Social Media Tidbit: All About #Hashtags (Instagram)
We get tons of questions about how to best self-promote, especially across social media. In a digital world that's continuously shifting it may feel intimidating to keep up with current trends to best optimize your visibility in the social media ether. We wanted to give you some tips on using social media for optimizing your self-marketing experience!
In this blog post we are going to focus on the almighty hashtag (for Instagram...yes this information varies across platform). By now we all know that the hashtag (#) is here to stay, so, let's talk about all things hashtag for a mome (you know I abbreviated "moment" because I'm that girl).
1. Use All 30 Hashtags
You should all be using the 30 allotted hashtags! Some blogs say 9-10 hashtags is the sweet spot, but after doing some A/B testing on our own platform, we found that was severely untrue (for us at least, everyone is different). Experiment with your own variations of hashtag frequency and try out an A/B test of your own. For example, for 1 week hashtag all of your posts with 10 keywords, and then on the second week load your posts up with that dirty 30. Remember, to control for confounding data, try and post the same number of posts and similar types of content each week. This will let you minimize the possibility that engagement is driven by content type, rather than by hashtag volume. Then compare which posts performed better based on engagement, and, if you have access to business tools, also make sure to check out reach and impressions for both weeks. You can continue running these kinds of tests until you find your perfect fit.
2. Understand The Best Types of Hashtags to Use
You can literally make anything a hashtag, so how do you know what will work best? Well we have identified three types of hashtags based on audience views/popularity of use:
a) Super Popular Hashtags = have hundreds of thousands and up to millions of other posts hashtagged similarly
b) Sweet Spot Hashtags = have thousands to tens of thousands of other posts hashtagged similarly
c) Bad/Un-Popular Hashtags = usually below a few thousand other posts hashtagged similarly
You want to hit that sweet spot area. Use a hashtag that is overused, and your post will be drowned out by others. Use an un-popular hashtag, and it is likely no one is actually searching by that keyword and no one will see it. That sweet spot suggests enough people are using the hashtag that it is relevant, but your post won't get pushed out of sight too fast.
Throwing it back to tip #1 above, using up to 30 hashtags allows you to experiment with these three categories and cover your bases in each. The main focus, however, should be in that sweet spot (which you can find by doing some of your own sleuthing). Also, while they are definitely a part of that first über popular category, staying on top of trending hashtags is a good idea. Join the conversation, be a part of a community, and get your art seen as part of a larger purpose.
3. What Are Your Top Keywords?
Moving on to hashtags you use across each post...Ever notice that our top 9 hashtags are always the same? This is because using the same hashtags on each post can help you kind of monopolize on that hashtag. Remember it should be relevant to your post or who you are as an artist/brand (more on this later). To find this we did some research on other similar companies to ours, that post similar content, and compiled a hashtag list that would serve our mission as well. In your own research, you should also look to artists who you admire and see what hashtags they are using. Check out communities you want to be a part of, or who might be interested in your work, and copy their hashtags. For example, as artists on TeePublic, you guys could always use #teepublic #digitalartist #independentartist #printondemand, etc...plus whatever else serves your content and target audience.
4. Hashtags Should Be Relevant
Remember, hash-tags should be relevant, and descriptive of what is actually being represented in the post. Instagram's ever changing algorithm will begin to de-prioritize your visibility if you use hashtags that are irrelevant to the content you post. Don't use a hashtag as click-bait, this won't serve you well.
If you post the above picture, title it "Hai Fren", and use the hashtag #motorcycleman, Instagram might take note and penalize your visibility down the line for not being genuine about your posting. Instead, tag it #friendlydogs!
5. Find Your Niche, Don't Scream into the Void
Hashtagging special niches that have cult followings is MAJOR! The hashtag #art is so broad and will drown you out with people who like art but might not be into what you're putting out. If you target a fandom, you are likely to get way more responses, as the viewers are there to specifically see the kind of content you are posting! On TeePublic, designers sometimes over-estimate the effect that our promotion of them has. Think of it like this, we are blasting a design out to a very broad audience, only some of whom might care about what they are seeing. But if you target a very specific niche on your own, you are way more likely to get that engagement. For example, us sending out a post with an anime design hits a bunch of people, most of whom likely don't care about anime...but you promoting an anime design to anime lovers...now that's money!
Also, try experimenting with hash-tagging with emojis! Got a design with a cute cactus in it? Why not throw in a #🌵!
7. The Internet is Your Friend
There are pretty much infinite articles and resources when it comes to using social media online. We suggest you pull out your notebooks and hit the (net) books. A lot of what we learned is from reliable sources we found on Google, there are tons of great blogs out there that will give you all of the answers and more. If you have gotten this far in this article, you've shown you are obviously motivated enough to learn more, so get Googlin'!
There are countless resources on the web that help with hashtagging, so to help you get started, check out the 3 below:
1. Make Em'
Thank you for coming to our TED Talk 😊
Good luck, have fun, and #SeeYouNextTime!
P.S. If you want to learn how to make your very own social media ads in Photoshop, click here!