Hashtags are a fundamental part of being an influencer but their value often gets overlooked. Essentially hashtags are one of the original ways to authentically grow your following and audience on Instagram. Yes, most of you know what a hashtag is, “a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic,” but we like to think of them as a special type of social search engine. Knowing how to find the best hashtags to use on Instagram is extremely important because hashtags allow other users to find your photos (and inevitably account) easily.
You can take it from us – here at Sidewalker Daily, we work with brands on all things influencer marketing (which includes press trips and partnerships) and hashtags are our “go-to” when clients ask for something or someone super specific. We also often use hashtags to find influencers to feature in our beloved Photoguides.
We get asked all the time by the influencers and bloggers we work with: “How can I get more followers?” If there was a magic formula we could bottle up for you, trust us we would, but like all businesses that are successful, they take time to build and a whole lot of strategy too. But what we can tell you is one of the core ways to grow your account organically is to go back to Instagram’s roots and use the good ol’ hashtag.
We like to think of hashtags as extra credit, they are a free way to help grow your business and brand…so why not use them? Figuring out great hashtags to use on Instagram to attract the right followers to your account is more of an art than a science. But don’t worry, we’re going to cover all the things you need to think about to make sure you’re maximizing all opportunities that using hashtags (in the right way) will give you.
Why are hashtags so important anyway?
Instagram uses hashtags to categorize content on their social platform aka hashtags are Instagram’s search engine. By incorporating hashtags into your posts you’re essentially categorizing them in a way to be discoverable by people looking for those types of photos and accounts. Hashtags are not so much for your current followers, but for other people on Instagram that may not have ever heard about you.
So that means hashtags are way to get more “eyeballs” on your page and in turn, grow your followers and fans. Let’s go over an example:
You just got back from exploring Italy and recently posted a picture of the famous Duomo in Florence and used the hashtag #italyvacation on your post.
Let’s say Jamie (a stylist in NYC) is looking to book a trip to Italy but not sure which city she wants to go to…Rome, Venice, Florence…there are so many options! So on her break from work she opens the best place to search for travel inspiration…Instagram.
So in the Instagram search bar, Jaime types in #italyvacation to scroll through pictures she knows will be related to Italy and vacationing, hoping to find something to help her make a decision.
And because you hashtagged #italyvacation on your post, Jamie was able to find your picture because it showed up in her hashtag search. She clicks on the amazing photo you took, then clicks your username, glances over your account bio, scrolls a little to check out your feed, loves all the travel photos you take and hits the famous blue “follow” button and voila, you earned yourself a new follower!
So the moral of the story is, if you hadn’t used the hashtag Jamie was searching for, she may have never found you.