How to create a successful #HashtagStrategy in 2019

Marketers who seek to improve their brands’ Instagram presence or simply want to step up their game on their private account should take note: Follow these rules and see your fans grow! #yourwelcome

A thought-through hashtag strategy is the basis of every brand’s success on Instagram, one of the world’s largest social media platform and a marketer’s paradise. These tags can help grow your audience, boost engagement as well as increase your posts reach with precise targeting.

Instagram Account with Hashtags

But let’s start from the beginning: Why should you advertise on Instagram? 

With 1 billion daily users, “the Gram” is a lucrative marketing platform, especially for brands which benefit from a visual representation. There are multiple ways to advertise including sponsored posts, story ads, etc., and ever since Instagram introduced the ability to follow hashtags, they’ve become a must-have too. As paid impressions rise, hashtags are the best way to drive content organically. For a successful strategy and maximum organic reach, you should use a mix of these three categories:

1. Generic Hashtags

The golden rule here: Quality instead of quantity. Only choose hashtags that are relevant for your brand and your content. Their follower volume should range between 5.000 and max. 500.000. This seems like a big span but ask yourself: What is my audience actually interested in? Which keywords could my post be the answer to? Also, always keep an eye out for hashtag trends that could be used for future campaigns.

2. Location Hashtags

Brands with a regional focus will find their fans using country and area specific hashtags. The more specific they are, the narrower the pool of targeted users, which facilitates building a highly engaged audience. That’s why it’s important to research those hashtags. For example: Instead of #amsterdam, consider utilising #amstergram, #iamsterdam, #igersamsterdam, etc.

Tip: If you use location-based hashtags in your stories, users who follow these hashtags will be able to view your Instagram Story in real-time. Not many brands take advantage of this feature just yet even though it is a great opportunity to reach new, potential followers.

3. Brand Specific Hashtags

What’s essential for every successful hashtag strategy is of course also the implementation of brand specific hashtags. Using those does not only benefit the brand but also motivates the fans to use the same ones and thus create additional organic user generated content. And what would be a better and easier way for you and your fans to interact with each other? This could be as simple as your company name, tagline, specific products or marketing campaigns, e.g. for Under Armour: #underarmour #iwill #usrush #projectrock

How many Hashtags should I use? 

At the moment, Instagram only allows 30 hashtags per post – many companies only use a fraction of this, which limits their reach. Even though there is no golden rule here, experts recommend between 10-15 per post. This also prevents it from looking spammy. Whilst even 10 can look like big chunk, there are many ways to visually divide the copy with those hashtags, such as dots, lines or symbols. There’s also the trick of hiding them by creating the post text in apple notes and then paste it into your post.

Screenshot of Surfyonder Social Media

Screenshot: Surfyonder

In summary: Hashtags are a useful tool to help grow your audience, boost engagement and reach potential customers on Instagram. Keeping a list with 50-70 hashtags (should be updated regularly!) and checking which ones work well with your audience is an easy way to keep your strategy moving forward. So, next time you publish a post, consider these tips and see your brand grow organically!


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