If you have used Instagram even for a short while, you have probably realised how the use of hashtags is prevalent on the platform. They are in abundance and as a person who doesn’t really love using them, I was one of the people who hated the all-consuming use of Instagram hashtags as part of my social media marketing. That was before realising their full potential and discovered how to use hashtags strategically for finding your target Instagram audience or how to make it easier for your target Instagram audience to find you.
If you have never heard me talking about Instagram hashtags in the past, let me explain how you can use them successfully.
Obviously, anybody can throw up some hashtags hoping to get more likes on their posts. This is something that happens all the time. Many people only give serious thought to the “appearance” and popularity of a popular post. However, what if it were possible to use hashtags so that the right people find your content?
Here is how you can do it.
When it comes to hashtags, I have a strategic formula for ensuring that my posts always show up on top in searches for the key industry and niche terms for which I would like to be found. You too can do the same.
But, you first need to figure out what you would like those target keywords to be.
You should know which hashtags you will use to stand out on Instagram. They are the keywords people will search for to find you.
You should keep in mind that they won’t be generic terms such as “blogger” or “fashion” or “photographer” but rather they will need to be very specific. It could be a geographical distinction such as “goldcoastseo” or a specific niche characteristic your business falls into such as “healthypetmeals”.
You should know exactly what distinguishes yours from other businesses and specifically what your audience is searching for on Instagram. You can use the best keywords available, but if they are not what your target audience wants, is searching for, and is clicking on, you are simply wasting those hashtags. Take some time to do your research to find the perfect keywords that will represent the interests of your target audience, business, and brand.
Now that you have all that figured out, here is an effective recipe for hashtag success.
Instagram Hashtag Recipe for Success
First, you will be using between 15 and 20 hashtags for every post. If you want, you can use up to 30 but never more since your caption will not post. So, you can safely go up to 29.
Second, use 4 to 5 very popular hashtags, which are those related to your content but fall in the realm of millions of other posts on those very hashtags. For instance, you can use keywords such as #entrepreneur, #business, and #socialmedia. All three are quite popular but are still related to the content you are posting and what you do. You want to avoid ‘hashtag jacking’ popular random hashtags for the sake of it. All hashtags that you use need to relate to your context, business, and content.
Third, use between 5 and 7 moderately popular hashtags, which are those with hundreds of thousands of posts that are associated with them. Don’t forget that they are hashtags that relate to your brand and content but are a bit more targeted both in terms of context and scope.
Fourth, use between 2 and 5 niche specific hashtags, which are those target keywords you should come up with and that your target audience is searching for. They are the ones that don’t have too much content associated with them when it comes to the hashtag search galleries.
Finally, use between 1 and 2 branded hashtags for your branded content. Whether your customers or you use them, they will be hashtags that house all your content.
If you have been doing your math, you probably already know that they currently add up to a maximum of 19. If you would like to use all the 29 hashtags, you simply need to up each category a bit or add in a few because you really love using them.
This is all that you need to do.
Simple, right? You are probably wondering why it works.
Why Does The Strategy Work?
Once you start posting content using the strategy, you will experience an initial burst of activity from the popular hashtags. It is true that bots will be responsible for some of this activity while some will come from randoms. Don’t worry about it since all that matters is the initial burst of activity. Since the popular hashtag tubs are so active your content will be buried in the archives of the hashtags in a matter of minutes never to be seen again. But, this is perfectly okay.
This is when the moderately popular hashtags will start kicking in. Your content will remain active in the moderately popular hashtag hubs for at least a few hours if not days thus keeping your content engaged actively over time.
This is just your hashtag activity. You will also be getting constant engagement from followers on your post, meaning that it is practically remaining active in both your new and existing audience views. This is perfect for Instagram’s algorithm for search criteria.
When Instagram looks at your post content, good immediate engagement, good engagement across existing and new audiences, and good long term engagement is what it sees. It then determines whether your content is worth showing to a larger number of people. What happens then is that you will start showing up in the Explore tab for the proper target audience as well as a top post for the niche specific hashtags your target audience is already searching for.
The posts that appear in the top section of hashtag hubs can actually remain there for days if not weeks. This means that you will have the chance to put yourself in front of the right people who are actively searching for what you have to offer.
It could translate to increased engagement, new followers, a higher click-through rate to your site, and finally higher sales volume. It is not even necessary to point out that it is a solid strategy.