By Carrie-ann | Jun 13, 2017 | Instagram

The power of the #hashtag

Instagram is one of the best social media websites for marketing opportunities. It allows businesses to connect with their target audience and other like-minded businesses, which can significantly increase your outreach, as well as customer engagement and sales.
However, Instagram is a useless marketing tool if you don’t know how to use hashtags. The hashtag function is the most important part of Instagram, and if you use it properly, you can reach hundreds of thousands of potential new customers.
Here is everything you need to know about using hashtags to promote your business.

What are Hashtags?
So what exactly are hashtags? An Instagram hashtag is a phrase or word that starts with the # symbol. There are hundreds of thousands of hashtags out there, and every day businesses create new hashtags.
These hashtags are used to group different sets of images together. For instance, if you search ‘#cat’ on Instagram you will see hundreds of pictures of cats that use the hashtag ’#cat’. This makes it easy for internet users to find specific things that interest them – and it also makes it easier for businesses to connect with potential customers.

Why You Need Hashtags
Businesses need to use hashtags so that Instagram users can find their content and follow their account. The right hashtag will instantly connect your business with potential customers, which will vastly increase your outreach. For example, the most successful business Instagram accounts reach millions of potential customers every day.

How to Use Hashtags
It is fairly simple to add hashtags to your posts, and you can add the hashtags as a caption or a comment. For instance, lots of businesses include hashtags at the end of their captions after a relevant quote or comment. Here is how you can add hashtags to your Instagram posts:
*Upload the picture that you want to use to Instagram
*Click next to add a filter
*Click next and write your desired caption in the text box. For instance, if you posted a picture of a new product you may caption the image with ‘Today’s epic deals and offers – which deal will you take advantage of?’
*Now you can add hashtags to the end of the image. For instance, if you are selling make-up you could hashtag ‘#makeup’, ‘#mua’ and ‘#makeuptutorials’
*Tap ‘share’ to share the image with your followers

How to Find the Best Hashtags
Some hashtags are much more effective than others. It is often best to avoid the most popular hashtags (such as ‘motivation’ or ‘happy’), as so many people use them that your image will quickly disappear amongst thousands of other images.
Instead the best thing that you can do is use very specific hashtags. For example, if you sell bikes in Manchester you could hashtag ‘bikesinmanchester’ ‘bikedeals’ and ‘cheapbikes’.
Top Tip: It can also be useful to check out what hashtags your competitors are using.