Brands on Instagram: Using hashtags
Hashtags are the backbone of Instagram. They’re the main source of photo discovery (a distant second for this would be unofficial “regramming” of other Instagram user’s photos; Instagram itself doesn’t have a direct mechanism for this but some third-party apps exist) and they give your posts context, connection, and more.
Hashtags like #TBT (Throwback Thursday) have become so popular they’ve leaked onto other websites, and not just through cross-posting from Instagram itself. When you use hashtags like this, you become part of an online cultural movement— and like we’ve talked about before, that’s a space you need to respect as you enter it.
For brands this mainly means: Don’t force photos of your product into a space they don’t belong by tagging them with unrelated hashtags just because those hashtags are popular. Posting #TBT to an image of an old office space or a photo of your founders’ first meeting at a conference would make sense; tacking #TBT onto a photo of a new product you launched last week would be awkward at best and might get your photo “Report[ed] Inappropriate” at worst.
Do your research to see what the popular hashtags are that relate to your industry and products, and then strive to use them in clever, creative and useful ways, rather than just adding a walled paragraph of the popular hashtags to every single one of your images. Your fans and followers will thank you.
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