When I first opened my account, I refused to use hashtags on Instagram. It seemed so …..spammy.
And the only engagement/likes I got were from the 50 or so family and friends that followed my account. It was like crickets.
Then I tried using hashtags…sporadically and non-strategically.
The fact is, adding the right hashtags can drastically increase not only your engagement, but the reach of your posts. And it can help you reach new audiences and/or your target market.
So here are a few tips on How to Effectively use Hashtags on Instagram
1. Don't use too many hashtags
Instagram allows use to use up to 30 hashtags per post. Now, that doesn't' mean you have to use all 30!!! But depending on your brand and the purpose for your photo, I would say find your sweet spot and post somewhere between 10 and 20 a post.
2. Don't put all of your hashtags in your status, place them in your comments
Using too many hashtags can come off as spammy. So to combat that, place the bulk of your hashtags in your comment section, right after you post your photo. That way, the hashtags in your status is not the first thing that your followers see. Even better, when your followers comment, your first comment tends to disappear. So people are still finding you via hashtags, but your followers don't see them all when your post shows up in their timeline.
3. Use relevant hashtags
Just because the trending hashtag at the moment is #fashionweek doesn't mean that you need to use it in every one of your photos that day. Research your hashtags to make sure they fit your brand and are relevant to your photo. Using the #sunset or the #chrisbrown hashtag just because they are popular can actually damage your credibility and is annoying to your followers.
4. Use branded hashtags
You should have at least one branded hashtag for your business. I use #everydayeyecandy and #eyecandysfollowfriday. Using branded hashtags helps to establish brand recognition. So if you haven't yet established one yet for your business, get to it!
5. Do your Research
To find hashtags that are relevant to your brand: look at your competition, look at the other Instagrammers in your niche. Find out what tags are they using and are they working for them. Take the time to research those hashtags and ask yourself not only do they fit your brand, but do they fit your aesthetic?
6. Use a combination of popular and niche specific hashtags
Using more popular hashtags will get you results almost immediately. But when you use a hashtag that is popular, your posts will soon be lost in the many posts of that popular hashtag. Using niche-specific/less popular hashtags usually live longer in search queries and will get you more likes/engagement in the long run. The key is to use a combination of the two. For example: you post a photo about coffee: the popular hashtag might be #coffee. Break it down to #coffeegram then to the type of coffee #Chemex and finally #pourover. All of these are relevant and they will not only get your photo seen initially but will extend the life of your photo due to using niche specific hashtags.
7. Save Your Hashtags
When you find that right combination of hashtags, save them so that you aren't wasting precious time trying to remember them each time you post! I've heard a variety of ways to save them but one of my personal favorite ways is to save it in the notes section of my phone. I have specific lists saved for each type of photo I post. That way, I'm not wasting valuable time trying to remember my hashtags!
So there you have it, 7 great tips to effectively use hashtags on Instagram.
If you would love to learn more about Instagram and get an even more comprehensive explanation of how to use hashtags to grow your Instagram community, Sign up for My course Instagarm Better: A Plan for Authentic Community Building.