Remember the days when you used to randomly hashtag everything that was in a photo like -#holiday #beach #hotdoglegs #holibobs #girl #spain
Thankfully those days are gone (along with the word holibobs),but hashtags are still as important as ever as they are the main way for your posts to reach new accounts.
I recently shared a picture over on my personal instagram account (@abbiejs_) of my new cockapoo puppy. In that post I used some pretty generic hashtags: #cockapoo #cockapoosofinstagram #cockapoopuppy and #puppylove
The picture received over 13,000 impressions, and I have less than 3000 followers. This reach was achieved from showing up for performing hashtags I used in my post. #cockapoopuppy has over 400k posts and if you’ve tried to find a cockapoo puppy recently, you’ll know they are pretty popular.
These insights are slightly sku’d as everyone just loves puppies, but it’s a great example of how your posts can be seen by new accounts just by using hashtags.
So ready to improve your reach with hashtags? Take a look at my top tips below:
Use all 30 hashtags
You can use up to 30 hashtags for each post on Instagram. When starting out I would recommend using all 30!
There are a few things to note on the 30:
You can’t use 30 in the post and 30 in the comments, it’s 30 overall. DO NOT try and use any tools that try and tell you they can help you use more, Instagram is smart, you will get a shadow ban, which means your content won’t be seen for up to 2 weeks outside anyone that follows you!
You can put them in your post or in the comments, I prefer to put mine in the comments but if you are doing this, ensure you add them right away!
Use relevant hashtags to your niche and target audience
You want to select hashtags that are relevant to your niche and also what your picture is of. Instagram AI can pick up what’s in the picture or video so I wouldn’t randomly start putting in high performing hashtags irrelevant to your post.
This can be difficult if you’re trying to get in front of your target audience through one of their interests. For example I might want to target a fashion blogger, but if I use #outfitoftheday it will be clear to Instagram that my picture won’t be relevant and I could not show up for this hashtag, which is a waste of one of your 30 hashtags. So think about what your post is about and pick hashtags that relate to your post.
Save 30 hashtags in the notes on your phone for a quick copy & paste
This will save you heaps of time. I typically post across 4-5 different topics so I have a few different sets of hashtags so I can mix these up. It is also rumoured if you use the same hashtags for every single post Instagram can sometimes confuse you with a bot, and you don’t want that!
Look at what your competitors are using
I would not recommend copying as your engagement levels will be different to them (explained in my next point) but its good to see what they are using and the different types of subjects they are including. It’s not always best to use hashtags that people use, you want the hashtags that people are searching for, so think about your own use of hashtags, why and when do you search hashtags?
Bigger is not always better
You may think if you choose a high performing hashtag you will be seen by more people, but this isn’t always the case. If you search a hashtag on Instagram and look at those top 9 squares that come up you will be able to see the level of engagement you will need to have to reach those 9 squares. If all of them have 1000+ likes and your posts are getting about 50 it will be very unlikely that you will feature here.
This is where you will need to do a little bit of research. Look at the hashtags related to your niche and find the best ones for you. You can do this by searching the hashtag under ‘tags’ on your instagram search bar and looking at similar hashtags.
For example #girlboss has 20m posts the average engagement on those top 9 posts is up to 4869 likes, #girlbossuk has 3.7k posts and has between 100-200 likes. This is quite time consuming and a little fiddly but it’s well worth your time and you will reap the benefits!
Hashtags are key to being seen on Instagram, especially if you have a lower following or just starting out. It can be tricky to find your perfect 30, but if you take some time to do your research, use relevant hashtags and hit those top 9 squares you will be seen by so many more accounts.
Give these hashtag tips a try and let me know how it improves your reach!