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In addition to being able to schedule posts via third-party tools, one of Instagram’s recent updates enables users to follow hashtags. Let’s count the ways on why this is a beautiful update:

  1. With the right hashtag strategy, this new feature can help you increase organic reach and gain new followers.  
  2. Creating a branded hashtag, and encouraging folks to follow it, can be an excellent way of tracking and engaging with user-generated content.
  3. As a business page, you can now follow hashtags. This enables you to easily join real-time conversations, get content inspiration, and analyze your hashtag insights.

With this updates, it’s now more important than ever to have solid hashtag strategy. Many social media managers will need to update their plan, while some may need to start over completely.

Unsure where your brand stands? Here are four signs that you need a complete Instagram hashtag makeover:

1. You don’t use hashtags at all

There’s honestly no valid reason to avoid hashtags on Instagram, given they’re such a significant part of how the platform operates.

It would be like using a coffee maker with no water – your delicious coffee grounds will just sit in the filter and go to waste without the water. 70% of hashtags in Instagram are branded, if that tells you anything. 

2. You copy and paste the same hashtags

You may have a stellar, relevant list of branded and industry hashtags that got the job done for a while, but like your emails, it’s time to segment that list.

There are three potential problems to using the same list of hashtags on every post.

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First, people following that hashtag may get sick and tired of seeing the same content from you, especially if it’s a niche hashtag. In addition to following a hashtag, they can also choose to unfollow your use of that tag.

Second, you limit yourself to one interest group. For example, MiracleFeet, an organization that helps to treat clubfoot, often uses hashtags associated with their cause: #clubfoot #clubfootawareness #clubfootbaby.

Going beyond the diagnosis in this example post enabled them to potentially reach a new, global healthcare audience by using hashtags like #healthcare #globalhealth #globalhealthcare #ngo

?taken by=miraclefeetmiraclefeet instagram

Third, copying and pasting the same hashtags on every post may trigger a spam alert by Instagram’s algorithm, and could negatively impact your reach.

3. You use hashtags that are no longer allowed or restricted by Instagram

Don’t skip this section thinking that inappropriate hashtags are the only reference here. Sure, some of the banned hashtags are naughty by nature, but some may surprise you – especially the hashtags deemed restricted by Instagram.

Heck, you may be using some of these restricted hashtags…

#womancrushwednesday #adulting #dating #happythanksgiving #humpday #kickoff #snapchat #tag4like #tgif

And with Valentine’s Day content around the corner, beware…

valentinesdayvalentines day

4. You don’t use Instagram insights

Profile visits, reach, followers, and actions have all been available for your monthly social media reports. Now, insights for business profiles just got even more interesting. You can view insights on a post, swipe up, and view more in-depth information on how your post was discovered, including (you guessed it) hashtags.

smt hashtag insights

Make the most of every Instagram post by executing a thoughtful hashtag strategy. Using a segmented hashtag list, avoiding the banned and restricted hashtags, and analyzing your efforts will surely have a positive impact on your social media reports. 

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