Since its inception almost five years ago, Instagram has consistently improved and expanded its user experience to the benefit of both individuals and brands. The latest improvement, announced this week, updates the platform's Explore page, which features curated sets of photos based around individual topics as well as dedicated pages for trending topics and places.
While much has changed on Instagram since its launch in 2005, one thing that has remained constant is the platform's use of hashtags—the all-important connectors that allow brands to tell their stories, associate themselves with trends and monitor campaigns.
Hashtags on Instagram are for more than entertaining, and deploying them properly isn't easy. For some help with creating and using them, let's take a look at six tips from Nicol Addison, director of corporate communications at Lithium Technologies and a presenter at PR News’ Big 4 Conference on Aug. 6 in San Francisco.
- This is the time to be creative. You want hashtags that elicit emotion and action. They should also align with your brand or campaign, encourage sharing and be connected to the content being promoted.
- Take it easy. Hashtags shouldn't be used to tell the entire story, and hashtag fatigue is real. Pick just the hashtags that are most relevant.
- Make it readable. Hashtags that are hard to understand can end up looking like a jumble of letters instead of a carefully crafted message.
- Make sure your new, fresh hashtag isn't just a rehash of another campaign. While re-hashing a tag isn’t all bad, make sure the hashtag you plan to use is one you want to be associated with.
- Encourage followers to use your hashtags. Let them know that you want them to jump on board and take action.
- Don't disappear. Track and monitor your hashtags. That's essential to being part of the conversation, and it's a way to make sure the hashtag hasn't been converted into a #fail.
Attend PR News' Big 4 Conference at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on Aug. 6 and get social media case studies from Aflac, the American Heart Association, Adobe, Charles Schwab, Edelman, FexEx, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, IBM, Levi Strauss & Co., LEWIS Pulse, Lithium Technologies, Sharecare, Transamerica, Weber Shandwick and the World Surf League.
Follow Lithium Technologies on Twitter: @LithiumTech
Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene