Instagram has been evolving pretty quickly but the importance of using hashtags hasn’t changed. Where the confusion often lies is in figuring out how to use them like a pro.
With 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2018 and over 100 million posts going out daily, the competition to be seen is greater than ever. By nailing down your hashtag strategy you can start to capture attention, earn more engagement, follows, and clients. Here’s how!
How To Pick Hashtags
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. A simple online search will show you this topic has been up for debate several times. However, there is no doubt that using all 30 tags is essential especially as a budding account. The more tags, the more opportunities you have to be discovered.Deciding On The Popularity of The Tag
Think of hashtags as the search terms you would use on Google to find exactly what you’re looking for. If you search overly-general terms you’ll yield billions of results whereas if you search using more specific terms you’ll get more personalized results. The same goes for hashtags.
If you’ve never formally ran hashtag research to pinpoint how large your tags should be, aim for using tags that stay under 500K uses. Usually somewhere between 10K to 250K is where you’re likely to start noticing results but do try a variety at first to begin assessing what works for you. This is because there is less competition that will get your post buried under all the incoming new posts using that tag.
Use Tags Your Niche Audience Relates To
Don’t just use tags that relate to the picture and what you offer. Incorporate terms that your target audience might be interacting with. This helps you appear under tag searches they may frequently engage with.
For example, if you are an online fitness coach you might have clients that are stay-at-home moms or who are also entrepreneurs. Therefore, incorporating tags that these niche communities might use would help better position you for discovery.
Deciding If a Tag Works
The goal is to land on the trending page of the tags you are using. In order to know if this is happening for you, try this next time you post.
A couple of hours after you post, go and tap on every single tag. If you see your post in the “top” section then make a note to save that tag for the future use. You can start a note on your phone or sign up with a social media scheduling service such as Later or Planoly to save your groups of tags that work. Do not repeat the same hashtag block for every consecutive post. This might confuse the algorithm into marking you as spam activity. Switch them up a bit to avoid this.
Using Tags In Stories
The power of using hashtags in your stories is often overlooked but it can optimize the discovery of the new accounts. You can use up to 10 hashtags in a story post. This in combination with geolocation tagging stickers can really level up the reach and impressions you make with your stories. Similar to your posts, check back after a couple hours to see if your stories have been featured on the story for the tags you used. This is especially useful considering that it’s normal for your views to go down the longer your story gets. Adding in tags will help bring more exposure to liven up the activity in the story section of Instagram.
Hashtag Engagement Strategy
Using the right tags is incredibly effective for your page growth. However, none of this matters if you do not also have an engagement strategy incorporating hashtags.
As you begin to learn which hashtags work for you, take note and refer to them when seeking engagement from new accounts. Even better, follow these hashtags. For optimal engagement, every single day you should go through your best-performing tags and leave a like and a comment. Follow if you truly like the page or also wish to set up a collaboration. Social media is always about giving back value. If you can do this, the rest will follow. So leave comments that show you truly consumed the content, ideally four words or more. Not only will this keep your account in good standing, but it’ll also help to be seen by new people with which you’ll begin nurturing new relationships for growth.
Written by our contributor Diana Briceño, President at Diana Gets Social. You can follow Diana on Facebook and Instagram. Become our contributor too! Apply here.
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