Successful social media strategy is all about connecting with a community, and Instagram’s latest update makes it easier than ever to reach new audiences and deliver information that turns followers into customers.
The ability to search for hashtags on Instagram isn’t new, but this update allows users to follow hashtags and see those posts directly in their news feed, rather than having to search for them intentionally. Each Instagram user’s profile will show not only WHO they’re following, but also what hashtags they are following as well. One of the biggest changes to the platform is the ability to reach non-followers who are following a hashtag you use. This change has the potential to focus on engagement and quality over quantity.
When it comes to your business, there are several ways these changes can be beneficial to your social media presence:
- Tracking industry trends: It’s always important to have your finger on the pulse of your industry, and hashtags are a great way to keep up. Take the time to do a little research periodically about what influencers, customers, and competitors are talking about. This can mean the difference between content that falls flat and content that thrives.
- Use (relevant) hashtags that your intended followers are watching: Are your ideal customers planning a #familyvacation? Do they live in #Charleston, or #Houston, or #NewYork? Do they need #lawncaretips? Getting into the mind of your target audience can help you create a list of hashtags that will resonate with the Instagram users you want to reach.
- Curate user-generated content: One of the best ways to engage with users and create engaging content on Instagram is to share customer photos! Establishing a hashtag (or two) that your customers know to use on their posts is a simple way to gather those images in one place for easy access. Attach a hashtag to a giveaway, campaign or event your business is hosting to see how your customers are engaging with your business through social media.
With all these exciting changes, it’s easy to get carried away and use every hashtag imaginable to get your content in front of a wider audience. But use caution when it comes to choosing irrelevant hashtags. Going overboard can be detrimental for a couple of reasons:
- Users have the option to click “Don’t Show for This Hashtag” above images they deem irrelevant, effectively “teaching” Instagram what they do and don’t want to see in their feed.
- Abusing hashtags and mislabeling posts can damage your brand and lead to followers unsubscribing. Your target audience is following a hashtag because they’re interested in that topic or they’re searching for a solution to a problem. Overwhelming them with irrelevant posts is the quickest way to lose followers.
As customers continue to show that they value engagement and authenticity when it comes to social media, Instagram’s latest update gives business the tools to connect with their community more than ever before.