Updated 9/2/2016

Learn how to use Instagram to promote your organization, your cause or your business.

Instagram – #Hashtag like a Pro

Part I – The Basics

One of the “newer” ways to reach you audience, is Instagram. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first until I downloaded the app and started using it. And of course, I LOVE IT! Also with the recent upgrades they’ve made to it, it’s made it a lot more fun to use.

There’s quite a few things I want to cover so I’ll do it in several blog posts. First I’ll cover the basics.

There are so many great things about Instagram:

Hashtagging

patsypdoggillispie snapshot of a recent instagram post
Instagram Post #1

So what is a hashtag? Hashtagging is used in Instagram to “connect” a variety of content. Think of it as your very on keyword goldmine. When an individual is on Instagram, they can do a search for topics or keywords. The hashtags represent that keyword search. If you’re curious how it works, download the app or go to instagram.com and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. I’m going to use my own personal one as an example on how this works.

So on the right (post #1), I uploaded a photo of myself. Just for a little background, I competed in my first bodybuilding show in October 2014, so I like to post progress photos as I go. At this time, I had posted a photo of myself. I made a brief comment and added some hashtags to it.

On your app there is an option to “explore”. You can put in user names or ¬†hashtags/keyword topics you’re interested in. In my example here to the right I added several hashtags to refer to. So if someone were to get on the app and type in let’s say “npc”, they would be presented with a list of photos that have been tagged with that. Mine would appear somewhere in that list.

screenshot of a search on instagram for npc
Instagram explore for hashtag “npc”

Now you can get pretty creative with this and I advise you to. But you can also strategize this. Think about your organization or your business and build your keywords around that. I built mine around bodybuilding because that’s the audience I was trying to attract. The “npc” for example is a bodybuilding organization. I wanted to make sure that whatever I posted got associated with that because I knew people would be searching that if they are in that community. Same with your organization.

Next, “explore” keywords and phrases in Instagram. Start with a list of keyword combinations and write them down. Then go into the Explore feature of Instagram and type them in and see what you get. When you first enter it in, it will tell you how many photos are tagged with that.

Create your own hashtags

Now you can get really creative here. Brand your hashtags. Come up with something that’s either rarely used or new and tag all your relevant photos with it. You’ll create you’re own unique hashtag and you never know, it could pick up. Then when you’re on Facebook or maybe you’re updating your website you can say “find us on Instagram #ThisIsAUniqueTag”. It makes social media fun and can be very effective.

Follow Others

Get to know your audience. Look for people that share some of your organizations same interests. Any easy way to find those people is just to search hashtags. When you search a hashtag, images appear that match that tag. See something or someone interesting? Follow them on Instagram. Build that audience. Instagram is interesting in that matter. People tend to have some sort of “following” loyalty meaning you follow them, they will follow you. So build that following of people that you can share information with.

What’s next?

In the next post, I’ll talk about: