You don’t have to spend much time on Instagram to realize that hashtags reign supreme on the social network. The algorithm uses hashtags to identify and categorize posts, and people search for them to find photos and videos they’re interested in seeing. While you know hashtags are important, they might remain a bit of a mystery. Find out everything you need to know about hashtags on Instagram, so you’ll be ready to use them to your advantage.
Using Various Types of Hashtags Generates the Best Results
If you’re new to using hashtags, you might think that they’re all the same. However, there are various types of hashtags, and you should mix them up to get the best results.
The most popular categories include location, branded, industry, community, and description hashtags. Location hashtags are used to identify a city, country, neighborhood, or place. For example, if you run a local business in Austin, TX, you could add #Austin to your posts.
Branded hashtags are very important for companies. You can add these to promote events, build brand awareness, and more. Because these hashtags are specific to your brand, you’ll need to create your own.
You also want people to associate your page with your niche, so you should use industry hashtags. For example, if you run a bookstore, you might include #bookstore or another industry-specific hashtag in your posts.
Then there are community hashtags, which can help you build a sense of community on your page and increase engagement. Community hashtags vary significantly from one niche to the next, so you can’t just look at a list and pick one. Instead, check out your competitors. They’re likely already using these hashtags, so they can help you get started.
Finally, descriptive (or product) hashtags make it easy to categorize your posts. You’ll use these to show Instagram and users what to expect when reading or viewing your post. For example, if you upload a workout, you can add hashtags related to working out. On the other hand, you can add the product name as a hashtag if posting about a product.
Adding 3-5 Hashtags Is Ideal
Instagram lets you add up to 30 hashtags per post but doing so can limit your reach. When you use 30 keywords, it’s hard for Instagram to categorize your posts. Then it might not display your posts when someone searches for your keywords. Additionally, it might not choose your posts for suggested content.
If you want to show up in keyword searches and as suggested content, you have to be on-point with self-categorization. You need to show Instagram what your posts are about, allowing it to know when to display them.
It’s hard to self-categorize your posts when using 30 hashtags. On the other hand, Instagram won’t have any trouble knowing what your posts are about if you limit each one to three to five hashtags. By cutting down on the number of hashtags you use, you can increase your reach and engagement.
Check the Competition Levels When Choosing Hashtags
If you have a website, you’re likely familiar with keyword research. You want to add keywords to your website that people are searching for so you can reach your audience. At the same time, you don’t want to select keywords that have too much competition, or you’ll have a hard time standing out among the competition.
The same is true when choosing hashtags for Instagram posts. With the exception of branded hashtags, you want to select words and phrases that are popular but aren’t so competitive that you won’t be able to reach your audience.
The best hashtags have at least 10,000 posts but don’t exceed 200,000 posts. This post volume means that people are actively posting and searching for that hashtag. At the same time, the competition isn’t so fierce that you can’t get exposure.
Post volume changes regularly, so check it before each post. You need to type the desired hashtag into Instagram’s search bar and hit enter. Then navigate to the “Tags” tab to see how many posts contain that hashtag. If the volume is in the sweet spot, you’ll know you can proceed.
You Need to Put Thought Into Hashtag Placement
You have two options for adding hashtags to feed posts: the caption or the comments. Instagram hasn’t stated that it prioritizes one over the other. However, Quuu and Socialinsider conducted a study to find out how hashtag placement impacts reach, and it determined that it comes down to the size of the account’s following.
According to the analysis, profiles with 100,000 or fewer followers get more reach when adding hashtags to captions. However, profiles with 100,000 or more followers can expect more reach when putting the hashtags in the comment section.
But there’s a caveat. Engagement rates are higher when brands either hide the hashtags in the caption or place them in the comment section.
Because the results are conflicting, you should conduct your research to find out what works best for your account. Mix up your hashtag placement and track your results. To ensure accurate results, add the hashtags immediately after posting when placing them in the comment section. That way, they’ll show up as the first comment.
Develop a Hashtag Strategy Today
Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to take the next step and develop a hashtag strategy for your account. Start by coming up with some killer hashtags that have moderate levels of competition. Then use them appropriately so you can expand your reach on the site.
While hashtags will help you reach more people, you’ll also need to use other marketing strategies to grow your audience. For instance, you can buy real Instagram likes as part of your effort to develop your online presence. Then your engagement levels will grow, and you’ll reach even more people. When combined with a solid hashtag strategy, this can help you reach your marketing goals quickly.