Warning: Appropriate Hashtag Usage on Instagram Will Result in Major Traffic Increase

Hashtags: you either love them or hate them. This blog has pondered hashtag usage before and received a mixed response from readers on their effectiveness and aesthetic appeal. But more than a year after that discussion, one thing is clear. Hashtag usage should be defined more than ever by social platform.

Hashtags? They can be a beautiful thing when used appropriately.

Original photo credit: “Protesters Blur By” by Geraint Rowland via CC BY 2.0 // edited by author


Social Platform Hashtag Usage

Twitter? One to two hashtags raises engagement and can help you reach new audiences. Three or more turn off potential readers because #nobody #wants to #read a #tweet #like #this. Remember, aesthetics matter, especially now that pictures are viewed directly in the tweet and articles can be previewed. CCC Tip: put your hashtags at the end of the tweet if character space allows.

Facebook? Not so much. The largest social network was late to the game recognizing hashtags and its audience doesn’t have patience for them. One or two may bring new eyes to your post, but make sure you tuck them in at the end so they’re as out of sight as possible. CCC Tip: Pass on hashtag usage on Facebook; they do more damage than good. In fact, when we published the previous hashtag post, Facebook was where we received the most negative feedback on the subject.

Pinterest? Meh. The verdict is sill out on this platform, so you may want to use a couple of applicable hashtags, if appropriate, or bypass altogether. Pins are typically easier to find via category (by search) or by board, so make sure to ‘file’ them properly. Also, take advantage of board descriptions! Let your prospective audience know why they should follow a particular board so they’re more likely to see future pins.

Instagram? Gold mine. Some days it seems like hashtags were created for this popular visual platform instead of Twitter. Sure, you’ll see some people complain about the plethora of hashtags used on this site (30 are allowed per photo), but they are SO effective in bringing increased traffic when used appropriately.

Hashtag Guidelines on Instagram

  • First, only tag your photos with hashtags that make sense; don’t tag accounts or hashtags only to fool people into looking at your picture. That makes people mad, so it’s not an effective long-term solution. Example: CCC is a marketing company that specializes in writing (including social media), but we don’t tag a picture of a sunset with #marketing, #writing or #socialmedia (unless it’s applicable for some reason).
  • Research hashtags to check their popularity and what type of photos show up in the search. More popular hashtags (#socialmedia, #writing) mean more people are searching, but more results in the search mean more competition. Less popular hashtags (such as ones you create) have less competition, but you’ll need to promote the tag to draw eyes to it. During your research, get a feel for what type of photos show up in the search. You may be surprised by the double meaning of some hashtags or an unexpected use by another campaign.
  • You can use up to thirty hashtags per photo, but don’t feel obligated. In our experience, most photos don’t warrant that many hashtags.
  • Creating your own hashtag? Try to keep it reasonable in length and avoid special characters (?!#$%), because they don’t work. Numbers do though. Make your hashtag easy to remember and promote, promote, promote!
CCC on Instagram: @jaimeshine

Are you visually inspired? Follow CCC on Instagram! Find us under jaimeshine.

Hashtags & Instagram: An Experiment that Produced Results

I was reviewing our Instagram account on Sunday evening (OK, more like Monday morning) and decided to try adding hashtags to older photos that didn’t have any or only had one or two. I thought it would be worth the time to draw more traffic and possibly bring new eyes to CCC’s posts. Wow! I couldn’t believe the results.

In only 48 hours, we picked up nearly 100 likes, 10 comments and 6 new followers.

These numbers are for an account with 185 followers, under 300 photos and little to no engagement at some points in the past, so we’re thrilled!

Conclusion: Appropriate hashtag usage on Instagram will result in major traffic increase, so please use responsibly.

Join the Discussion

Do you agree with our recommended hashtag usage on the social platforms mentioned above? Or have you had a different experience?

Do you have any Instagram hashtag guidelines to add?

Have you conducted a hashtag experiment on any social platform?

Hashtags: do you love them or hate them?

p.s. It’s Election Day! Go vote and make your voice heard.

