How to Choose and Use the Right Hashtags on Instagram

February 28, 2019

Every time you post something that has hashtags on it, these hashtags allow Instagram users, who do not follow your brand’s account, to discover your content. Similar to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels, adding Instagram hashtags to photos and videos serves to catalogue these, so people who are interested in a particular topic are able to view related content. So, if you are a café owner posting a picture of a hot latte, using the hashtags #coffee, #caffeine, and #latte would allow people who love coffee to see your post when they choose to view the posts for this hashtag.

Instagram allows users to add up to 30 hashtags on a post. If you want to add more, one trick is to add a comment, leaving you 30 more hashtags to add on top of your initial 30 that came with your caption. But how do you choose and use hashtags on Instagram? Read on to learn a few helpful tips:

Don’t Go for the Popular Hashtags

Adding popular hashtags with millions of posts does not guarantee that you will be getting a ton of likes and comments. If you want your posts to be noticed by the right people, the best way to choose your hashtags is to check the ones that your target audience, competitors, and industry leaders are using for their posts. Hashtags with a narrower scope receive more engagement from users. For example, if you are posting a photo to promote your coffee shop, instead of using the hashtag #coffee, which has over 100 million posts, you can use #coffeeshop, which has 7.5 million posts, instead and get more engagement.

Learn More About Your Audience

Adding random hashtags at the end of your captions will not be effective in drawing your target audience and growing your following. You need to research on what hashtags your target audience is using and choose the ones that align with your post. Always keep in mind that your hashtags should be relevant and contain keywords that your target users are using when they search on Instagram.

Learn More About Your Competitors

You also need to check your competitors’ Instagram accounts and see what hashtags they are using. This helps you identify which hashtags have the most engagement. Although you might not have thought of competing on those hashtags, you might eventually be able to see what your target users are using  and talking about.

Check Out What the Industry Leaders are Using

Another effective way to learn which hashtags you should use for your posts is to follow Instagram influencers, people who have a massive following on social media, that have the same target audience. Find out who the influencers are in your niche and browse through their captions for hashtag inspiration.

Look for Related Hashtags

Tap on the search icon at the bottom of the Instagram app, type your own hashtag in the search box, then choose “Tags” from the selections bar to see all the related hashtags sorted from the most popular. From this list, you can choose the ones that would best apply to your post.

Add Hashtags in All of Your Posts and Stories

Hashtags widen your reach and allow your posts to be discovered by Instagram users who are not yet following your brand’s account. So, whenever you post something, make sure to add hashtags in your captions.

Decide How Many Hashtags to Use

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to determining how many hashtags you need to add in your captions. Instagram expert Alex Tooby recommends using the maximum number of hashtags allowed, which is 30, as this increases your chances to be discovered. Klear, on the other hand, recommends just adding two hashtags to get the optimal number of engagements. So, it’s really up to you to decide. You can try one strategy then the other and see which one works best for you.

Add Different Hashtags to Every Post

Remember to change your Instagram hashtags in every content that you post to avoid being “spammy”. You can save a list of common hashtags that you would like to add to all of your posts then add a few more hashtags that are relevant to your post. For example, for a coffeeshop, you might want to have the hashtags #coffeeshop, #cafe, and a branded hashtag in all of your posts, then add #cappuccino if you are posting about this beverage.

Choose Which Hashtags You Want to Trend In

When you click on a hashtag on Instagram, you will see two subtabs labeled “Top” and “Recent”. Posts with the most engagement are usually seen in the “Top” section, and most users prefer to look in this grid than in the recent posts. If you want to be seen in the grid for top posts, you need to get tons of likes and engagement within the first 24 hours of posting. To get more likes, decide on whether to trend in a widely popular hashtag or a narrower, targeted one. If you are still trying to gain followers, the best option for you is to trend in the latter.

Once you have chosen which hashtag to trend in, make sure to drive engagement among your audience by writing a compelling caption with a call-to-action in the end. This call-to-action can be in the form of a question or an invitation to tag their friends. The more comments come in, the greater your visibility and engagement. And the greater the engagement, the higher your chances of getting to the top grid!

Hashtags are very useful for brands who want to be noticed by their target audience on Instagram. But, as you can see, adding hashtags takes a lot of research, if you want to be successful in increasing your brand’s visibility and gaining more followers on this social media channel. By following the tips we have enumerated, you can expect to draw more people using the right hashtags, the right way.

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