Your Ultimate Guide to Hashtags

Being a self-taught digital marketer, I remember when I started my journey I used to search about how to grow on social media platforms organically. One of the most common strategies I found was hashtags. After reading and experimenting with hashtags, here is what I have learned about the use of hashtags that can help you grow your business like never before.

Let’s first understand what does the bookish definition mean: 

A hashtag, introduced by the number sign, or hash symbol, #, is a type of metadata tag used on social media such as Twitter and microblogging services. Relevant and keyword centric hashtags helps you to:- 

  1. Become searchable: Let’s say you’re into the bakery business. And I am a dessert lover. In my feed, I prefer desert pictures, recipes, reels, etc. If you’re using appropriate hashtags that define your business, the social media algorithm shows your posts to people like me who are interested in what you have to offer. Also, when you use relevant hashtags, chances are high people will find your posts when they type – #bakerybusiness #chocolatecake, etc.
  1. Clickable:- When your account and posts are visible to a relevant audience, chances are high people will take an action such as to visit your page, follow you, or comment on your posts. And only relevant people would search for interest related hashtags.
  1. Approachable: Taking ahead the previous example, let’s assume I want to order a cake for my friend’s birthday. In such a situation, I will simply type in the search bar #kolkatabakers #kolkatabakery, etc. In that particular hashtag, I can find all the bakers from Kolkata. Now, it’s easy for me to simply call or message someone whose account is more appealing to me.

Doesn’t this sound amazing? This is how hashtags make you more approachable.

  1. Understanding the competition:- Are you wondering how to stay updated about what’s happening in the market? Well, hashtags are here at your service. By following the industry specific hashtags, you can keep an eye on what is hot in the market and what is in trend.

Now that we have discussed what are the applications of hashtags, let’s understand how to monetize through hashtags:- 

How to monetize via hashtags:- 

Let’s discuss what is the scope of using relevant hashtags and how you can monetize via hashtags: 

How to monetise via hashtags

Direct Sales Link: 

If you are a business owner and want to capture a wider audience to increase sales, social media is for you. Growing on social media as a business can be made easy with the appropriate usage of hashtags. 

By showcasing what your prospects love with relevant hashtags, you can capture their attention. And once you have their attention, through effective content strategies and eye-catchy product pictures, you can crack sales. 

To start earning, you need to remember that hashtags should be relevant and related to your niche. You must also include local hashtags in your posts to get noticed by the local audience. Let’s say you specialize in Jaipur Jewellery, in such a case, hashtags like #jaipurjewellery #jaipurbusiness #jaipuriyaearrings, etc. can help you to cover the audience of Jaipur who might be interested in buying or exploring Jewellery.

Better Reach/ Recognition:- 

Hashtags offer you a great reach, thus helping you to get recognized by as many people as possible. The more people recognize you, the more you get to earn. 

Different brands and businesses pay you depending on the number of followers you have. Hashtags in that case help you to capture a wider range of audiences and eventually increase your follower count.

Increase traffic:- 

If you own a business or offer a certain kind of service, fathoming that attractive traffic is a herculean task provided you know how to take advantage of hashtags. You can attach your website link to your bio and then push your audience towards your website with an effective content strategy.  

The more people visit your website, the more you sell and earn.

Now that you know about the various ways to monetize via hashtags, let’s see what are the benefits of using hashtags:-

  1.  Organic Reach:- 

As I said, when you are new on any social media platforms, you need an audience to hear you. You need people to know about your existence. And to make you achieve your goals, hashtags help you. 

Hashtags give you organic reach and make you visible to relevant people. Not only do hashtags save your pocket from paying on unnecessary ads but it also increases your follower count. 

  1. Reach Relevant people and increase relevant followers:-

Hashtags are like keywords to google. They give you a chance to get noticed by the kind of people you want. If you use relevant hashtags that your target audience follows or might be interested in, you will be discovered by the relevant group of people. Once the right people find you, or rather once you target the right people with the right hashtags, your chances of getting followed by those people are way higher than disturbing random people who are not interested in your business.

Now the same thing can backfire if you use any random hashtags that don’t define your products. At times the social media algorithms won’t allow your hashtag to reach, and if they do, it might reach the wrong audience.

  1. Helps in categorising content:- 

Hashtags help you to categorise content. Just to give you an example of category content, let me give you a reference of one of my clients, Dolly Jain, a celebrity drape artist. We designed a unique campaign for her namely “Dolly says”. For this particular campaign, we created a unique hashtag that is #dollysays. Did you analyse how we categorised the content with the help of a hashtag? This is what you also need to do with your content.

These types of specific and relevant hashtags inform social media platforms what you are, what your services are, and where you are from. After analysing your hashtags, social media platforms put your post in a certain category and then your posts are shown to the audience who are interested in that particular category.

When you use the right hashtags, you get to enter in the right category and when you enter in the right category, your posts will be visible to the right people. This whole cycle will help you look like an industry expert before your ideal audience.

  1. Helps you get visible on explorer feed:- 

Have you ever thought about why your explorer feed is filled with the kind of content you like? Or why does it show what it does? 

Well, your explorer feed shows only those types of pictures or videos which you are interested in, and the reason behind all this are algorithms. Algorithm notices your activities, and shows you the kind of content which has higher chances of being liked by you.

Now you need to think in an algorithmic way. You need to put those hashtags which define the choice of your target audience to get visible on the explorer feed. Once you use relevant hashtags, the algorithm supports your account and does its work.

In case, you are wondering how you can find relevant hashtags, let me take you through the types of hashtags.

  1. Spammy:- 

Spammy hashtags are those hashtags which are too big or those who have millions of followers like fun, happy, ootd, etc.

Let’s say you are new to Instagram and have few followers. In such a case, if you use hashtags like, #love or #happy which have millions of followers, you wouldn’t get noticed and will lose an opportunity to reach a specific audience.

Example of hashtags
Example of hashtags
  1. Niche Specific:- 

Niche specific are those hashtags which give you an identity. Let’s understand this through an example. I am a digital marketer, for me a niche specific hashtag would be #lifeofadigigalmarketer, etc. This hashtag would put my post on the feed of people who are interested in digital marketing or who are digital marketers. Also, if someone searches with the same hashtag, my chances of ranking are higher because of the relevancy factor.

  1. Unique Hashtags:-

A unique hashtag is a hashtag which is created by an individual person or brand. It could be the name of the brand or person or any special offer provided by them. For example: I am the founder at Trumpet : Voice Your Brand. To me my unique hashtag is #Voiceyourbrand. 

If someone clicks on #voiceyourbrand, they will be able to find all the posts of my account.

Every business or personal brand should have their unique hashtag to set their unique identity before the audience.

  1. Relevant Hashtags:-

Relevant hashtags are basically those hashtags that are aligned with the graphical and written content that you are posting. For example: if you are posting about digital marketing tips but using hashtags like #fashionblogger #picoftheday then it will not work for your social media. 

Don’t use a hashtag just because it is working for others. Your content, your business, and you are different from others, hence don’t use any random hashtags. 

Moving forward, if you are using hashtags for a digital marketing post that offers the tips on how to grow on LinkedIn, the relevant hashtags would be #Linkedinmarketing #Linkedinlife, etc. 

  1. Local specific hashtags:- 

One of the most underrated yet the most important type of hashtags is local specific hashtags. For example: Remember I gave you the example of the baker business. Let’s assume you’re a home baker in Kolkata. What do you think in this case would be your audience? A person sitting in Mumbai, or U.P.? None of them, right? Your ideal audience would be people who are from Kolkata. In this case, you should use local specific hashtags like #Kolkatabakery #Kolkatahomebakers to get noticed by your potential buyers.

  1. Banned or Flagged:-

There are certain hashtags which are banned on social media. If you use those hashtags, you will lose your one hashtag. Some of the banned hashtags are #alone #Assworship #Adulting #Ass. These kinds of hashtags were banned because they violate the Instagram guidelines.

  1. Community Based Hashtags:-

To understand this in layman terms, community hashtags are those hashtags which put you in a community. For example: If you are a fashion blogger, your community based hashtag would be #fashionblogger #Indianfashionblogger. 

With these hashtags, your community is defined and you’re more likely to be visible to those people who follow similar people of the particular community. Also, it is a good way to connect and collaborate with people of your niche.

