Hashtags are a powerful way to get your pictures discovered on Instagram, often leading to follower growth. In fact, a 2014 study from Simply Measured showed that posts with at least one hashtag got over 12% more engagement than those without. And that’s including all the ones come up #OnTheFly for fun. So today we are going to talk about how you should go about choosing the right hashtags to improve your performance.
How many hashtags are too many?
Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags for each post, however, that doesn’t mean you need to shoot for that many. In fact, this buffer study shows most of the best performing posts have 11 or more hashtags. That might sound a lot, but once you dig deeper, it is relatively easy to come up with these that broaden your audience. Here’s how.
What kind of hashtags should you include?
Not all hashtags are built equally. So you need to choose which ones you use carefully. You can tag your brand, and use this hashtag as a call for your customers to tag it as well. You could also go for broad terms that have the highest popularity such as #love with almost a billion posts, but there you’ll not only get drowned out in the crowd quickly but also be irrelevant to most of the audience. The best hashtags are those that tend to be popular within a niche. For example, if you were in the restaurant business, #nomnomnom is a quick and quirky way to get reach on something that looks delicious or #foodgasm for something decadent.
Where do you find the right hashtags to use?
There are several ways you can go about doing this. The first place you can start is Instagram’s built-in search function. Searching #Food, for example, yields over 200 million results. On the results page, you get a list of related tags you can add to your consideration list.The real magic, however, is in the search results. Find images that look good and have a lot of engagement, there you can see some of the other hashtags that real people are using. From there, you can quickly create of hashtags that are popular for different situations.
Apart from this, you can also look to influencers and competitors within your space. Which hashtags are they using? Which have a lot of posts? All these are good indicators of what you should be considering.
But always double check!
To close off, when posting to a hashtag, be sure to always check for several things. Is this particular hashtag part of a competitors campaign? If so, you may not want to contribute to its success. Similarly, if it’s part of a less savory meme, it is also something to avoid. Finally, if you’re combining a few words together, you’d also want to check that it can’t be read in a manner you don’t mean.