Learn to use hashtags on Instagram to sell more (and turn your followers into customers)

Do you know which hashtags you should be using on Instagram?
I bet you always end up using the same ones or perhaps you just don’t know which of them give you more visibility. 
That’s why this article is all about getting the most out of hashtags and increasing your sales.
Sounds good, right?
Then let’s get to it or, as we’d say on Instagram, #HereWeGo. 😉

What Instagram hashtags are and how they work

We’ll start by giving you the definition:

A hashtag is a word or stream of words that’s introduced by the hash symbol (#) and used as part of the description of an Instagram post.

When you insert a hashtag (introduced by #) in your post, it automatically becomes a clickable link.
When the link is clicked, the user is redirected to a feed that includes all the other posts with the same hashtag.
That is, when users search for specific hashtags, your posts might show up automatically on their wall.
This has become such a common practice that Instagram has activated a function allowing you to follow specific hashtags (in addition to profiles or pages).
Check out this example: #outfitoftheday.

Figuring out the best hashtags for the posts about your e-commerce is crucial as it quickly gets you more visibility and augments your organic reach (that is, for free).
Now that the concept of a hashtag is clear, let’s see how to make the most of them.

Why you should use hashtags on your e-commerce’s Instagram

According to a study by Curalate:

  • 80% of consumers have found a product of their interest through social media.
  • 48% of those discoveries were on Instagram.

Besides, 52% stated that, after seeing a picture on Instagram, they visited the publisher’s online shop and spent additional time checking out the rest of their items.
Consequently, you can be sure that by adding hashtags to your Instagram posts (which you’ll find out how to do properly below), you’ll manage to:

  • Boost your sales: A number of buyers search for specific tags for a product to look up information before buying it.
  • Reach your target audience by using sector-specific hashtags.
  • Capture qualified traffic: Traffic that reaches your e-commerce through some of your Instagram posts with a hashtag.
  • Increase the number of followers and interactions you have: Hashtags widen your brand’s impact and users comment on the most attractive posts.
  • Research your competitors: By checking the most popular hashtags within your sector, you’ll discover what sorts of posts work best (we’ll also tell you all about that later).

As you can see, adding hashtags to your posts can help you increase sales in your online business.

Tips on how to properly use Instagram hashtags 

I bet you’ve heard of Facebook’s algorithm, an ‘entity’ that causes your posts to get more or fewer views.
As it turns out, Instagram has its own algorithm (called Shadowban), which sets the guidelines and punishes profiles carrying out actions prohibited on the social networking site.
And if Instagram punishes you:

  • Your visibility is reduced: Even if you use the correct hashtag, your content won’t be displayed alongside the posts with the same label and your potential customers won’t find you.
  • Your post reach is limited: They will only be shown to a subset of your followers.
  • Instagram may block your profile: This means you won’t be allowed to follow (or stop following) other profiles and comment on any posts.

No worries, though, because we’re going to tell you what exactly you have to do to avoid unpleasant surprises from Shadowban and to maximize your hashtags’ effectiveness

✅ 1. Use hashtags in moderation in your posts

Even though Instagram lets you add up to 30 hashtags in each post, it’s best not to use them all. If you use more than 15, it may appear to be spam and your account could be banned.
A ban involves a temporary or permanent restriction of a user on a social networking site.
On Instagram, that would mean that, minimally, the number of people who would see your post would be reduced, though your account can also be permanently blocked in some cases.
Here’s our advice: Don’t put more than 5 hashtags in your posts – and add them as captions (not as comments) and put them after the text so that they turn up in user searches.

✅ 2. Don’t be repetitive in posts

Using the same hashtags over and over again might be considered spam by the algorithm. 
That’s not to say that you have to come up with new hashtags every single time. What’s best is to have a list of 10 or 15 ready and then combine them according to the content of each post you write.
Of course, you can add generic hashtags (like #e-commerce or #onlineshop) to all your posts, but you should combine them with other types of hashtags, such as:

  • Content hashtags: descriptions of the picture you’ve posted (#womanswear, #food).
  • Brand hashtags: specific to your business (#niketraining).
  • Campaign hashtags: created for a specific moment, product, or promotion (#BlackFriday2019 or #WeddingCake). 
  • Location hashtags: particularly useful if you have a physical shop, because geotags like #London or #Madrid give you 20% more visibility.

Adapt your list of hashtags to the posts you make to improve your reach and visibility.

✅ 3. Avoid forbidden hashtags

Banned tags typically include words with sexual connotations or that encourage eating disorders (like bulimia or anorexia). If you use them, your account may be blocked.
To find out if a specific hashtag has been banned, check the “Recent” section.
If it’s been banned, you’ll see a message saying that the pictures have been hidden for breaking Instagram’s terms of use.
Have a look at this example: Something so seemingly innocent as #Ana contains a reference to anorexia, so any posts including that hashtag are hidden by Instagram.

Make sure not to use a banned hashtag or else your post won’t be of any use.

✅ 4. Work with influencers and take advantage of their hashtags

Instagram is the earthly paradise of influencers, so taking advantage of their expertise when it comes to hashtags can improve your posts and help you get more followers (and clients).
Influencer marketing consists of taking advantage of the reach and popularity of other people to generate visibility and conversions.
By searching for influencers in your niche, you’ll find out which hashtags work best and which ones are used most frequently – then you just adapt them to your posts.
If you don’t know who the influencers are in your sector, use Hashtagsify, a tool that allows you to spot Instagrammers (Instagram influencers) that are using a specific hashtag.
Want to take it a step further and work hand in hand with an influencer?
This post contains a complete guide to influencer marketing.

What are the most common hashtags on Instagram for e-commerce?

According to Hashtagsforlikes, these are the most common hashtags for e-commerce:

If you’d like to search for something similar, you just need to search the target hashtag and this tool will return a list of all the related hashtags.
Then, you just need to select those that best fit your posts.

How to search for the most suitable hashtags for your online business

When you write one of your generic hashtags on Instagram, the app suggests related options.
For example, if we search for #runningclothes, Instagram suggests #runnerstyle, #craftsportswear…

You can even get to your competitors’ feeds through the suggested hashtags.
Take a look at the posts with the most interaction and examine the hashtags used in each of them. At the end of the day, you share the same buyer persona, so you’d most likely attract the same audience using similar hashtags.

✅  Online tools to find the perfect hashtag

To ease the task of searching for the best hashtag, here’s a list of some online tools that put your search on autopilot:

  • TagBlender: You can sort the hashtags according to the interest they excite in users.
  • Rite Tag: Every time you post on Instagram, this tool gives you similar suggestions in real-time.
  • Top Hashtags: It features a function that generates hashtags randomly, in case you run out of ideas.
  • Display Purposes: It searches for the most suitable hashtags for every picture and features a geolocation function similar to location hashtags to see the most popular tags in a particular area.

Use the most suitable hashtags for your posts and increase your visibility.

Ready to tag your posts with the best hashtags?

By following a tag strategy on Instagram, you’ll see how much better your posts work since they’ll reach a wider audience and get clients directly to your online shop.
Put all these tips into practice and see for yourself how your sales increase. 😉