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Covering the foundations of why hashtags are essential, how they work and how you can get the most out of them.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to learn with us. Whilst our primary focus is providing you with high-quality software that improves your social strategy, we are extremely passionate about teaching you how to use the tools you need to grow, from an educational standpoint too.
The aim of the course is to provide you with the necessary knowledge required to grow and succeed with hashtags, as well as arm you with a data-driven framework that helps you start building, and developing a hashtag strategy that you can consistently apply to your content.
We hope that you love this course, as much as we loved creating it for you. As you're going through the modules, we would love to hear about your progress and how you are finding it. You can keep us up to date by following us on Instagram (@flick.hashtags) and sending us a DM!
Throughout this course, you will be asked to complete assignments and take notes. Please store these notes somewhere you will be able to revise them (whether online or with a good old fashioned pen and paper). Make sure to check off tasks as you complete them at the top or bottom of each module.
Ready to get started? Let's jump in!
Like any good story, the best place to start is from the beginning. Before building up your knowledge and using more advanced tactics, you need to get to grips with the basics. Set a pace that works for you, and don’t rush – your Instagram hashtag strategy is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you've already got a good understanding of hashtags, that doesn't mean you should skip this step (and all of the other steps in the Establish module). There's nothing wrong with refreshing your knowledge around the fundamentals of using hashtags effectively, in order to build a solid strategy.
Although hashtags are typically known for improving the reach of your posts and casting your net out to a wider audience, there's a lot more to it than you may first think...
They help match your Instagram account to Instagram's algorithm. If you use hashtags that are related to fitness, they'll know the best fitness-loving audiences to push your content to.
Hashtags can help get immediate eyes on your posts. Did you know that most Flick users who follow a hashtag strategy are getting 70% of their post Impressions via hashtags?
When people search on Instagram, they search by hashtags - they are Instagram's search tool. This means that if you use the right hashtags, you can get your content in front of an audience who are already actively looking for posts like yours. It’s much easier to convert people already looking for your content.
Instagram’s machine learning technology favours content that is well-labeled, and if you do this using hashtags, your posts will be shown to a wider audience.
A successful hashtag strategy is built on stable foundations, derived from core principles. And, understanding these principles will allow you to feel confident that the decisions you make will lead to quality results.
📊 Impressions are achieved from 'ranking' on a hashtag: On a hashtag, there is a 'top posts' feed and a 'recent' feed. When using hashtags to increase your reach, your aim is to get your post to rank as highly as possible on the top posts feed - generally, the higher you rank the more Impressions your posts will gain.
You've most likely heard of the 'top 9' posts in a hashtag before, but you can still get results below this point - At Flick, we split the top posts feed into the following categories:
Top 9 posts
10th - 25th
25th - 50th
50th - 100th
🌄 Relevancy: The more relevant your hashtags are, the better the results you'll get - Instagram wants to provide the best user experience for its audiences, which means giving hyper-targeted content. The more accurately you label your content, the more relevant an audience the platform can serve your posts to, and in turn, increase your reach!
🙅♀️ Hashtag Competition/Size: Some hashtags are more competitive than others, and you can gauge the level of hashtag's competition by looking at its 'Average Likes' (the average engagement levels of the people who are appearing in the top-posts section of a hashtag) - something we’ll cover more in-depth in the 'Hashtag Research' module.
📸 Content is still king: Hashtags will help excellent content reach more people, but they can't save content that isn’t high quality. Make sure your content is both attention-grabbing and matches/exceeds the quality of the posts that are currently doing well on the hashtags you're targeting.
⏱ Balance: You will get different levels of results depending on the amount of time you put in, however, it's more important to create a strategy and workflow that fits your schedule and the time you have available - it doesn't have to be 110% at all times.
Here's a formula that you can refer back to at any point! 👇
With so much information about hashtags easily accessible online, it can be hard to understand what advice or rules to follow. A quick and easy way to initially improve your success rate with hashtags is to avoid the common mistakes that people make when it comes to their hashtag use.
It’s important to pay attention to your niche when you are creating a list of hashtags to use on your posts. When you are posting your content, it's easy to fall into the trap of picking broad and top-level hashtags like ‘#fashion’, ‘#fitness’, or ‘#lifestyle’, but by planning ahead, you could use hashtags that are hyper-relevant, and a better size for your account. This will give you a higher chance of ranking on a hashtag, taking you from 100 impressions via hashtags to 5,000.
💡 Tip: If you’re struggling to think of hashtags that are more ‘niche’ take a look at your competitors' accounts and see what hashtags they are using. You can add these to your list, or plug them into Flick to find related hashtags.
We frequently see people who are just getting started using the same 30 hashtags on their posts, regardless of the content. Get specific as often as possible - the more matched up your posts are to your hashtags, the more likely you are to reach more of the right people.
An additional benefit is that by diversifying your tags, you're more likely to reach new audiences more frequently, rather than reaching the same people over and over.
By using banned hashtags on your posts, it's possible you may be limiting your content to reaching its full potential. Hashtags can become banned or flagged overnight and they change frequently based on people reporting content. Fortunately, you can use Flick's Smart Audit / Banned Hashtag Checker to check hashtags in your Collections or before you copy them to your clipboard - helping you feel safe about the hashtags you are using.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again (7 more times to be exact) building an Instagram Hashtag Strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. If you don't get results from the get-go, don't worry and don't give up. The most important thing about this course is setting the foundations and extracting key learnings for what you will be doing in the future.
Hashtags are essential for the growth of your account, and will help you reach the right audiences, who are engaged in and/or are looking for your content.
Hashtag success requires time and strategy. Rather than just using random hashtags there should be a method to the magic. It will take a bit of time to get into the swing of things, but when you do, trust us, it’ll be worth it!
Your hashtags should match your content if you want the best results possible, and you should use a variation of hashtags across all of your posts.
Pay attention to the size of your hashtags, and how competitive they are in relation to your account and performance. This will help you understand and predict what hashtags may work for you, and which may not.
Hashtags can help increase your visibility by over 30%, no matter what your account size is.
This won’t be too strenuous - don’t worry! Your first task is to take a look at the hashtags you’re already using (if any) and revise the way you have used hashtags in the past - As you evaluate your current strategy, keep the information we've covered in mind, and note down where you might be going wrong, or where you could improve - writing this down will help reinforce these new learnings and keep them front of mind.
Once you have completed this, write down the key goals you have for the growth of your Instagram account in general, which you can use to motivate yourself and self-audit once you have a foolproof strategy in place.
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