Hashtags have carved an interesting path in the world of social media: starting off on Twitter, they never quite took off on Facebook, and have instead become the backbone of Instagram marketing. Just the mere adding of # symbol to your post can turn any word or phrase into a clickable, followable topic, with the entire Instagram world at your fingertips.
After users click on a hashtag, they are taken to all the public posts associated with that hashtag, and are even given the option of following hashtags that interest them. By doing so, they are able to effectively subscribe to a stream of content via relevant hashtags, even if they do not follow the user posting the content. This is a great way for users to find new content they are interested in, and for businesses to reach new, and interested, users.
Here are six key types of hashtags that are key for any e-commerce firm to integrate into their marketing strategy:
- Branded hashtags
Most brands should have a unique branded hashtag to attach to every post, place in their profile, and encourage users to attach to posts that they’re sharing as part of user-generated content. This kind of hashtag can include your brand name, but it doesn’t have to.
- Contest hashtags
This type of hashtag is formulated for use in tandem with a specific contest. They are often used to identify contest entries for photo submission contests, which are another great tool for collecting user-generated content. In addition to your original branded hashtag, you can also add hashtags like #instacontest and #giveaway.
- General appeal hashtags
Certain hashtags have broad appeal and can be used to maximize the reach on your posts. Popular examples include #nofilter, #ilovemyjob and #puppylove.
- Niche appeal hashtags
Every industry will have phrases and keywords that are relevant only to their target audience. While these hashtags won’t have the same reach as the general appeal hashtags, they will ensure more relevant traffic to your account.
- Timely hashtags
Current events and seasonal holidays make great hashtags, especially when you consider sales-focused holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Users are much more likely to be searching for content that is relevant that instant, so take advantage of holiday-specific hashtags like #valentineformyvalentine and #stockingstuffer.
- Humorous hashtags
They won’t boost your reach, but they will definitely add character to your posts and entertain your audiences. In fact, depending on your audience, they may be key to helping your brand find its own voice and stand out from your competitors. These kinds of hashtags have only one purpose: to be funny, or clever like #thisiswhymondayssuck. You might also design a chain of hashtags to create your joke, like #thisiswhymondayssuck, #youknowitstrue, #isitfridayyet.
For the best results, be sure to do industry-specific research and check out what your competitors are getting up to. Be sure to include a mix of these types of hashtags in every post, and you will be well on your way to reaching the largest and most relevant audience possible.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.