The use of hashtags is one of the most controversial topics. People have different opinions on hashtagging: some of them literally hate it, the others are keen on overusing them. But one can’t simply deny the fact that a  hashtag has already become an inseparable part of modern culture and has its impact not only on mass media, but on our daily life.

What is a hashtag? How does it work?

According to the Oxford dictionary a hashtag is “a word or phrase with the symbol ‘#’ in front of it (…)”. For example, #love.

Hashtags can be described as tools for improving the network experience. These are “keywords” or even “phrases” that help to organize and categorize  content  on social media and at the same time aid the process of content discovery and optimization. In other words, searching with hashtags  is one of the ways to find  relevant content and sort out useful information.

It’s also worth mentioning that post with even one Instagram hashtag has average 12% more engagement rather than posts without it. It’s no surprise that online sellers see great potential in Instagram as a powerful platform for building business and increasing brand awareness. Besides, when somebody shares your Instagram content to Facebook, the Instagram hashtag is also published.

How do you use hashtags?

Photos and videos which are uploaded to Instagram can be accompanied with a short message and a few hashtags.  In general, hashtagging increases one’s chances to gain new followers and likes and gives an opportunity to connect and engage with other users with common interests. Though almost everybody knows what a hashtag is there are people who don’t know how to use it properly and implement an effective hashtag strategy.

The so-called “the most popular” hashtags like, for example, love, happiness or food, without any doubts, give you a few more likes and serve for the growth of your popularity. However, if you are interested in a long-term relationship with your followers and boosting the reach of your Instagram marketing campaigns then using such simple common words won’t do much for your growth in the future.

Proper combinations of hashtags expose your brand to large and targeted audience.

For example, you have your own small business: you sell clothes for small and newborn babies.

According to Instagram statistics, the hashtag clothes has over 18 million posts. It means that there is a high possibility that your post will fall under the influence of scrolling blindness and just get lost.

If you, for instance, tag your post with the hashtag clothesforkids the amount of posts you compete with will be 16 million.

With the hashtag  clothesfornewborn ( only 210 posts) you can reach highly-targeted audience. Of course, in any cases it doesn’t mean that the usage of the top Instagram hashtags deliver no results. It’s quite the contrary. The top Instagram hashtags have an engaging community behind them and they are specific to this particular audience.

The point is that a hashtag should be oriented on the community that shares an interest in one specific term. The more specific you get the more targeted your audience will be. That increases your chances to have better engagement!

Put simply, with the help of hashtags your content has a better chance to be discovered and followed by other users. Take your time to discover the most popular and at the same time most relevant hashtag combinations on every specific term. Time and effort will be paid off then in increasing engagement.