your business to be an Instagram hero.

We know only too well how important Instagram for your business. Find out how we can help you become and Instagram hero by calling 0131 561 2244 or by taking a few seconds to complete and send the simple form below:

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Young PR professional Fraser Clarke, who works with public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Fraser Clarke

Young public relations professional Fraser Clarke is part of the multi award-winning team at Holyrood PR, a leading Scottish PR agency

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