Want to see real-life magic in action: find the right hashtags for your Instagram posts!
Hashtags when used strategically will help your posts be seen my more people who – and this is what’s really important – that likely are interested in your products and/or services.
Hashtags also can offer up “black” magic: use the “wrong” ones and you could find your marketing efforts in attracting the “right” prospects backfire: you could attract the wrong followers and even possibly attract nettlesome followers who actually try to undermine your brand’s reputation.
Why and how hashtags can help you grow your business
Hashtags work to help you grow your Instagram followers as well as provide you more reach.
Here’s how that works:
- You use a hashtag and your post appears on a page for that hashtag. People who search for posts using that exact hashtag will arrive at that page (where you post also abides). They can scroll through the page and see your post.
If it attracts their attention they may engage with it (comment, like, etc.), a very good thing. They also may decide to follow your Instagram account: a VERY GOOD THING, as you’ve just added another follower.
- People can also choose to follow hashtags, which means they could see your hashtagged post in their feed even if they don’t follow you (yet).
Many hashtags have thousands of followers: your content could get lost among the masses
Instagram itself offers tips on how to avoid this: use a mix of niche and popular hashtags that will help you reach different audiences. (You should look for a spectrum of audiences from the specific to the broad. Using a fashion retailer as an example, the retailer should use hashtags about fashion in general as well as hashtags that are very specific to the types of fashion it sells: #preppyfashion compared to #bohofashion, for example.
And so speaking of different “types of hashtags…
Instagram breaks hashtags down into different categories:
- Niche hashtags: as mentioned above, these are more specific, indicating where your company fits in the context of your industry or business sector: #bohofashionaccessories or #preppyfashion.
- Service/product: basic keywords that people often use when they describe your service or product: #hairstyles #privateschool.
- Special event/seasonal: #summerdays #HappyHolidays. (As you can see, they don’t have to be about a specific holiday.)
- Community or industry: #highered #thriftingfashionistas
- Acronym hashtags: Who can forget #TGIF or #ThrowbackThursday
- Location: This is self-evident #AnnArborEats, for example.
The optimal number of hashtags to use per post
You can place up to 30 hashtags in a post, but should you?
The consensus among experts is that 11 is the sweet spot for the number of hashtags per post.
Now the answer to the question that you’ve been waiting for: where can you find the “right” hashtags for any particular post?
There are several ways:
- Set up search streams in a social listening tool such as Hootsuite.
- If your profile is an Instagram business profile, you can conduct 30 different (unique) searches in a week (seven days).
- Look at the hashtags that your competitors are using.
- Take a look at your top followers and look at the hashtags they use in their own posts; they could be good ones for you to use, too.
- Perform an Instagram hashtag search. Often called “autocomplete,” all you need to do to use it is type a word or phrase in the Instagram’s Keyword Tool search box and press enter. The tool will then generate hashtag suggestions.
- Instagram business profiles can conduct up to 30 unique hashtag searches in any given seven-day period.
Using hashtags well means you should be strategic in their use
Unless you have considerable experience in Instagram marketing, it may be wise to engage a marketing team that knows hashtag best practices inside and out