Hashtags. Love them or hate them, they should play a crucial role in any social media strategy. Riana Horner, Account Manager in our Pharma & Life Sciences team, gives her top tips on how to get the most out of them.
#DYK hashtags are still one of the most effective and easiest ways to get your brand discovered on Instagram? Not only are they a great way to increase your search visibility and reach wider audiences, hashtags help to drive engagement on your posts too.
But first things first … what are hashtags?
Hashtags are clickable words or terms used on social media platforms that allow users to easily find specific content or themes. By simply adding the hashtag symbol ‘#’ before any word, your content becomes instantly searchable by that word on that particular social media network.
We’re increasingly seeing pharma companies using social media, as they realise the opportunity they provide to help increase disease awareness, reach patients and healthcare professions, and promote campaigns.
If you’re looking for new ways to build a loyal and engaged following, hashtags can help boost your posts and improve its performance.
Without further ado, here are my six favourite hashtag hacks on Instagram:
- You can use an unlimited amount of hashtags in your posts!
Social media users might be familiar with Instagram’s 30 hashtag limit. But what many people don’t know is that by adding an ampersand, ‘&’, in front of all hashtags beyond the first 30 tags it actually bypasses this rule. That’s right – your posts can have limitless hashtags.
I would suggest only using this method when absolutely necessary, as you don’t want your content to be viewed as spam. Choose your hashtags carefully by thinking about what your target audience might be searching for, what is relevant to your content and ensuring they fit your niche and business goals.
- Don’t always go for the most popular hashtags
Most people believe that the bigger the hashtag, the higher your post visibility. A hashtag with one million tags is more likely going to get you noticed than a hashtag with only 50,000, right?
It’s actually the complete opposite!
Whilst popular hashtags may have the potential to reach a bigger audience, the search term will be so highly saturated that your content is more likely to drown, hidden among lots of other content. And your post could disappear from the top of the search within seconds as more posts are tagged to the list, making it difficult to be seen.
What’s more, while large and generic hashtags may help you gain a few extra ‘likes’, they won’t help you find a specific, target audience who are more likely to stay engaged with your future content. Expert Instagrammers say the best way to utilise hashtags is to use a mixture of large and smaller sized tags that are specific to your audience. The way to use hashtags to help build an active and engaged community of followers is to find out what your target audience is really searching for.
Pfizer used the hashtags #ASCO19 and #oncology to promote their attendance at the ASCO congress.
- Add hashtags to your Instagram bio
Despite this being a fairly well-known function, it is underutilised. Adding hashtags to your brand’s Instagram bio is a great way to promote your brand or campaign hashtag, encourage followers to use it and connect your followers to other relevant communities.
If your brand is working with influencers as part of a marketing campaign, you could also request that they place your personalised hashtag into their Instagram bio during the campaign period. This will help to promote your business or product and drive traffic to your profile.
- Ask users to ‘follow’ your branded hashtag
Speaking of branded hashtags, did you know that you can follow hashtags, just like how you can follow other Instagram accounts?
Simply click on a hashtag and you’ll be directed to the hashtag’s search page. At the top of this page, you’ll see a big blue ‘follow’ button. Click follow and you’ll soon begin to see top posts from this hashtag in your Instagram newsfeed.
If you have a branded hashtag, why not encourage your audience to follow it, as well as your brand’s profile, to ensure they never miss a post?
- Add hidden hashtags to your Instagram stories
Just like standard posts on your profile, you can also add up to 10 hashtags to your Instagram stories to help people find your content. The problem is, this can make your story look a little messy.
There are a couple of ways you can hide hashtags in your stories, while still making your content searchable:
- When adding hashtags to your story, pinch the screen to minimise the text so that the tags are almost unreadable. Next, select the text colour tool and choose a colour from your background so that the text blends into the photo and becomes invisible!
- Pinch the screen to reduce the text size of your hashtags as you did in the first step, but this time add a sticker, GIF, or another image over the top to cover up your
- Find out if your hashtags are actually working
Have you got an Instagram business account? If so, you can see exactly how many viewers have found your content via your hashtags. Simply click on one of your posts, hit ‘view insights’ then swipe up to view a detailed analysis of your post.
You’ll find the hashtag insight under the ‘discovery’ section. While it doesn’t tell you exactly which hashtags have helped viewers find your post, it gives you a good idea of how your hashtags are performing. If your hashtag search visibility seems low, it might be time to experiment with new tags to see if you can increase your reach and engagement.
Hashtags should be a key player in any social media strategy, so now that you’re a hashtag pro, try out these tips on your Instagram and watch your community grow.