Today is a good day for a discussion on hashtags!
Did you know that you are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per post on Instagram? But should you?
Is it better to place your hashtags in your caption or in your post’s comments?
We’re going to discuss both of these things and more! I’ll even share my favourite hashtags for Instagram with you 🙂
Implementing a new hashtag strategy can help you achieve a larger following now!
Targeting the audience you are looking for by tagging your content with the right hashtags is the first step in growing your brand. You’ll get more engagement: more comments, more likes, more impressions, and more sales, if you are a business!
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So, let’s get to it and break down 5 Ways To Use Hashtags Like A Pro On Instagram.
1. Research Relevant Hashtags In Your Niche
Search Relevant Hashtags by using Instagram’s Search feature.
Tap the Magnifying Glass at the bottom left of the screen in the Instagram app. Then, in the next page, tap the search bar at the top of your screen. Select Tags from the available options to begin your search.
For this example, I’m going to search “mamalife“.
The results below include the hashtag I searched for as well as some related results.
Click the hashtag itself to go to another screen where you’ll see Top and Recent Posts (we’ll talk about this later on) that it has been tagged in.
To see more related hashtags, click Follow and browse the Related hashtags that appear just below! In this case, there are 10 related hashtags that were suggested.
Using hashtags related to your target audience means more potential impressions!
When searching for hashtags on Instagram, you’ll see that the hashtag page is divided into two sections: Top Posts and Recent Posts.
This section displays the most popular recent posts that have used the hashtag you searched.
Instagram posts that are shown at the top here generally stay there for quite a bit longer than they do in Recent Posts, where the images are constantly changing depending on how popular that hashtag is to use (If you swipe down to refresh on a hashtag like #momlife, for example, you can rest assured that another Instagram User will tag their post with the same hashtag usually within the minute (this is one of my favourite hashtags and I’ve seen it first hand).
The higher up and more left your post is, the longer it’ll likely last in the Top Posts section and thus, the more impressions you’ll get on your image or video.
To make it into top posts, you need to receive a fair bit of engagement, ideally, within the first hour after posting!
Instagram posts that have been submitted to the social media platform most recently appear higher on the list here and are always displayed in this order.
While this is a fantastic means of engaging with accounts (as discussed above), being at the top here is not going to help you grow your following by any means.
Pro Tip: Interact with Recent Posts
One of my strategies for increasing my engagement is interacting with recent posts of a hashtag related to my niche (maybe even one I just used in my own post). If using this strategy, try to like and comment only on posts that have been uploaded within the last 5-10 minutes!
The more recent the post, the more likely that user is still online using the Instagram app.
Use this same strategy to like and comment on the big players of the Instagram Influencer world and see how many people interact with your posts as a result!
If you haven’t tried it yet, you might also want to see how IGTV can help grow your blog and start engaging with IGTV content to gain potential impressions.
Instagram Stories are the same! It’s all about using hashtags and interacting! Try out these 6 seriously ways to get more Instagram Story Views to have your content seen by more potential followers as well. Hint: We’ll discuss a neat hashtag trick for stories here as well!
2. Narrow It Down To The Best Hashtags For Your Profile
Using the most popular generic hashtags on Instagram, like #happy or #instagood, isn’t going to get your any further on your Instagram influencer journey!
While you may see your likes ocassionally inflated, Instagram is about overall engagement rates, which means you need to get users to interact with you; gone are the days of brands working with individuals that get a lot of likes!
With the introduction of bots and apps for getting fake likes and followers, brands, and the marketing agencies who represent them, learned about the sneaky practices some influencers were engaging in and started to seek out more from potential representatives. After all, what good is social media marketing if there is no social aspect involved?
Going back to those two very popular hashtags, consider the fact that #happy and #instagood have 489 million and 909 million Instagram posts, respectively (at the time of writing this), already associated with them. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to make it into the Top Posts section when you are competing with that many other images and videos!
So, narrow it down to a few beloved hashtags.
Niche and number of existing tags must be taken into serious consideration.
By using hashtags specific to your niche, you are inviting people who are interested in this field to come check out your feed. Generic hashtags however, are commonly used by self-promotional Instagram users and are also a favourite among spammy bots. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m disappointed when I see a comment containing three fire emojis or “check out my latest EP” is left in response to my latest post!
A good starting range for your hashtag use size is normally between 100k to 500k, or even 1 million, depending on your current following. But feel free to use a few with less or more associated posts. Mix it up, and see what works for you!
Pro Tip: Checkout the top influencers in your niche and see what hashtags they use.
Take a look at their captions first and then their comments. A lot of Instagram influencers, myself included, place additional hashtags in the comments since too many within your caption can look spammy!
3. Use Your Hashtags Effectively
Consider the purpose of a hashtag; they act as a means of classifying images within a search engine.
Tag posts as effectively and authentically as you can!
If you’re looking for contouring and highlighting tips, for instance, you might search: #makeuptutorial
At the time of writing this post, this hashtag has been used on over 14.9 million Instagram posts!
