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January 19, 2021

8 Instagram Hashtags Do’s & Don’ts

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Hashtags are not a new addition on social media platforms. In fact, it’s a decade-old practice. However, finding the right hashtag to go with your post on social media platforms can be a true gamechanger. To reach the target audience on social platforms, using the perfect combination of hashtags is the key. Businesses and influencers all around the world are constantly experimenting, learning, and revising the use of hashtags to get better discoverability and gain more followers. In short, hashtags are easy to use, but hard to master.


So in this blog, let’s understand more about hashtags and 8 dos and don’ts that every business/influencer must know to grow your brand.


What’s the deal with Hashtags?


Technically speaking, a hashtag symbolized as ‘#’ is what we call a metadata tag. By using them on a photo, video and microblog content on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the posts get grouped with others using the same hashtag. Social media managers and agencies swear by the use of hashtags, as it allows users interested in similar content to find tagged posts easily, making them more visible and discoverable.  


While hashtags were reinvented on Twitter ten years ago, today it is widely used on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest as well. While these platforms underwent a lot of changes over these years, the importance of hashtags has remained consistent.


For instance, even in 2021, the use of relevant and targeted hashtags on your Instagram posts and stories is undeniably the best way to get discovered and connect with new audiences. 


So how does it help your business or personal brand?


If used wisely, hashtags can differentiate your business or brand from the others. According to recent statistics, a post with at least one Instagram hashtag shows an average of 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.


Hashtags work similarly across all social platforms and is a recommended practice for social media management. Instagram hashtags organize and categorize photos and videos. When users search for topics they are interested in on the search bar, posts under the tag come up for easy access. The search bar also recommends similar hashtags to fine-tune searches. 

social media management hashtag

Meanwhile on Facebook, searching for content under a particular hashtag will open up a unique page showcasing all posts using the tag. This allows users to explore interesting content easily.

Sample Post social media management

Similarly, hashtags on Twitter pull up all the posts under the tag searched. Additionally, users have the option to sort the content by ‘Top’, ‘Latest’, ‘People’, ‘Photos’, and ‘Videos’.

Social Media Management | Instagram

Since hashtags are used with the sole intent to make content discoverable, the right hashtags can put you in front of your target audience, allowing them to connect with you instantly. 


Understanding Different Hashtags


Before you start using hashtags to promote your content on social platforms, it is important to learn about different types of hashtags. Understanding the types of hashtags will help you strategize better and bring your content in front of the right audience.


  • Branded hashtags


Branded hashtags are unique to each company or business and can be as simple as your brand name or company tagline. Using branded hashtags will help bring consistency to your page by imparting a strong brand identity.  

Branded Instagram Posts

Branded hashtags are largely used to promote campaigns or collect user-generated content. By reminding your existing social media followers to use the brand hashtags in their posts and stories, you can get discovered by a wider audience interested in your offerings. 


  • Campaign hashtags


Campaign hashtags are specifically used to promote things like the launch of a new product, special events or holiday giveaways. They are usually short-term tags and are a great way to build engagement during the campaign period. The below image shows posts on Instagram from Adidas’s “Original is” campaign. 

Campaign Hashtags | Instagram

  • Community hashtags


Used mostly by small businesses, community hashtags help connect like-minded audiences around a niche topic. Hashtags of particular products like #promdress or services like #fashionphotography, acronyms like #ootd (outfit of the day), location tags like#dubaifashion, etc. are all types of community hashtags that allows users to connect with others, improve their post visibility, gain followers and create their community.

Fashion Photography

How to improve your hashtag game? – Where to start


Once you have a better understanding of hashtags, you get started right away with their use. If you are a small business or personal brand looking to gain more followers, here are a few dos and don’ts to step up your hashtag game-


  • Do use niche hashtags


Niche hashtags are specific to your products or services, allowing you to get discovered by your target audience. Niche hashtags usually have identifiers like brand name or location, which improves your overall visibility on social media platforms. 


For instance, if you own a boutique in Dubai, do use hashtags like #dubaifashion or #dubaiboutique on your social media posts. This will help your online page and subsequently your store to get discovered by the right audience in the city and start gaining followers.


  • Don’t limit your hashtags to widely used ones

Popular hashtags often have over a million posts using them. Tags like #fashion for instance have over 900 million posts under it. From famous brands to an average social media user, this hashtag is widely used every day. If you limit your hashtags to similar ones with millions of tags under it, chances are that your post will get lost in the masses.


  • Do research hashtags before using them

While there may be hundreds of hashtags that are connected to your products or services, it is important to identify the ones that can make your post highly discoverable. Do thorough research and identify a niche and relevant hashtags that best describe your post’s content and use them accordingly.


  • Don’t use irrelevant hashtags

Many businesses and personal brands use irrelevant hashtags on their posts, thinking that they will get discovered by more people. However, remember that relevant hashtags take your content to the wrong audience who are least interested in what you offer. 


For instance, if your business deals exclusively with maternity clothing, using hashtags like #promdress or #ballgown to sell a maternity gown may not give the desired result. Instead, use targeted hashtags like #maternitygown or #maternitydress will help your post get discovered by pregnant women looking specifically for products you sell.


  • Do use easy to read hashtags

Using complicated hashtags with many words kills the purpose of using them. No one will readily search for a long and complicated tag while searching for topics they are interested in. So always keep your hashtags short, simple and easy to read.


  • Don’t hashtag every word

While using hashtags on the body of your caption is a good idea, hashtagging every word is a big NO. Hashtagging every word of your caption will not only bring up your post in front of the wrong audience but also confuses the content of your post.


  • Do incorporate brand hashtags

Bigger brands always come up with unique hashtags that reflect their brand personality perfectly. These unique hashtags ensure better viewership and followers. Statistics also show that influencers who use brand hashtags get more visibility through reshares. If you are an influencer who’s post got reshared by a well-known brand, you are sure to get more visibility and thereby more followers.


  • Don’t stick to the same hashtags

Mix it up! That is the fundamental rule of using hashtags. Instagram for instance allows the use of up to 30 hashtags per post. However, using the same hashtags every time for your posts is not a good strategy to get discovered by your target audience. So ensure that every time you are posting new content, you are using a mix of brand, community and campaign hashtags that are relevant to your product or service.


Hashtags – What to expect in 2021


Ultimately, deciding which hashtag is best suited for a particular post depends solely on your marketing strategy. The events of 2020, has brought a paradigm shift in the way the economy runs, pushing every brand, business and influencer to look at targeted practices that ensure short term ROI. With brands, businesses and influencers finding newer ways to stay visible and relevant we are now experiencing a social media resurgence- for social media has become a window into the outside world. For this simple reason, hashtags have become an inevitable part of social media management, to help users find information, do business, stay entertained and connect. 


Want to know more about social media management and hashtag strategies ideal for your brand? Connect with experts at our social media management agency for the best digital marketing services in Dubai.