How To Use Instagram Hashtags To Improve B2B Customer Engagement
B2B marketers often overlook Instagram, judging it to be purely consumer-oriented. With its predominantly visual nature, it is easy to see why one would think so.
It is certainly easier to persuade an individual to buy new shoes by showing how awesome they look than to convince a company representative to sign a large-scale contract via visual imagery. Nevertheless, some studies (like TrackMaven’s research) show that it is nothing more than a stereotype. In truth, B2B companies get their highest engagement ratios on Instagram compared to other social media platforms. This means that neglecting Instagram means discounting at least a billion people who consistently use it every month. An impressive 200 million of them visit at least one business profile every day.
However, what should one pay attention to when organizing an Instagram campaign? The answer is simple: hashtags. While they are not your only concern, using them correctly is of paramount importance. In this article, we will cover some of the most important things you should know about Instagram hashtags.
1. Start with Targeted Research
Some marketers simply generate a dozen or so hashtags based on the keywords they already use, then start adding them to their posts indiscriminately. This is nothing more than a token effort that will not bring you any results.
To get things moving, you have first to do your research and find out who your target audience is. Then go on to find which topics interest them, and how your more successful competitors connect with them. Look for relevant hashtags that already have a huge following and capitalize on them.
You may also want to read: How To Use Hashtags to Find Your Target Audience on Instagram
2. Automate Elements of Your Campaign with Useful Tools
You can spend time on Instagram to manually perform activities related to your campaigns. These include researching hashtags, liking the photos of followers you want to attract, and commenting on their posts.
Needless to say, that will take a whole lot of time. However, some tools, like a hashtag generator can help you automate parts of this process and save precious time to do other things that are essential to your business.
3. Make Hashtags Less Obvious
Hashtags may be important, but the less obvious you make them, the better. Your readers should focus on your beautifully worded captions, not “under-the-hood” stuff like hashtags. If they always see a dozen or more hashtags at the end of every caption, it may appear spammy and cluttered.
Fortunately, there’s a way to address this issue. The easiest way to do it is to post hashtags separately. Put them in the first comment instead of including them in the caption. After your post receives a few more comments, your visitors will be able to see the hashtags only if they choose to view them all.
4. Limit the Number of Hashtags
Everything is good in moderation, hashtags included. Count how many you use – if there are more than 30, Instagram will not show the post in searches. It is better to focus on a few laser-focused, well-researched hashtags than to use dozens and dozens of generic ones.
5. Avoid Banned Hashtags
While you should obviously steer clear of hashtags related to illegal activities or topics contradicting Instagram’s policies, sometimes distinguishing between acceptable and banned hashtags may be a little difficult. For example, Instagram bans many seemingly innocuous hashtags like #newyearsday or #brain.They’re obviously not offensive, so why is this? Well, they are so overused, they have become irrelevant.
6. Use Niche Hashtags
It is essential to maintain a balance between the volume of users and the level of competition. Certainly, broader hashtags have greater audiences. But with so many business and non-business accounts using them, the likelihood of attracting the attention of potential followers becomes negligible. Look for niche hashtags that have both a dedicated following and less competition.
7. Use Hashtags That People Will Look For
It is important to distinguish between being niche and being obscure. Remember that you use Instagram hashtags to attract potential clients and eventually, hopefully, convert some of them. It should be easy to remember and easy to type, but these things are secondary.
First and foremost, it should be something relevant people will notice, look for, and engage with. Many B2B companies mistakenly believe that focusing on hashtags based on, for example, their slogans are effective because nobody else uses them.
In reality, it is precisely the reason to avoid such a strategy. If nobody uses them, people have zero reasons to look for them, let alone engage with them.
You may also want to read: 6 Instagram Marketing Lessons from the Best B2B Companies
8. Maintain Balance between Different Types of Hashtags
B2B accounts should use three basic types of hashtags: content, trending, and branded ones.
- Content hashtags are directly relevant for your product, service, or industry in general. These are the most important because they are the main reason new people keep finding your posts
- Trending hashtags are whatever people talk about right now if it is at least marginally relevant for your business and industry. These serve to increase the visibility of your brand in the short term
- Branded hashtags are the least important, but you should not completely forgo them. These are unique hashtags used by your brand – they may include your company name, slogans, etc. While they do not promote your business as such, they have their uses. You can include them in posts related to events or contests so that users can easily follow them. Or you can use them for general branding so that readers can immediately distinguish your posts from what is offered by the competition.
Focus on content hashtags, peppering them with tending and branded ones when appropriate, and experiment to find the right proportions of each type.
Preparing and running an Instagram hashtag campaign is a complicated, multi-stage process, and these tips just scratch the surface of what you can do to organize and optimize it. However, using them will already give you an advantage over many marketers who are not process-oriented and create Instagram posts and use hashtags almost at random.
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