What was once a humble symbol has evolved to become the hashtag. It’s now a beacon, a town crier, and a big neon sign that communicates deep meaning in just a few brief words.
There’s actually a lot of science behind effective hashtag strategy. So when I learned that Fiverr doer Connie specializes in hashtag research, I had to know more. It’s fascinating work. He shares some of his secrets in this interview, including knowing when to use existing hashtags and when to mint new ones.
Nico: First of all, thank you for participating in this interview. For those who don’t know you, can you give us a little background about yourself and what you offer on Fiverr?
Connie: Certainly. I’ve been working in social media as a marketer, community manager, and consultant for about five years now. I got my start managing several accounts for a popular sports nutrition and supplements company. It was from there that I began to branch out and work with several other clients, ranging from a tennis accessories company to an organic food brand, and even a Bitcoin startup. I am grateful to have worked with dozens of small businesses at this point.
You see, I realized early on that I have a genuine passion for sharing my knowledge and using my skills to assist others with their social media marketing and brand development. Here on Fiverr, I’ve decided to focus my services around Instagram, mainly because I love the platform and also realize the potential it has to positively impact many different business verticals.
Nico: As you know, Fiverr’s community is mainly made up of small business owners. Can you please explain how Instagram can effectively help them grow their businesses?
Connie: Instagram is great for the growth of small businesses. In fact, a large percentage of Millennials consider Instagram to be the most important social network today. So, if a small business is looking to target this demographic, Instagram is certainly the place to be.
Beyond that, Instagram is useful in helping small businesses accomplish different goals they may have. If you’re running an ecommerce business, Instagram can be leveraged to showcase deals and customer success stories, or showcase products. If you are a service-based business, Instagram is great for showing off your internal company culture. This can be used as part of a “brand awareness” strategy to share what your company is all about. Additionally, Instagram can be a part of your lead-generation strategy to help build deeper customer relationships and boost the bottom line.
Nico: For those who are still unfamiliar with hashtags, can you explain what are they used for on Instagram?
Connie: Absolutely! The hashtag is an integral part of Instagram and the way users organize, categorize, and discover content around a particular topic or trend. Simply put, a hashtag is a word or phrase (composed of letters, numbers, and/or emojis) preceded by a hash sign (#).
One great thing about using hashtags with photo or video content on Instagram is that it becomes discoverable by anyone searching for that hashtag. Using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) can help small businesses expose their brand to large and targeted audiences. In fact, a small business’s chance of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement are vastly increased by the use of hashtags.
Nico: As marketers, it’s important to stay on top of every trend, so as to find new and emerging hashtags. Do you have any tips to share for monitoring top hashtag trends in Instagram?
Connie: Okay, two things. First, a great strategy for a small business is to create a hashtag around their brand, whether it’s their brand name or a tagline. This is called a branded hashtag and it’s designed to connect themes for the business and their audience. They can be used to promote a campaign or aggregate content created by the company’s fans. As an example, I know Fiverr is using this strategy with your #InDoersWeTrust and #MeetThePros campaigns.
Secondly, it’s important to use hashtags that are not only relevant to a brand, but that are also being used by the intended audience. One of the best ways to find trending hashtags is to follow Instagram influencers who have the same (or similar) target audience as your business.
Nico: Do you have any key hashtag tips to help Fiverr doers learn how to use them strategically to expand their reach? How many hashtags are too many in an Instagram post?
Connie: I have several tips for strategically using hashtags on Instagram. In fact, my Fiverr gig on Instagram marketing data and audience research covers all of these. However, I will say that the quickest way to build a following on Instagram is to monitor and engage with communities that use specific hashtags. Research which hashtags industry influencers or competitors are using, and then spend time each day monitoring and engaging with the content of each hashtag.
Instagram currently allows for up to 30 hashtags per post. However, using too many hashtags in the post caption can look really spammy. I recommend using one to three hashtags in the initial post caption and then up to 20 highly relevant hashtags in the first comment. Using the comment section is a great way to add more hashtags and increase exposure.
If you want to be taken seriously on Instagram, you have to understand hashtags – and Connie has a golden track record. It’s especially important to watch competitors to learn from their strategy and then refine it for yourself. It’s a fine balance between the tried-and-true keywords everybody already uses and searches for, and our own branded hashtags that stake a claim for attention. If you want to learn more about how Connie works and get some expert hashtag analysis, check out his Instagram hashtag gig. Does anybody want to help me get #connierules trending?
How have you used hashtags in your social media efforts? Do you use hashtags differently on Instagram, Twitter, and other networks? Share your tips in the comments below!