With over a billion monthly users and one of the highest engagement rates in the industry, Instagram has been nothing short of revolutionary for brands and businesses. 71% of all companies use Instagram to market their products and services.
While social media marketing broke through more than a few years ago, Instagram has elevated the game to a completely different level. One reason why Instagram has been able to get the reach that it has been able to is hashtags.
Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at how hashtags have been able to increase the viability of Instagram as a marketing platform for brands.
Hashtags were introduced first on Twitter, but the trend really came into its own on Instagram. While Twitter has plateaued as a business platform, Instagram continues to grow stronger with time. Hashtags serve essential functions on both platforms – searching for content.
Here are some eye-opening facts about Instagram hashtags you should know, especially if you’re a brand –
- 66.6% of Instagram posts contain at least one hashtag
- The top 3 hashtags on Instagram are #love, #instagood, and #fashion
- Up to 30 hashtags can be used on a regular post
- Using 1 hashtag can help you gain a 12.6% increase in engagement
- The optimal number of hashtags per post is 11
Why should you use hashtags on Instagram?
Regardless of the number of changes that the Instagram algorithm goes through, hashtags are going to be part of the platform. Even today, the easiest way to get noticed is by using hashtags that are relevant to your brand and niche. Using the right hashtags can give your brand more exposure as well as invite increased engagement from followers in the niche.
Another important fact is that Instagram is always releasing new updates that are centric to hashtags. With Instagram Insights, they are making it easier to monitor and measure how well hashtags are performing on an Instagram Business profile. Insights is also a reliable indicator if you’ve chosen the right hashtags for your campaign.
Should you add hashtags to comments or captions?
This topic is something that has been hotly contested and has caused two schools of thought to branch out. There are an equal number of marketers who believe hashtags should be added to comments as well as captions. Instagram has had many updates to the algorithm, and this makes it difficult for people to “game” the platform.
Instagram is aware that users are always trying to streamline their hashtag usage. What people need to understand is that on Instagram, personal and business accounts work quite differently with regards to hashtags and everything else as well. What we can do is look at what users from both groups are saying about it and consider appropriate takeaways.
Group#1 – Hashtags in comments
Many people saying that the hashtags need to be in the comments believe that the Instagram algorithm picks your hashtags regardless of where they are placed. They opt to put them in the comments because it gives the post a cleaner look as compared to putting them in the captions.
We think they have a good point with this, especially when it comes to the aesthetic sense of it all. No follower, loyal or not, would be all right with every post that has 30 hashtags to it. Some feel that it draws more users because it improves user experience. Some people add that putting in the first comment can encourage other people to comment, as well.
Group #2 – Hashtags in captions
Again, we see a lot of opinions here about why people should be using hashtags in captions. People who use it on the captions feel that doing so actually increases engagement. Some of the users talk about Instagram shadowbanning their content if they hashtag in the comment section.
People who use hashtags in the captions argue that for an overall cleaner look, you could use dots to push your hashtags below your content. This does work, and your caption looks a lot less cluttered when you start doing this. Another option is to include some hashtags into your captions organically. However, you’ll find with the organic approach, you may not be able to include as many captions as you like.
Captions Or Comments – Which Is Better?
So, captions or comments – this is a hard topic to debate, and the answer is nowhere close to being simple. There are equal numbers of advocates for both sides, and many people claim that there is no difference regardless of which you choose. However, some people using hashtags in captions said they did it for fear of being shadowbanned if they added it to comments. You can get more details about hashtags on captions vs comments from Social Media Today.
If we were REALLY forced to choose: at the moment, the safest bet would be to go with hashtags in captions till Instagram themselves come out with a clarification about the issue. That said, make sure that you choose the right hashtag for your brand and check out competitors’ feeds for inspiration. Hashtags are powerful tools when used right and can give your business a big boost when it comes to engagement and brand awareness.