Instagram Marketing 101: The Hashtag

By Tomas H. Lucero

A hashtag is a type of label used in social media, as well as microblogs, which facilitates finding messages with a specific theme or content. Hashtags are created by placing the number sign, or hash character #, in front of a word or unspaced phrase. A search for that hashtag will yield each message that has been tagged with it. On Instagram the hashtag #newborn allows users to find images that have been tagged as containing a newborn baby, and #SuperBowl is a popular tag for images from the Super Bowl.

Clearly, the savvy social media marketer will make plenty use of hashtags to create brand exposure. There is a fine line, however, between effective and ineffective use of this subtle, but powerful visibility tool. There are two ways to use hashtags on Instagram, and for that matter, on any social media platform.

One way is to use existing hashtags to expand the reach of your content. These are hashtags that your community is already using. When practicing this tactic, you must research the tags that your community is applying to comprehend what you should be using with your content sharing.

In addition to using existing hashtags, you may create new ones. To increase the effectiveness of a new hashtag, carefully consider the purpose of the new tag. For example, you may be launching a promotion based around a contest. In that case, you would create a specific tag that would only apply to that unique promotion.

On the other hand, you may also create a general hashtag. The purpose of this type of hashtag is to be used continuously by you, and your community, for further marketing opportunities.

So, hashtag away, but do so only in ways that reference your content and doesn’t divert away your audience’s attention.

Related Story: Building On a Foundation: Why Marketing to Existing Customers is Crucial

Related Story: 10 Most Actionable Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2015

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