Use Hashtags As Your Personal Hyperlinks
Using personalized hashtags will keep your followers on your page and engaged with content they want.
Discover and Engage
The three biggest problems for businesses on Instagram are discovery, engagement, and driving sales. In the last chapter, we solved the discovery problem — no more generic hashtags. But what about engagement?
Although Instagram doesn’t allow you to use links within your caption, we can use hashtags to link posts together. By creating unique hashtags only related to your content, you can create small catalogues within your feed. Thus, you can drive traffic to your older posts, and keep your Instagram page super sticky.
The smartest people are using hashtags to pull people to their posts. On the other hand, some poor unfortunate soul is having their random, non-personalized hashtags clicked, and then their followers end up somewhere else. You might be asking, doesn’t having multiple popular hashtags make me more searchable? Believe it or not, it actually doesn’t! Having random hashtags only junks up your post. And, every random hashtag you use is a opportunity for someone to leave your page. You’re telling them “here’s a hashtag of other stuff, go there.” You’re missing out on all those people because you push them to leave. Instead, push them to a special group of your photos. Create personal hashtags to push users to more content they like. Once they get a taste of more, they’ll keep coming back for more. You’ll gain engagement and turn fans into stark raving fans.
@ThisMessIsOurs has a ton of different recipes: Mexican, Desserts, Healthy, Vegan, etc. If someone wants to see just Mexican recipes and they are on this post, they can click on #MexicanRecipes. Instead, we want to keep them on our feed looking through our Mexican recipes. Thus, @ThisMessIsOurs created a Call to Action and a unique hashtag: #ThisMessIsMexican. When someone clicks on the hashtag they are taken to a subset of Instagram that we’ve curated, independently.
Make sure your Hashtags drive people to more content they want
Being cutesy and “punny’ has it’s place. It can be a good way to show off your brand personality and creativity. However, doing it too much can be annoying and actually hurt your chances of people following your call to action. Make sure your hashtag is simple and concise, so that your followers don’t have to guess what they’re clicking on to see more of. Be direct, lead the horse to water. For example, take a look at the following photo:
You might be looking at this photo and think, “it’s just a bathing suit and a girl.” In actuality, there are so many ways to connect this to other photos that might be on the same account. If it’s a bathing suit company, personalized hashtags might include:
Instead of using generic hashtags: #blackbathingsuit or #worldsfirstcellphone, you’ve now created hashtags that will hyperlink back to a catalog of YOUR photos.
Always include a Call to Action
A Call to Action is the most important part of looping your content. Having a hashtag in your photo doesn’t guide those who are viewing your photo unless you tell them what to expect when they click. Tell a fan what they are getting on the other side! For example:
Check out more pics by the pool: #brandname_ByThePool
See more models wearing this in black: #brandname_InBlack
Wanna connect see more posts with phones? #brandname_OnThePhone
Can you cash me outside creeping around? #brandname_InTheBackground
One Personalized Hashtag/Call to Action is Not Enough
For maximum results, you should include three to five personalized hashtags and correlating calls to action per post. You honestly can’t have too many. If you’re giving people more of what they want, they’ll want it. Feel like it’s difficult to read? Try separating the calls to action with line breaks for easy reading.
Make it a True Album
Like your feed, an ideal personalized hashtag should have a catalog of your photos. Visually, nine to 18 photos per clickable hashtag is optimal for visual scrollability. I’ve seen people who have over 90 and it works wonders for them.
Although having a full album is ideal, there’s no minimum amount of photos per personal hashtag. You can always add more later. I’d recommend you have at least 3 posted or in your queue but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.
Top Photos get Top Engagement
Calling out your top posts gives a viewer a way to see your top posts without working hard. You know they are good, so keep showing them off to more people! Continue pushing them out by creating a personal top list of your best work: #[accountname]_TopPosts.
Colors Count, So Count on Colors
If your product comes in different colors, show off the same color using personalized hashtags to create catalogs in that color. Organize hashtags around the colors:
If it’s clothing, the same product on different models might be what people are looking for.
Location, Location, Location
This works for those in the travel industry and those not in the travel industry. If you have any reason to have different locations, organize a personalized hashtag around a single location:
While we can stop there, there’s more.
This photo may be one of the top photos of August…
Or it may be one of the top photos of all time…
The inspiration and purpose behind your personal hashtags is neverending. Get creative and experiment on how you can redirect followers back to your curated content!
Mark the Milestone(s)
Create hashtags that follow you and your posts each time you hit magic follower counts is a fun way to involve your audience in the journey.
#[AccountName]_SpecialNumber or #MilestonesFor[AccountName]
Mark all your posts that celebrate 1k followers, 5k, 10k, 20k,… 50k, 60k… you get it.
The Journey Counts Too
While the milestones you hit are worthy of special celebration, the journey counts too. Take a few posts to mention a line or two about your progress. Frame it in a forward thinking way by using a hashtag #[accountname]JourneyTo100k or similar. Pick any goal. Talk about it. Include your fans and they’ll help you Then when you hit it. You have a special series of posts saved related to your journey.
Create Useable Hashtags
It’s possible that you can create a hashtag that inspires others to use your tag. If you do create a personal hashtag that can be used by others, make sure you search for it often and interact with those who paid you the favor. Shout them out on your Instagram stories, mention them in a later post, or even regram them. Creating conversations around topics increases your community and your opportunity to engage with them.
Spread the Unique URL
When you create a unique hashtag that only includes your photos, a lovely byproduct is the unique URL that Instagram creates for your photos. You can send this url to people who want to see specific posts of yours.
It will be: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/TagHere
By creating your own set of unique hashtags, you haven’t only created a profile that plays on loop — but you’ve also created a way for others to recognize and tag you. Trust me, when your followers figure out that you’ve found this hack, they’re going to love clicking on your customized hashtags!
Thank you for reading!
Any and all edits, suggestions, critiques are welcome.
Final draft of this essay, along with 11 more are to be published as “No Bots About It!”. Each essay hyper focuses on a single aspect of Instagram. Learn what it takes to build and grow an audience on Instagram.
Originally meant to teach e-commerce stores how to Instagram, topics covered have been a huge help to my private clients who include: Actors, Models, Pro Athletes, TV Hosts, Moms, and more. If you have passion, Instagram has your audience.
NoBotsAbout.com for more info.