Hashtags. Hashtags. Hashtags.
I literally cannot emphasise the importance of hashtags on Instagram.
You probably know this, right? Everyone has told you that hashtags will help, but maybe you're not convinced or you haven't found the right hashtags yet.
An Instagram post without hashtags is like trying to shout over a crowd without a megaphone.
But, how many hashtags should you use, what hashtags should you use to get more likes and followers, and how the heck do you find them?
Well, let me break it down for you now - and don't forget to download my epic hashtag list for FREE y'all! Grab a cuppa - this is going to be a good one. 📷
How do you get engagement?
Engagement basically means likes, comments, mentions and follows.
Engagement on your Instagram photos comes from your followers and the audience you target with select hashtags (you can use up to 30 hashtags per photo).
You can increase your Instagram engagement simply by using hashtags.
How do hashtags dramatically help grow your engagement?
Still a little hesitant? Let me put it this way: posting hashtags on your Instagram posts is not going to hurt your brand or blog. It's only going to help you. It takes less than a minute (or less than 5 seconds with my time-saving tip you get with my hashtag database!) and could save you hours, days, even months of searching for clients, customers, and blog readers in the long-term!
A couple of stats for ya:
How did they help me?
Flashback to 2015: I didn't use hashtags for my Instagram posts. I thought it would appear 'desperate' and was worried they would damage my #IGStreetCred. I would get between 10 to 20 likes per post and maybe 1 or 2 comments if I was lucky.
Fast-forward to today: Whenever I post to Instagram now, I use the full 30 hashtags in the first comment of my post (it literally takes me 2 seconds) and I get an average of 150 likes per post with around 15 comments! Now, I know these aren't MASSIVE numbers but that's a 1275% increase in engagement - and you can't fault those stats.
Hashtags have not only helped me grow my engagement and build my tribe, they have also helped grow my business! One of my biggest clients to date found me through a hashtag I used on one of my posts.
Of course, this isn't ALL down to using hashtags; I've had to work really hard on my Instagram theme and planning posts with Planoly.
But isn't hashtagging your posts super desperate?
Unless you have a huge following on Instagram (and I'm talking in the hundreds of thousands), you should always be hashtagging your photos.
How do you expect to grow your following if you're only posting for the people that already follow you?
Instagram doesn't make it easy for your followers to share your content so how else do you expect new people to find you? I'm fed up of hearing that it's 'wrong' or 'uncool' to hashtag your posts on Instagram (who the heck decided that?).
You have to imagine that Instagram is one gigantic virtual catalogue and the hashtags you use make sure your posts are in the right category. If you don't use hashtags, you're not published in the catalogue at all.
How do you find new hashtags on Instagram?
Research! If you have a tag you already like and use, you can use it to find ever more hashtags to increase your Instagram followers.
Whilst in the Instagram app, click your chosen tag and you can find a whole bunch of related tags at the top of the screen.
Click through to these and see how many uses they have, what kind of people use the tag, what other tags they relate to, etc.
Also take a look at photos in the 'top posts' section of each tag, and see what other hashtags these Instagrammers have tagged their posts with. For example, if you search for #BlogSociety, you might spot that some of the top posts include the tag #BlogBFFs.
It's a bit of trial and error but once you have your hashtags pinned down, you'll see a great increase in engagement with the right audience for you.
Related: Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database
How to tell if a hashtag is right for your account?
Firstly, look at the number of uses - anything over 1 million is (frankly) a bit of a waste of time. Unless you're an Instagram influencer, you're pretty unlikely to reach anybody on those tags as photos get posted every second. You're basically shouting into the void.
If you want to get seen, tags within the region of 30,000 to 300,000 uses are best. These tags have got an active community but aren't oversaturated so you're much more likely to get solid engagement.
Secondly, take a look at the types of people using the tag. Click on a few of their profiles, read their bios, scroll through their pics (and engage with a few whilst you're there 😉) - are those people the people you want in your tribe? If yes, then write that instagram tag down, pal!
How many hashtags should you use?
Instagram allows you to have a maximum of 30 hashtags per post.
I say, max out and go for all 30.
But don't fill the gaps for the sake of it! Take time to research your audience and what they like. Find out where they are most likely to hang out on Instagram and target them there.
If you've got a solid 20 hashtags and you fill the last 10 spaces with tags like #blue, #flower, #instadaily - you're doing it wrong.
Don't forget to download your Instagram Hashtag list below to get started! Or if you want to level up, you can take a look at my Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database
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