Believe it or not, several businesses and even prominent individuals have found success thanks to Instagram. But for every person that has a huge, responsive following, there are thousands more that don’t. Instagram can be powerful, but you have to be smart about how you use it. Enter Instagram hashtags to expand your reach.

How do Hashtags Work and Why Use Them?

When a user searches the term dieting, Instagram will show all the recent posts containing the dieting keyword. By using #dieting as a hashtag on your posts, you are telling Instagram to put forward your post whenever someone searches for the term dieting in Instagram.

The beauty of hashtags is their ability to reach a wide range of people that may have nothing to do with your account (they don’t follow you specifically). By simply using some hashtags, you can increase your content’s reach drastically. Many people actively search out certain hashtags, and your images will be there waiting for them.

Use Brand Specific Hashtags

Some companies have hit a homerun with brand-specific hashtags. These are different from standard keyword hashtags and take some time to grow. The trick is to create a unique hashtag for your business, and use it whenever you can.

You should also make effort to spread the word, especially among your followers and customers, and the ultimate goal would be to get them spreading the word for you once they start using the hashtag themselves.

Making the Most of Trending Hashtags

Another way to make use of hashtags on Instagram is to target trending hashtags. These are the ones that are super-popular right now. This may be thanks to a current event, or something that has gone viral. The key is to be on the lookout, notice when a certain hashtag seems popular, and post content under that hashtag to take advantage of the huge number of viewers the hashtag is getting.

Finding the Best Hashtags for Your Business

Plastering random hashtags across the site won’t work the magic for you. You will have to meticulously choose the best hashtags to reach to the right audience. They should be relevant to the keywords searched by your target audience, and you’ll need to keep an eye on which ones perform best for you (which isn’t always easy!) For more ideas, take a look at your competitor profiles and see the hashtags they use to promote their business.

If you’re not using hashtags on Instagram then you really are missing out. They can work very well, but it takes time, thought and analysis to understand which ones will really expand your reach to the next level.

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