In the ultra-competitive business world, if you are not continually looking for new customers, you are effectively going backward.
Thankfully, due to the exponential growth of social media, marketing has changed massively over the last few decades. Having a social media account is no longer optional for your business – it is a necessity. Any company that doesn’t have a social media account that is actively trying to gain followers – and engage with them – is going backward double speed. There are over 1 billion active users on Instagram in 2021 and over 25 million businesses. If you are not one of these businesses, you’re missing out on a massive chunk of potential customers.
Having an active social media account for your business is essential but knowing how to use it effectively is also crucial. Hashtags play a large role in boosting your content. We are here to tell you why hashtags are so important and how you can use them to grow your business.
Enter the octothorpe.
Not many people know that the trendy hashtag was initially named as the not so slick ‘octothorpe.’ Hashtags – the symbol # – have long been used by programmers but didn’t arrive on the social media scene until 2007. Product designer Chris Messina had seen hashtags used on other platforms as a way to group relevant content and began the push for them to be introduced on Twitter.
To start with, it didn’t catch on. It wasn’t until Chris urged a friend – who was tweeting prolifically about the 07’ San Diego wildfires – to begin using them that the trend started to spread. It wasn’t long until Twitter caught on to the hashtags’ popularity and introduced a hashtag search bar.
What is a hashtag?
If you’ve been on social media any time in the last decade, you will have seen a hashtag in use. It’s even made its way into the offline, real-world lexicon. But what is a hashtag?
Hashtags are a way of decluttering social media feeds – grouping and organizing relevant content from different sources together. For example, searching #cat on Instagram will bring up results of all posts that used #cat.
This allows social media uses to see more of the content that they enjoy. On the flip side, it enables people to post content that will appear in the feeds of anyone who searches the hashtag – regardless of whether they follow you or not. Using hashtags is an excellent way of getting your content seen by more people, growing your social media reach, and potentially gaining more followers. These can be done manually or with automated software like an Instagram hashtag generator like Task Ant. If you haven’t heard about Task Ant you might be severely limiting your account growth but don’t just take our word for it, they have been recommended by various reviews like this one from WP Dev Shed.
So, what is your hashtag strategy?
Despite the popularity of hashtags on social media, many people do not know how to use them effectively. Although the hashtag feature is available on many social media platforms, they work differently on each platform. For example, Instagram allows up to thirty hashtags per post, and users are used to this number of hashtags. Conversely, using this many hashtags on Twitter or Facebook can make your post look spammy or like a poorly executed ad.
The jury is still out on how many hashtags to use per Instagram, but around ten or eleven is widely accepted as the optimal number, but it’s not an exact science. Depending on your followers, your business, and the nature of your content, more or fewer hashtags may be effective. The best advice is to experiment and find what works best for you.
An easy way to make effective use of hashtags is to use a service such as Task Ant. Task Ant uses powerful analytical tools to find the best hashtags specifically for your business and content. Task Ant will advise you on which hashtags will work for your content and how many to use per post.
Are there good and bad hashtags?
Instagram users will actively search for and follow hashtags that interest them. Using hashtags will put your content in front of users relevant to your brand or business, increasing exposure to your target market. This is essentially free advertising. This strategy can often be more effective than paid ads. Using hashtags to promote your content is more organic, and many users ignore and scroll past paid ads.
Posting hashtags that are irrelevant to your post or your business is often counter-productive. Using popular hashtags that do not necessarily match your post’s topic is one way of getting more eyes on your post but comes at a risk. Instagram has added an option to flag up posts that use irrelevant hashtags and often hand out ‘shadowbans,’ meaning your posts will not get seen by anyone who does not follow you directly.