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How Important Are Instagram Hashtags?

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You’re a savvy startup with a finger on the digital pulse, but for some reason your brand just isn’t getting the kind of traction with your target market that you expected.

You’re aiming for a young, cool audience with a healthy amount of disposable income yet discerning tastes. The kind of people who not only command great buying power but also wield colossal influence on social media. The kind of people who can lend your brand enormous credibility among their peer groups.

But if you think that you’re going to reach these people if your only presence is on Facebook and Twitter you may be sadly mistaken.

Social media is changing and many younger consumers are migrating away from the traditional social media giants, especially Facebook, in favor of more visually oriented platforms.

Moreover, organic reach on Facebook for businesses has hit an all-time low since the platform restructured its algorithms to prioritize social interaction between friends and families over interactions between businesses and their customers or prospects.

So, this begs the question…

Should your business use Instagram?

In a word, yes. Instagram has almost twice as many active users as Facebook or Twitter at 800 million a month. By next year that number is likely to hit 1 billion.

Not only is it the platform of choice for many younger consumers, it’s also more attuned to the way in which we’re increasingly consuming our content these days.

Most of us are consuming content, making e-commerce purchases and interacting with peers in short bursts in our downtime though mobile devices.

This means that long form content is on the way out and visuals, infographics and video are increasingly looking like the future. But Instagram can feel like intimidating new terrain for businesses. How can you expand your reach organically while also optimizing your chances for conversion? Hashtags to the rescue!

How Instagram hashtags work

Once you’ve decided to commit to an Instagram presence it’s time to make a splash. Using hashtags will help you to reach the right target audience. However, remember that a hashtag is much like any keyword.

High competition hashtags will be unlikely to get you noticed while more niche, lower competition hashtags will not only increase your chances of visibility but also help you to reach the right audience.

Remember that you can include a range of hashtags (up to 30) in any given post but peppering your post with hashtags may come across as obnoxious. You can circumvent this by working hashtags into the body of your text e.g. “Our model Abdul is looking great in our #hitops. He said they were the most #comfortable he’s ever worn.”.

Why you should use them

Hashtags give you an opportunity to get noticed, especially when you use them in accordance with trending topics (again, like any keyword, make sure that the hashtag is relevant to the body of the text). In fact, a post with at least one hashtag tends to have 12.6% more engagement than one without and results in a 4.5% higher conversion rate.

Of course, hashtags are not exclusive to Instagram. They should be applied to all of your social media posts to ensure that your content reaches the right sets of eyes and increases your chances of robust engagement and conversion.