Easy Ways to Grow Your Instagram Audience using Hashtags

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Written by: Zoe Christodoulides

Having a company with an active presence on Instagram is great, but don’t pat yourselves on the back just yet! We don’t want to burst your bubble, but increasing your organic reach is getting harder and harder as more and more companies jump on the Instagram bandwagon. One of the most popular social networks around the world, with over 500 million active monthly users, the right approach is key to getting noticed by your target audience. And this is where hashtags come into play: absolutely vital to getting your content discovered and encouraging greater engagement, hashtags help organise and categorise photos and videos, making them easier to discover and immediately searchable.  Use them strategically, and you can boost your reach, connect with a wider audience and build long term relationships. Feeling a bit stuck with where to begin? Action Digital is here to help!


First and foremost, be sure to use a branded hashtag!

As the name suggests, a branded hashtag is unique to you and your company/brand. It’s a great way to start a conversation with your followers! Make use of your company name or brand slogan everywhere, and if you’re running a specific campaign, then use a unique hashtag to specifically relate to it. Just think of Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign or the #LikeAGirl campaign. Yes, these were huge and went viral worldwide but you get the picture! Don’t forget that you can also use a social media monitoring tool like agorapulse.com to see the impact of your campaign or brand.  Whatever you do, don’t over-complicate things – keep your brand or campaign hashtag short, catchy and simple.


Tap into the power of User Generated Content (USG)

So you’ve got a brilliant branded hashtag, what next?  It’s not enough to just use it when sharing your company’s content, you’ve got to get other people to use it.  Instagram users have to be encouraged to use your branded hashtag when sharing a photo or video related to your product, and it’s really important that you make them feel part of a community. Contests are all the rage right now, especially those where followers upload photos onto Instagram, tagging the post with a specific branded hashtag. Do this and you’ll be encouraging people to have fun, while driving engagement and widening your audience reach.


Get mentioned by influencers with your hashtag

Speaking of USG, never underestimate the importance of influencers! Spend some time locating the most important influencers in your industry (just search by keyword) and let them know that you would like to collaborate with them, whereby you can offer them payment in return for them sharing specific content with your company or campaign hashtags. A surefire way of getting people interested in your brand, you’ll automatically increase your visibility and work up hype about your brand.


Use trending & community hashtags

As the name suggests, trending hashtags are those that have become really popular right now. The moment you spot a trendy hashtag that relates to your business, be sure to use it as it will give you the potential to reach a huge audience. Then there are general community hashtags to tap into which may not be directly related to your brand, but are still relevant. If, for example, your brand is related to the food industry, #instafood or #foodie are some you’ll probably always want to use. If you’re in the fashion industry, #ootd (Outfit Of The Day) is very popular, if you’re in the travel industry and share lots of cool pictures, then #bestoftheday is a good one, and the list goes on. As you increase exposure, you’ll simply show up in more search results and become more visible to a wider audience. But it doesn’t end there; tap onto the hashtags that are related to your brand and start engaging with these industry related posts by liking them and commenting on them. This in turn, will encourage engagement with your brand as users will be more likely to check you out and start engaging with your brand!


Be a detective!

How can you know which cool creative community hashtags to use? A quick google search of popular hashtags in your industry will help. But we suggest you really become a bit of detective and have a look at what other industry leaders, influencers or businesses in your field are using, and make use of a hashtags discovery tool like top-hashtags.com to find good hashtags that directly relate to your business. You can also check out related top hashtags that Instagram suggests when you type your hashtag into the app’s search bar. And do remember, the more niche (and often rather quirky!) the hashtag, the more engaged users are likely to be.

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