Now that you know enough about hashtags, you must also know that there are certain tools for researching hashtags: 

  1. Instagram:- If you don’t spend money on paid tools, you can search hashtags from Instagram itself. 
  2. All-Hashtag Generator
  3. Flick

Most of the people think that hashtags can only be used in captions but here are many places where you can insert hashtags: 

  1. Caption: You can use upto 30 hashtags in your caption.
  1. Comment: In case, you have a big caption which cannot contain hashtags, you can insert hashtags in the comment section as well. This will give your entire post a clean look.
  1. Stories: If you are missing on using hashtags in stories, you probably don’t know that using hashtags in stories will enhance your story views like never before. Stories have their own algorithm of assessing hashtags.
  1. Bio: Bio link tools are one of the most sought-after Instagram Marketing tools available. They allow you to share all your important links with your audience with just one URL. You can check out my blog on 6 best link in bio tools if you need any assistance there. I suggest you check out Taplink, it is the best bio tool I have used and is hundred percent user- friendly. To get more information on Taplink do check out my blog here.

 If you are wondering, if hashtags are so helpful then why doesn’t it work for some people. Well, if your answer is, yes, then let’s explore the mistakes made by most of the people while using hashtags:- 

  1. Don’t research:- One of the worst mistakes that people do is not devoting enough time for research. What most people do is that they simply use any random hashtag that comes to their  mind or they often use hashtags which are working for others.

You need to understand that your business and content is different from others and so should your hashtags be. Before you actually post anything, at least give 15 minutes of your time to do a proper research so that you can find the best hashtags suitable for your post. 

  1. Irrelevant and Random Hashtags:- As we discussed earlier that algorithm tries to put you in a certain category to showcase your content to the relevant audience. 

In case you use any irrelevant and random hashtags, your post wouldn’t be visible to the relevant audience, hence all your efforts go in vain. When you use random hashtags, the algorithm lowers your reach and your chances of going viral becomes almost zero. Also, you might soon get shadow banned by Instagram.

  1. Copy Paste Hashtag:- I guess copy pasting other peoples’ hashtags is like giving poison to your own account! Most of the people often just copy paste someone else’s hashtags thinking ‘Oh, we share a similar niche, these hashtags would work for me too’.

Well, if you have done this thing, don’t feel bad because as newbies, we all try to find solutions. What you need to understand is that copy pasted hashtags would give you an original audience and reach. You should use hashtags which define exactly what you are providing through your posts/videos.

  1. Don’t Diversify:- When I just started my journey on Instagram, I used to use hashtags which had high density as in 1M followers.

But what I realised over the time is that such high density hashtags are almost irrelevant for the newbies because you easily get lost in the crowd. What we instead need to do is diversify the range of hashtags. For example: Use different hashtags with diversified density such as, use 5 big hashtags, 20 medium density hashtags (these give the higher reach) and 5 low density hashtags. You can of course change it as per your profile requirement, but this is just a rough figure.

Now that you know how you can diversify hashtags, you are all set to rock your game because the more diversified the density of your hashtags, the less you limit your content.

  1. Don’t rotate between the hashtags:- As I explained earlier the types of hashtags, like unique hashtags, niche specific hashtags, different groups of hashtags, etc.

People often don’t play around among these different hashtags. And as you don’t use different types of hashtags, you restrict yourself and your account to grow. 

Using different types of hashtags helps you capitalise on different groups of audience. Hence, make sure you rotate around these hashtags: 

  • Unique Hashtags,
  • Create different group of hashtags,
  • Nice specific hashtags, and 
  • Capitalise on other hashtags.
  1. Depending on Hashtags:- If you’re dependent on hashtags for your reach then probably you’re cheating on yourself. 

Yes! Alone hashtags wouldn’t reap anything for you. Hashtags only offer you to get noticed by the audience but it depends on your content, images, and context whether people like it or ignore it. In case your content is not good, they will simply scroll but if they like your content, they may wish to visit your account and for that you must maintain an attractive bio that triggers the audience to follow you instantly.

Conclusion:- 

I’ve also written blogs on why Instagram bio links are important and which tool I use to capitalise on the same. 

During the early stage of my career, I made tons of mistakes but gradually I realized what works on social media. The purpose of writing these blogs is to share my learnings with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes which I did.

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