Hashtags are an essential part of exposure: use the ones that fit your brand and niche to allow potential followers and customers to find you!
Consider the fact that Instagram users can also follow hashtags. This means you could show up on someone’s feed by using the right ones in your post and of course, you want to make a good first impression, so always post high quality content!
Check out How To Take Amazing Instagram Photos to learn how I grew my own following with just some basic upgrades to my equipment, a few app downloads, and other changes to my profile. To see how I keep my feed looking gorgeous and clean, check out How To Maintain A White & Bright Instagram Feed.
How Many Hashtags Should I Use?
In my personal experience, I’ve found that I have the best engagements rates when using 21-23 hashtags per post!
Not sure why this is but that’s what I’ve come to see!
Another blogger once suggested to me that using between 20-25 hashtags rather than the full 30 that is permitted is ideal in order to avoid being flagged as a spammer on Instagram; I’ve heard similar advice in regards to the number of accounts you are following.
Word on the street is that if you’re following more than 1,000 accounts, you’ll also be flagged as spam and will not make the Suggestions For You feature. Not sure how much truth there is to this but I thought it might be worth mentioning!
I used the maximum 30 hashtags for the longest time but when I had a bit of a slump near the end of last year, I experimented with different techniques to see that this one worked best for me.
Realistically, using all 30 hashtags should theoretically be the most effective way to get your content seen by the masses. You’ll have more opportunities to show up in Top Posts and Hashtags people are following.
Experiment with the number and type of hashtags you use and see what works best for you!
Pro Tip 1: Tag Brands and Feature Accounts & Their Hashtags In Every Post
This changed my Instagram game dramatically! I’ve received more than a dozen features I’ve started doing this. I even had a few of those brands follow me as a result.
Tagging brands and using their hashtags not only gets you a chance at a feature, it also gives you the chance for their followers to see you in that brand’s recent tags!
Check out @theglitterguide and tag #flashesofdelight for any pretty, feminine photos. Tag @wakupandmakeup and use the hashtag #wakeupandmakeup in your next makeup shot!
Check out this list for 11 Instagram Photography Essentials You Can Get On Amazon and take better trendier photos!
Pro Tip 2: Post The Majority Of Your Hashtags In The Comments
There are instances when you’ll be collaborating with a brand and they want their hashtags in the caption. However, you can still post the remaining dozen or so in your comments section.
Try doing this with your personal posts too! I like to use a maximum of one to three hashtags in my post and save the rest for the comments.
I do this by writing my caption, going to my notes app, copying my desired hashtag set, and then posting them in the comments immediately after I’ve posted my image.
If you’d like, you can also break up those comments into two sets! For example, instead of posting all 20 hashtags into one comment, post 10 into two comments. I noticed one of the accounts I follow with 390k followers does this and have implemented this strategy since November. So far, I like the results! It’s improved my engagement rate slightly.
4. Keep A Few Sets Of Hashtags In The Notes Section Of Your Phone
Yes, I said sets!
I have four sets on my phone just for the #momblogger niche I fit into.
By keeping a few sets on hand, you’ll be able to copy and paste from your notes app right into the caption or comments section of your Instagram post. And by having a variety, you’ll be able to mix it up!
Using the same hashtags will result in getting seen by the same audience whereas alternating hashtags gives you a greater chance of more impressions and thus, more potential new followers.
For example, consider making a couple of sets for:
Then, whenever you’ve got some new content to post, search your notes app for the right category and choose a set to promote your latest post.
Pro Tip: Organize your hashtag sets by placing the more generic ones at the start
In the case that you need to drop a few hashtags that don’t suit your upcoming post, it’s easiest to replace unsuitable hashtags if they’re all grouped together!
For instance, let’s say that you’re using the tags #joyfulmamas , #momblogger , #motherhoodthroughinstagram , and #letthembelittle as part of one of your Motherhood sets. However, your kids are not in the photo. It’ll then be easier to find and remove #letthembelittle if it’s at the end of your set instead of in the middle!
We’ve all been there and posted a completely irrelevant hashtag for a certain post. But if you can make your life just a tad bit easier by organizing your tags, you’ll save time while hashtagging like a boss!
5. Favourite Hashtags To Use Organized By Niche
Below is a list of a few hashtags I like to use categorized by according to the niche they belong in. I even threw in a few just for my Vancouver moms 😉
My most used sets are definitely Motherhood and Blogging! If you’re ready to make the jump from Instagram Influencer to blogger, check out How I Started A Blog That Money From Day One and see the steps I took to build a brand and create my site! It’s a lot easier than you might think and this guide will take you through each of the 6 simple steps.
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Will you change your hashtag strategy after reading these Tips For Using Hashtags like a pro? How many hashtags do you normally use and where do you put them? What are your favourite hashtags to use? Would love to hear from you in the comments below!
If you’re looking to grow your Instagram following, check out 3 Things You Can Do To Get More Instagram Followers Right Now for a couple of top secret influencer growth strategies.