For you to expand your reach, you have to leverage on the power of hashtags. If you hashtag well enough, you will be able to reach relevant people talking about the same thing, people more likely to be interested in your content and engage with your business. With appropriate hashtaging, you will be setting your images up to be aggregated by Instagram’s super intuitive engine so that they can be associated with trending topics.
There are so many hashtags you can use to define your brand and connect with your target audience on IG. For you to find the right hashtags will take some time and research. But if you have a well-crafted strategy, you can drive real conversions, from adding followers to making some serious sales through Instagram.
As earlier stated, you have 30 hashtags to use per post. Use all of them. A lot of people have reservations about using all of them, but you shouldn’t, as long as you stay on topic. Make each of them count. Don’t veer of the central message of your content by using irrelevant hashtags. Don’t use #tbt on a food photo when it’s not Thursday.
There are some hashtags that work in several places though, and they happens to be the most popular. The problem with these super popular hashtags is that they are also the most populated which means huge competition.
The ideal place to post your hashtags is in the comments. Remember that I told you earlier on that you should never allow your hashtags to show in the first two lines of your captions, that is, before the “see more” clickable text cue. Now, I’ll go one better: post the bulk set of your hashtags in the first comment. That’s right. Hashtags work everywhere. Think about it, if hashtags will work even in your stories, then why not in comments. By posting your hashtags in the first comment the way I do on @RizNwosu, you are allowing yourself to be able to tag your image without distracting from your well thought out caption. What you have will then be a tidy post.
Tip: sometimes, you can sneak in a hashtag or two at the end of your caption (not in the comments this time around), hashtags that relate to the topic of your content, in order to focus a bit more attention to your branded hashtags.
To build an effective hashtag strategy, there are four categories of hashtags you need to know about, and you’ll need to combine hashtags from all four. When you arrive at a proper combination of these hashtag types, you will be able to maximize your post performance and help your content reach your target audience. With the following formula, you can easily identify 15-20 hashtags for each of your posts. You can do more with hashtags. After all, the limit is 30 hashtags, but you get my drift; just let this guide you.
- Select 5-7 of the most popular hashtags. These are the super popular and super populated hashtags that I told you about earlier. They are those hashtags that have anywhere from about 100,000 to 400,000 posts associated with them. I don’t recommend using hashtags with more than 400,000 or so results because these super-popular hashtags invite bot activity and your content will be buried within seconds of being posted.
- Identify 5-7 moderately popular hashtags. Moderately popular hashtags likely have 10,000 to 100,000 posts associated with them. Add this to counterbalance the effect of the extremely popular hashtags.
- Choose 3-5 hashtags specific to your niche. These ones typically have fewer than 10,000 posts associated with them and are more targeted to your core business and the things your target audience is searching for. By including them alongside the more popular hashtags, you are presenting the Instagram engine with a more intelligent way of boosting your post reach.
- Finally Include 1-3 branded hashtags. These are unique hashtags that you use exclusively for your brand. You may choose brand-specific hashtags or campaign-related ones, or a combination of both. Just get creative.
Another thing, don’t limit yourself to the same hashtags over and over again. Create variety with 5-7 different list of 25-30 hashtags to cycle throughout the week to increase your reach. Then again, you should try to follow users that use specific hashtags. Find hashtags related to your niche and follow real accounts that you like. Chances are, they are more likely to follow you back. This way, your account can keep growing. Also follow accounts that are similar to yours. Whether you’re a brand or a personal account, you should make it a priority to find and follow similar accounts to yours. This helps tell Instagram what your account is about hence suggests you to other related users. This is especially important if you’re just starting out on the platform.
As you may have already noticed, this hashtag strategy is to help your content pander to the way the Instagram algorithm sorts hashtags in their hashtag hub. This algorithm considers the way your hashtags perform with both your followers and other Instagram users that aren’t following you. Popular hashtags make sure your content appears in search results for some time, typically from seconds running into a few minutes. A burst of activity on your content if you like. The moderately popular hashtags will help your content stay visible in searches for hours. This, combined with your niche-specific hashtags will make your content stand out. This way, as your followers keep engaging with your posts, the more popular, more generic hashtags will keep your posts bursting with activity. As this happens, your content will have a higher chance of staying in the top searches for your choice of niche-specific hashtags. In essence, your content will have a longer search results lifespan.
When developing an Instagram hashtag, creative word choice is crucial. As a principle: the simpler the better. More importantly, make sure your unique hashtag is something more than just a group of characters lumped together with a pound sign. Finding the perfect hashtag will help you leverage your brand image on the Gram and reflect in your snapshots that your audience would want to use it on their own pages.
You might need to keep plugging at it until you arrive at the hashtags that work best for you. Once you do so, you can then settle on choosing the best hashtags for your brand. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with it. Think about what kind of hashtags your ideal target audience might already be searching or look to see what competitors are using.