Love it or hate it, Instagram is becoming the next social media powerhouse. Armed with high-pixel camera phones, fans populate the site with gorgeous, well-formulated pictures and stories. And backed by the Facebook machine, the market positioning of IG is unrivaled. So how can you optimize Instagram hashtag analytics and use them to build your brand? There are lots of apps you can use, but first, it helps to understand the platform itself.
- Pick the right metrics
Novices focus on followers and likes, and those are great. But they’re not the real measure of success. Clicking ‘like’ is easy. It takes no effort, so it won’t necessarily translate into sales. Instead, dwell on engagement. You want your targets to ‘talk back’ to you – that’s what you should be checking. Not the likes, follows, or emoji. Look for their comments, and create content that makes your readers wants to ‘say something’.
- Plan your content
Think of your Instagram page as a conversation. You don’t just want hearts and saves. The type of follower that thinks of a response – and takes the time to type it – is more likely to buy from you. They’re also more likely to make repeat visits, increasing your opportunities for conversion. Craft your content in advance. Use a content calendar and automation tools. Instagram hashtag analytics help you spot them faster than memorising their usernames.
- Make your presence felt
While automation is definitely helpful, you don’t want to turn into a robotic brand page. Calendars help you produce consistent, timely, relevant content. They ease the process, but they should never replace you. Be active on the page, answering comments, responding to queries. If something important, exciting, or immediate is happening, jump into the fray. Just remember to keep your hashtag-jacking tasteful and entertaining. Don’t get sued.
- Put your brand in it
Selecting the right hashtag is crucial. Your Instagram hashtag analytics can tell you which hashtag performed best, but it can’t help you create them in the first place. Double-check your spelling – the meaning could change if it’s mis-read. (Just think of #Susanalbumparty and shudder). Caps can guide your followers on the *correct* pronunciation, but it won’t stop the memes, so check, then check again. Think of it as a long-tail keyword and slip your brand name in a natural, contextual, fun way. Read it out loud to be sure it’s articulable.
Your hashtag will largely remain on the screen, but people will talk about it. Make it easy and fun to say, so it flows through offline conversations. Include a call-to-action. Your branded hashtag should tell your readers exactly what you’d like them to do. It creates an imperative ambience and primes them for purchase (or whichever action you’d like them to take). For example: #BuyBrandNow is stronger than #GenericBrandSale. But #BuyBrandBeforeNoon is even better, because it inspires urgency.
Many social media marketers miss out on the power of Instagram hashtag analytics because they employ them too late. Get familiar with the magic of hashtags first, create the right ones, then use analytics to maximise your brand benefit.