Ah, hashtags. That symbol that was on every keyboard and phone suddenly became a big thing in the late-2000s… But where did the trend come from? And how do you find the best Instagram hashtags to boost your online presence?
First, a little history…
The hashtag as we know it today was actually started by a Twitter user named Chris Messina, and his proposal for it was initially seen as “too nerdy” by Twitter. About a month later, Twitter users themselves started using a hashtag (called the “pound sign” in telephone speak) to label an emergency fire in San Diego to spread information and awareness. In 2009, Twitter officially adopted hashtags into its platform — and in 2010, added a “Trending Topics” section along with ad space for it. And the rest is really history as Facebook and Instagram jumped onto the tactic as well.
What does a hashtag do?
A hashtag has gone from something unheard of to a label to mark social posts and content by. Users can search Instagram with hashtags to find specific things. Hashtags also are essential for brand campaigns to keep promotional content organized and consistent for users whose intent is to search and discover brands and content on Instagram.
What can the best Instagram hashtag do for your brand and business?
With the right phrases and terms, hashtags help filter your content to your target audience and niche. And that’s crucial for driving traffic and building up to conversions. Hashtags are also a way to brand your content. It’s estimated that a staggering 200 million users visit a business profile daily at some point— meaning hashtags are a must-have for your brand’s social media content.
How Instagram hashtags work
Any phrase you can imagine can become a hashtag. All you have to do is add a # symbol. When you tag a post of yours with a hashtag, the hashtag becomes a clickable link on Instagram. That’s how your post automatically joins a community of Instagram content with the same hashtag. Or, it could be a standalone post, depending on how unique the tag is.
How do I find the best Instagram hashtags?
It’s easy — just open Instagram and start typing away. Finding the right (and the best) hashtags always starts with research, and there are multiple ways to go about it!
Deep-dive on the Explore page
Anything you type in the search bar can populate a search result (it’s almost like Google). Obviously if you’re trying to find hashtags relevant to your brand, stick with hashtags that make sense — ex. #catlover or #catsofinstagram if you are a cat-item-based company.
Scope out competitors
Every brand has its competition — and every brand keeps eyes on what its competitors are doing. Having insight on industry competitors’ hashtags can help you understand what is trending and what gets attention in your niche.
Consider looking at influencers
Influencers are more practical when it comes to trying to find campaign or partnership hashtags, as their posts that are tied with brands are almost always promotional. However, influencers also sometimes utilize a wealth of trending hashtags to ensure their posts show up on the IG Explore page, so it may be helpful to look for influencers competitors use for their marketing or search for some on your own to get an understanding of hashtags.
Generators, to the rescue
You can utilize any of these (they’re free) for some help if manual searching on Instagram is a little tedious and tiring. Hashtag generators can sometimes come up with hashtags you weren’t even aware of.
Remember: the best Instagram hashtags are those that are unique (something only your brand has, whether by promo campaign or just a branded hashtag) or something that pertains to your product, service, or audience. With the right approaches to hashtag research, you will be able to tell what are the best Instagram hashtags for your brand and niche.
SUMMARY: Hashtags aren’t complicated, but require some research on your end to find the best Instagram hashtags — and particularly the best ones for your brand and what you sell. With Instagram right at your research disposal — and many database websites at your disposal, you’re good to go.