I’ve been asked a lot why hashtags are important when posting on Instagram. I often answer with this:
Hashtags are to Instagram what SEO is to Google
Without good SEO, your website won’t be found through using a search engine.
Without hashtags, your content will not be seen by anyone who doesn’t follow you, which obviously does nothing to grow your business on the social media platform.
The lowdown on Hashtags
How many to use?
You can use up to 30 hashtags, and there’s no reason not to use them all. Most people like to post them as the first comment to keep their posts looking cleaner, but it doesn’t make a difference functionality wise whether it is in the caption or first comment.
I also recommend having multiple lists that you alternate using to maximise their potential. These should be refreshed every 4 weeks or so as well.
What hashtags to use?
There are three categories of hashtags, and you should always use a mix of the first two, and the third when appropriate.
- Branded hashtags – these are specific to your business. They might include your business name, products, or promotions you are running (eg. #socialsensebrandrep)
- Community hashtags – these are less specific to your business, and are more generic in nature. These are what make you discoverable to a wider audience. Keep it relevant though!
- Trending hashtags – these are hashtags that are popular at the time of posting. Think along the lines of #valentinesday, #giftsformum, #teachergifts, #hellospring.
How to put together your hashtag lists?
The first way is to search. Use Instagram’s built in search function to see what hashtags come up. Find ones that are popular – but not too popular (you’ll just get lost in the crowd).
I always research competitors as well to see what they’re using. The Plann app has a function where you can suss out what hashtags are working well for your competitors (it’s also an awesome way to store and post your hashtags).
Lastly, you can use other third party hashtag generating apps. Personally I don’t love these as they tend to churn out really broad and saturated hashtags, but they can still provide a bit of inspiration.
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