The Power of a Hashtag on Instagram

The hashtag on Instagram is a great tool for drawing attention to an article, a post, or a topic. But you do have to use it right to get the best results

As many people know, adding the pound sign to a word, or a string of words with no spaces, in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram automatically converts that word in to a hashtag: #hashtagsaregreat. Then, anyone searching for that term will see your post. If the hashtag is trending (popular), that translates into a massive audience—free advertising, in other words.

While hashtags work on multiple platforms, they do not work equally well on all of them. Facebook, for example, has relatively weak search capabilities for hashtags and this will limit your potential audience for any hashtag posts.

You will likely get the best results from your hashtags on Instagram. Hashtags are widely accepted on Instagram and a primary way people will find your posts. Also, unlike with other platforms, where hashtags can make posts look messy and cluttered, Instagram allows you to hide your hashtags for a cleaner look.

With Instagram a post consists of a picture with an optional caption. However, if you write a caption that is too long, the excess text won’t show. Take advantage of this limited visible space by pushing all your hashtags at the end of the caption and out of view. The search feature can still see them, so they’ll still work, but your post will look neat and professional. You can use up to 30 hashtags this way, each one of them having the ability to draw in hundreds (or thousands) of viewers.

Also, if you don’t know what hashtags to use, search on a hashtag on Instagram to check how it is working.

On Instagram and elsewhere, you do have to make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post. However, don’t use random hashtags just because they happen to be trending (like using #basketball in a makeup add) and don’t co-opt hashtags that usually belong in some other context (such as the slogan of a political campaign). Either will push people away.

When used correctly, the hashtag can help you develop new relationships with people around a specific topic. These hashtags can also allow you to generate a larger audience by connecting your post to thousands of people who might otherwise not have seen it. With practice, the hashtag can be used in many ways and on many platforms and it can become a major marketing tool for your business. If you’re not #usingit, I suggest you start.