5 Instagram hashtag tips to help you grow your reach
Every post you create on Instagram can be accompanied by a caption and up to 30 hashtags, which help in the process of content discovery by organizing and categorizing photo and video content. Think of it like this: hashtags are to Instagram what keywords are to Google.
Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram. And this can translate into more engagement, more followers, and more customers for your business. A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. So it really is worth creating a hashtag strategy for your brand if you want to grow you account. But if you’re misusing them, skimping on them, or straight up skipping them altogether, you’re doing your account a huge disservice.
Here are 5 tips to follow when using Instagram hashtags to help you grow your reach:
1. Make sure your hashtags are directly related to your content.
A hashtag should be directly related to your content. If, for example, you’re posting a picture of a flower, hashtags related to nature, season, and location could all be relevant, provided the right circumstances.
If you find you could use some hashtag inspiration, consider the following when you post:
Where was the picture physically taken? (Locations almost always have associated hashtags)
What elements are in the picture that you can call out?
What is your niche?
When people search for a specific hashtag, there’s an expectation that they’ll find the thing they’re looking for. If you’re frequently using hashtags that have nothing to do with your pictures, the viewer can essentially “flag” you by selecting “Don’t show for this hashtag” when your post doesn’t fit the tag. The more people that do this, the more your reach will shrink, which will severely impact your Instagram growth and visibility.
2. Try not to use hashtags that are too popular
Think of hashtags like Google keywords. The more popular the hashtag, the harder it will be to “rank” for. So, if you have 1K followers and you’re using hashtags that ten million other people are using, your post will disappear from the recent hashtags in a matter of seconds as all the latest posts start rolling in.
In order to make it to the “Top” hashtags – and eventually to the Explore page – you need to focus on hashtags that you actually have a shot of ranking for. These will be much smaller ones when you’re just starting out.
As a general rule of thumb, start by using hashtags with about 30K – 100K reach and see where that gets you. While these aren’t as popular, they give you a greater chance of getting noticed within that circle, so to speak. Plus, you can ensure they’re more narrowly targeted to the people you’re trying to reach.
This being said, it’s a good idea to use some of the bigger, more popular hashtags in moderation. These can help you expand your reach, which is critical when you’re in the early stages of growing your account.
But instead of using the gigantic ones, try aiming for around the one million range.
3. Remember not to repeat hashtags too often
When you continue to use the same hashtag grouping repeatedly, you’ll continue to show your content to essentially the same people over and over again, and your posts won’t be seen by fresh eyes. Repeating hashtags too much can also come across as super spammy, turning off your existing audience.
However, it is always good to moderately repeat a successful hashtag. If you have a business account, you can look at the insights for each of your posts to see your hashtag reach. The analytics can help you figure out which hashtags work best for your profile.
4. Try to make the best use of hashtags
Although this is a heavily debated topic and there’s no one “magic number” that will work for everyone, using all thirty hashtags means you have thirty chances to be seen. Why wouldn’t you want as many opportunities as possible? If you’re torn on how many to use, try experimenting with different amounts until you find your account’s sweet spot.
5. Try to research and plan your hashtags in advance
When hashtags are last minute attached to the end of your caption as an afterthought, you’re bound to use ones that aren’t relevant, miss out on potential opportunities to get discovered, and perhaps even make some spelling errors. You always want to research your hashtags before using them.
Using better hashtags means you’ll have the best possible chance of getting found by the right people.
You want to make sure the hashtags are actually active, meaning other people are using and following them consistently.
You don’t want to waste a chance to get seen by using an inappropriate hashtag. Some hashtags appear to mean one thing on the surface, but may actually be used for a completely different purpose.
You should check out what similar accounts are using to spark new ideas.
Finding which hashtags are right for your account will definitely take some time, so you shouldn’t expect overnight success. The best things to do are research your options, check out what others in your niche are doing, experiment, and analyze your results over time.
Need some help getting started with hashtags? Drop me a line and let’s chat!