May 8, 2017

3 Ways to Use Hashtags to Gain Traffic On Your Instagram

While it may seem limiting, there are really only a handful of ways to effectively gain traffic on your Instagram account.

One of the most effective methods–hashtags–is an airtight Instagram practice that has proven to reach more users who otherwise might not have been exposed to your post.

When using hashtags on your Instagram post, there are three main “umbrella” methods that can be used to gain traffic both on and off of your Instagram page: introducing variety, intentional branding, and distribution channels beyond social media collectively make for a fool-proof, traffic-gaining formula. Here’s why.

Introduce Hashtag Variety

Right off the bat, this may sound almost too simple. Anybody with an Instagram account and basic social media knowledge can include numerous and unique hashtags with their post, right?

While this may be true, using a variety of hashtags with brand intentionality is a different story. Your business name and brand recognition/slogan might not change, but your hashtags must.

For instance, if Starbucks uses only #FrappeFriday as their flagship Instagram hashtag, followers will soon be bored and will likely be expecting something more creative and unique. Mixing in seasonal hashtags, such as Starbucks’ famous, fall-season #PumpkinSpice, can be used to announce the annual return of a classic product or the launch of a new one.

Using hashtags just to stay relevant on Instagram will not do you much good. With the amount of traffic and competition on the social media marketplace and with the amount of noise in the digital world, brands need to creatively set themselves apart more than ever. One or two repetitive hashtags just won’t cut it anymore.

Take Your Hashtag Beyond Social Media

Nowadays, a marketing world so digitalized has nearly demonized the phrase “traditional marketing.” It almost sounds like a bad word.

But the reality is quite the opposite: the climate has never been better for traditional marketing methods to step back into the limelight due to the amount of noise online. Many marketing agencies are finding themselves delving back into the worlds of direct mail, print design, and so forth.

Because traditional marketing methods are finding their footing in a digital environment, social media cannot be the only platform used to gain traffic through hashtags.

Collaborate with others to come up with a well-told, story-driven brand campaign with a memorable hashtag as the icon. Then, distribute it with frequency, consistency, and strategy.

Your distribution channels can and should stretch far beyond social media; print design, direct mail marketing pieces, billboards, TV and radio spots are all calling for attention. Make your hashtag stand out beyond social media before others do.

Keep Your Brand Consistent

Perhaps the most important thing to remember in any social media marketing campaign is brand consistency.

If you run a fishing reel company and you have been using keywords like saltwater, dock fishing, and outdoors to associate with your brand, it’s probably not a good idea to switch things up by using hashtags like #BoatingDay and #FreshwaterFriday.

Instead, stick to what your followers already expect out of your brand. If your followers associate your brand with casual, saltwater fishing on the shore of the beach, create a hashtag like #BeachDayEveryDay to keep your brand message streamlined.

Your hashtag is only as strong as your brand is, so make sure you help your brand by creating a memorable and recognizable hashtag, not the other way around.

Whole Foods Market does a great job of engaging the general public (and their demographic following in particular) by using already-popular hashtags with which their brand already resonates in order to gain traffic.

Since Whole Foods offers an array of food items that can be served at brunch, #BrunchGoals was a fitting hashtag. It also complements a clean photo.

Introducing hashtag variety, taking your hashtag beyond social media marketing and keeping your brand consistent do not necessarily guarantee a five million follower gain overnight, but they certainly are three tried-and-true methods to gaining Instagram traffic when done with passion and consistency.