By: Amen Sharma / September 11, 2018

Utilising Hashtags For SEO

The growing age of social media has seen vast improvements in how we can utilise it for businesses. This can be anything from the theme of your bio, stories and highlights on Instagram, to backlinks on Facebook and YouTube. But something you may be missing is mastering hashtags for SEO. An Instagram post with at least one hashtag tends to receive 12.6% more engagement. Your audience probably over splurges on the use of cutesy hashtags like #nofilter, #tbt, #summer, #ootd, #instadaily etc. However, is your brand optimising hashtags, not only to appear on these types of hashtags but also tags related to your brand. Therefore, this leads to the question, how does your brand take advantage of Instagram hashtags?

One of the biggest issues is #overkill. Brands have to be smart about their approach to hashtags so that it doesn’t feel forced or unconventional. Using too many hashtags (especially if they’re irrelevant) becomes boring and may cause the audience to lose focus. Therefore, it is essential for your brand to be focusing on the right questions and goals, to invest your valuable marketing time.

Hashtags are one of the easiest ways of drawing in a new audience, as it makes your content discoverable who are actively searching for that area of interest. However, it is ideal to be picky with the tags you use, targeting specific audiences, rather than throwing 30 hashtags at it in the hope that someone will have an interest. It is important to find the right balance of uniqueness and selling points. Therefore, here are a few great tips to help create hashtags to stand out.   However do remember that here at HeartCMS we would love to help your business grow with social media.

Know your core demographic

60% of Instagram users are between 18 and 29 years old, however, this doesn’t mean your demographic will fit into this bracket. If you have this bracket be aware that they will be sceptical and are willing to call you out for lame marketing ploys. Sprout Social in 2017 revealed that 69% of brands using slang is embarrassing, whilst making fun of customers and talking politics also scored very poorly on the not-cool/annoying scale. However, if this is your brand, i.e. talking politics, it may useful to do this as it will stand out to your demographic.

Focus on your existing community

It is always a good idea to grow your community and build a solid follower count, however, the focus should remain in assisting your community and not getting wrapped in follower count. By staying true to your brand, potential clients will see how you engage with your community, building real relationships, which will encourage more people to join the community. One great tool is to get your community involved in your posts by showing individuals who use your products/services. A great example of this is the Forever 21 account. However, this does not mean you can’t use to grab the attention of others.

Building followers using hashtags becomes easier when you promote your followers and provide content they actually want. Therefore, good hashtags are great to help you get to discover, however, if you have your community sharing the hashtags, it will help spread it further.

Categorise your content

Hashtags should be broken down to categorise the content, therefore, organise them like you would content in the office. The papers are Instagram posts, the folders are hashtags and the cabinet is the whole platform. Therefore, when one individual searches something, effectively they are searching the whole of the cabinet for something in that category e.g. fitness, therefore, using the appropriate hashtags allows you to have them in the right folder, in case anyone wants to look for it.

Finding the best way of making your posts seen, is generating content that is more likely to be searched for. Therefore, it is important for a brand to hashtag the keywords in the post, there is no point having keywords without because your post won’t be discoverable.

Instagram analysis

Every step of your business has goals, therefore, the same should be said for the utilisation of social media. Without analysis, you will not be able to determine if these goals are being met but also to ensure how you can improve in the future. This means that looking at your social media reports enable you to understand what is working and what is not so successful.

Make strategic hashtags

As simple as it may be to throw your thread together, similarly with your bio and captions, however, it pays to be strategic. The first and most important step is to identify hashtags that enable you to make the most of your social media goals. This means you need to identify if you will use branded hashtags (specific for your company, e.g. brand name, or specific products/campaigns) or community hashtags (more general and not specific to your company, e.g. #picoftheday). A combination of the two is used as it ties it back directly to your company, but can also make your content more discoverable and build your audience.

Utilising hashtags only works if you have an appropriate picture to go with. Therefore, the hashtags should be relevant to the photo you’re posting. This is because the image is what draws in the users. If a lot of photos look similar when you search a given hashtag, it may be ideal to branch out and send the hashtag in a new direction.

About Amen Sharma

Director of HeartCMS.com and author of UK's bestselling online marketing book 'The Google Checklist'. Amen loves to help small to medium size businesses get more online exposure. Amen started his online marketing journey back in 2006 and now runs his own award winning marketing agency.

https://www.heartcms.com

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