We see hundreds of them every single day. But what ones will help you stand out?
In this article I’m going to share with you the secret to using hashtags on Instagram.
So, chances are you’re already one of over 600,000 followers of my Instagram – and you’ll be wondering how I got to that number? A huge part of it is successfully using hashtags. So how do you avoid getting lost in the crowd? And how can using hashtags grow your audience? I’m about to tell you!
Let’s start out simple: your content is easier to find if you use hashtags. That’s how people find you or your page. So why let that perfectly-crafted photo or that beautiful filter or that video go to waste? At this point, you’ve got to think from the perspective of your audience – what hashtags would I be searching for? If I were in their shoes and had an interest in this area, what word would I tap on? Remember, a hashtag that’s important to you may mean nothing to your audience. Check any of my Instagram posts for example – as well as the views and likes, you’ll see a healthy number of carefully-chosen hashtags. Hashtags like ‘inspire’, ‘motivational video’ or ‘change your life’. What would you tap on? Keep that in mind when you post your own.
Avoid copy and pasting the same hashtags with every single post you put on Instagram. Firstly, there’s the risk of being ‘shadow banned’ and removed from the Explore page. But more importantly, constantly using the same tags also limits your audience to a set group of users – the same people coming back to find more of the same posts they’ve already seen. Remember that hashtags encourage audience interaction, so keep them fresh. You might have some popular hashtags and it’s tempting to stick with the same ones, but you are limiting your audience that way! Also it’s important to rotate your hashtags – I believe having at least 15 different preset groups is key. Brands often have their own hashtags too, things like hashtag ‘Just Do It’ or even hashtag ‘Sigurd Vedal’ – and this also allows you to invite users to submit their own content by using YOUR own hashtag!
This ties in nicely with my previous point about keeping it fresh. It’s crucial that you pick THREE bands of hashtags – low volume, mid volume and high volume. So what do I mean by that? To make it more simple, I want you to choose some hashtags which are rare, some which are very popular, and some in the middle of both. Avoid being overly reliant on the most popular hashtags, which mean you disappear within seconds on the Explore page. Here’s an example – something specific like hashtag ‘Leg Day’ is far more likely to be discovered than something generic like hashtag ‘fitness’. But you never know how users will find you! That’s why it’s key to pick from these THREE bands: low, mid and high volume.
You’ve got to find the difference between hashtags that people add to photos, and the actual volume of what people are searching for. For me? I use Google Search keyword planner to look for search volume hashtags. How many people out there are searching for THAT specific hashtag? There’s loads of data and information out there on the best hashtags to use. I’d also recommend checking out what your competitors are doing too. What’s working for them and what should you avoid? Another way to analyse and use it to grow is by including Trending hashtags. For example, using something like hashtag ‘Mothers Day’ or hashtag ‘heatwave’ and working it into your post can give you a big follower boost.
Instagram gives you space for a maximum of 30, but using every single one of them can look like spam. People might just scroll past it! At the same time though, avoid using too few. For me, I vary between 23 to 26 hashtags per post, and that works really well for me. But then you look at the world’s biggest brands, with many of them only using between 1 and 3 hashtags. But if you’re a growing business or an expanding influencer, as opposed to Coca-Cola or Jeep, show users what you’re all about by getting the right number of hashtags in there. If you’re worried about clogging up your feed, some companies and profiles post all their hashtags in the very first comment to keep their caption clean.
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