A reformed, if reluctant, hashtagger,
Jaime,

Join the conversation: 
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LinkedIn: The Essence of a Profile

You created a bare bones profile and uploaded your resume to LinkedIn a few years ago, and you haven’t been back. You’re done, right?

LinkedIn: Essence of a Profile

original photo via smi23le’s photostream by CC BY 2.0 // edited by CCC

Similar to other social platforms, the more you put into LinkedIn, the more you’ll get out of it. And just like other platforms, it all starts with your profile. What’s in a LinkedIn profile? Let’s break it down.

(Read my) Headline

First, let’s start with what it’s not. Your headline does not have to include your title or current employer. That information is already listed elsewhere in your profile. Your headline is what you want people to think of you (and contact you) for. Are you a content marketing maestro? QuickBooks queen? WordPress whiz? Let the world know about it.

Here’s the deal with headlines: you want to come up in as many relevant searches as possible. The format is up to you. List your specialties: Writing Services | Marketing Services | Social Media Services | Content Creation or create a phrase: Writer (aka content creator, communications connoisseur) reaching consumers’ minds and pocketbooks since ’04. Spend some time playing around with your headline: tweak it, change it, have friends and colleagues read it. This is how you pull people in — or don’t.

Profile Picture

As we’ve touched on previously, it all starts with your profile picture. You need a good head shot, which is easier than ever today. It helps to show your face, so people know who you are. Remember, people do business with people, not companies. Let them know who they’ll be working with. Stay away from group shots, pictures of your kids (or other people) or anything related to a mugshot. Your personal Facebook page? Fine. Your LinkedIn profile. Not so much. Smart phone pics work fine. Just make sure you’re in good lighting, don’t have anything distracting behind you and don’t move the phone/camera. Oh, and stay away from duck lips. They may be hot, but they probably won’t help you land new clients or opportunities.

Summary

After a well thought out headline and appropriate profile pic, this is it: the most important part of your profile. Prospects, potential employers and investors will often decide whether to read on and contact you from your summary. This is your time to shine and let readers know why they should want to work with you. What can you do for them? Think of it as your elevator speech or 30-second spot to sell what you do. Always think of the reader — what do they want to know? Include any relevant statistics or numbers to back up your claims (i.e. consistent double digit growth, 25% year-over-year ROI).

Experience & Education

This is where you spell it out (briefly, of course). Tell people how you succeeded at previous opportunities, including going above and beyond. Share relevant examples, statistics, key responsibilities, numbers and any details that may impress a prospect or potential employer. Bullet points work great! Also, add projects that you worked on, including published works. (p.s. Published doesn’t have to mean The New York Times; it can be in a company newsletter or on a blog.) Don’t forget about the Education field, even if it was “forever ago.” Chances are you accomplished a few noteworthy achievements in school and should let everyone know about them: internships, awards, minors & additional areas of knowledge, overseas studies. It’s amazing what could attract someone’s eye!

Skills & Endorsements, Recommendations

These two areas can provide validation to your profile. Select the skills that you most want to be known for to display on your profile, so people you work with can endorse you for them. It’s fine to ask for endorsements or recommendations; just be tactful about it and be prepared to return the favor. Yes, that means you shouldn’t blast a recommendation request to all of your 900 connections unless you’re prepared to write 900 recommendations. Be selective about who you ask: did you provide value to a client? Did you succeed on an important project for your boss? Make sure that anyone you ask has a reason to recommend you, and being your best friend probably isn’t a legitimate reason.

There are other sections of course, and they all add value to your LinkedIn experience. But we’ve covered the “meat and potatoes,” so to speak. Go ahead, implement a few changes, and show the professional world what you’re really about!

Related reading: LinkedIn: Are You Connected | Are LinkedIn Groups Working For You?

Connect with Us

What tips do you have for LinkedIn profiles?

Share an awesome example of a LinkedIn profile or section — yours or someone else’s.

Have you landed a job, client or business opportunity via LinkedIn?

Your professional networker,
Jaime

Connect with CCC! We’d love to be a part of your professional network.
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