Understanding Instagram hashtags to grow your business.

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When Instagram launched in 2010, everyone knew that it had the potential to be great, which was proved by the fact that it had one million users in the first two months. As of 2020, it had 1 billion users, more than 500 million active daily users, sharing a total of 8.95 million photos and videos a day. 

For most people, that’s all that Instagram is used for, however there are some, namely celebrities, that use Instagram to make a lot of money. They do this through posting promotional content, and a relatively famous celebrity can earn as much as $722,000 per post. Celebrities such as Kylie Jenner on the other hand, makes an average of $1,266,000 per post. 

This is possible due to the vast amount of people that use Instagram, and unfortunately most businesses don’t have these kinds of budgets to promote their content. An alternative method for a business to reach a larger audience, especially the likes of Instagram’s, is to use hashtags, and the best part is that they’re free. 

What are they?

Hashtags were first used by Chris Messina on Twitter, and quickly became popular. They were first used on Instagram in 2011, and were embraced very quickly as a way to organize posts. Hashtags are essentially the symbol #, followed by a combination of numbers, letters, emojis etc. 

They are used primarily to organize content, as well as making it more discoverable. In addition to this, hashtags are clickable, which means that if an Instagram user were to click on your hashtag, any post that uses that specific hashtag would be presented on a page. 

In case you were thinking that hashtags aren’t that important, about 125 million hashtags are used a day by Twitters 328 million active daily users, and with Instagram having 500 million daily active users, that number is probably much higher. 

How do I find the right hashtags?

In case you are wondering how to effectively use hashtags, it’s important to know the various kinds of hashtags for engagement. Here is a list of a few; niche hashtags, industry Instagram community hashtags, product or service hashtags, daily hashtags, relevant phrase hashtags and acronym hashtags. 

When using a hashtag, it should be relevant to whatever it is you’re posting about, and even better, you can see which hashtags are used the most often, which should give you a good idea how effective the reach will be. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but the generally preferred number to use is about 11. The problem is that creating a list for each post can take a lot of time, which is why there are alternative methods available for those in a hurry. 

This is where a service like Task Ant can come in very handy. Task Ant allows you to not only save sets of hashtags to easily copy to Instagram, but also suggests hashtags to use, shows the popularity for each hashtag, and which got the most engagement. This is incredibly helpful if you post very often and would like to take advantage of the reach hashtags can provide. 

Can I just use the most popular hashtags?

You might think that would be the easiest, but one of the problems that popular hashtags have is that they are occasionally used for inappropriate content. When that happens, Instagram might ban the hashtag, and as a result, no new recent posts will be shown, only the top posts. 

Another thing to take into consideration is the use of the same hashtags again and again. Instagram’s guidelines state that repetitive comments or content is not accepted, and the algorithm will not hesitate to make your content less discoverable. 

The viral hashtags

Viral hashtags are essentially hashtags that have become incredibly popular, and are mostly seen used in association with social justice movements, such as #BLM or #MeToo. As a result of this popularity and reach, companies have realized that viral hashtags are an incredibly important factor in marketing, which is why many run hashtag campaigns in order to promote brand awareness, boost followers or launch new products. 

One of the most successful examples was the #NationalFriedChickenDay by KFC, when the company realized the hashtag was related to their brand. 

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