You've seen hashtags all over Instagram. You've probably even used them (hopefully!), but do you really understand them? Hopefully I can help.
Hashtags were first created on Twitter to create a way to categorize content so people could find others who are posting about the same topics. They allow for a reach beyond your current network of friends and followers to link up with others using or searching that hashtag.
And hashtags, unlike categories, don't have to already exist - you can make them up as needed. Simply put the number sign/pound sign/hashtag before any word in most social media tools, and you have a hashtag. Voila!
When you create a new hashtag, it will turn into a link that you can then click and see who else is using that hashtag. Sometimes you find a whole world in a hashtag, like opening the door to Narnia. Other times there may be little or nothing there. But even if you are the only one using that hashtag, it is now a little bread crumb for someone else to find and link up with you in the future.
Now let's discuss hashtags on Instagram.
While hashtags were created on Twitter, Instagram is where they really shine. Instagram + hashtags = marketing machine!
Instagram allows users to post up to 30 hashtags with any specific post. When you are marketing your business, using a good number of hashtags allows you to put yourself into the search stream of anyone looking for what you offer. If you create sculptures, using a variety of hashtags describing your work gives you a much greater chance of being discovered by new customers rather than just hoping that your followers will buy or share with their friends.
On Instagram, users can also follow specific hashtags and see those posts directly in their stream, so by using a variety of hashtags, you increase your exposure. Following hashtags will give you an idea of what other users are posting. And, by looking at hashtags being used by other users, you can get an idea of what other hashtags you might use in the future.
Not all hashtags are created equal.