Hashtags: You (probably don’t) love them, you (most likely) hate them, and you definitely don’t know how whether you’re using them the right way. I know hashtags can be frustrating – especially when everyone else seems to have them figured out while you’re still getting a measly 60 hits in reach from hashtags. What gives? In today’s blog post, I’m diving in to all things hashtags and how to use them without losing your mind with my best hashtag tips.
Absolutely. Hashtags can still work, and as this article from Hootsuite says, they’re an important way to expand your Instagram audience and get more reach. But the way that they’re used by Instagram itself as well as other app users is shifting, and that means our approach to hashtags has to shift as well.
Hashtags are not a magic pill to explode your engagement and reach. They help put your content in front of the right audience, but your post still has to perform on its own in order to gain traction.
And not to throw shade, but most posts with hashtag tips (like this one) get it completely wrong. They recommend the most saturated, general hashtags because they appear the most popular; but these hashtags are a waste of your small business’s time. I promise, no one is finding your post in the #love hashtag (and your content deserves better).
In the Instagram days of yore, putting popular hashtags like #likeforlike and #followforfollow were tactics touted by every social media guru and expert. Nowadays, those hashtags make you look spammy and don’t contribute to your growth.
So how do you utilize hashtags on Instagram today? By using them for discoverability and focusing on relevancy. More on this in the next section ⤵️
These are the exact hashtag tips and tricks I use to build my clients’ hashtags sets. Bear in mind – these aren’t a guarantee of explosive reach because there are SO many factors that go into the performance of a post. But by focusing on these best practices, you’ll set yourself up for success!
Instagram’s algorithm now looks to hashtags to help them categorize content – this means large, generalized hashtags like #love will not help your content be seen by the right people. Instead, focus on hashtags that accurately describe you, your business and the topic of the content.
If you have 30 relevant hashtags to use for a post, by all means use all 30! But if you are not able to find well-sized (more on this in the next tip), relevant hashtags, and are grasping at straws, don’t force it. For most of my clients’ posts we use between 20-25 hashtags.
The way to get traction in a hashtag is to have the post perform well – and it then gets pushed out to more and more people. If your post is immediately drowned out by thousands of posts (which would happen in hashtags with millions of uses) or no one looks at the hashtags (like those with under 100 uses), you’re wasting that hashtag space. I aim for hashtags between the 10k-500k uses, with smaller accounts sticking to the lower end of that range and larger accounts incorporating more of the higher end.
While there can be some crossover between posts, don’t copy & paste the same hashtag set for every post – this can make Instagram see your account as spammy. I recommend having one hashtag set per content pillar.
When I build hashtag sets, I incorporate hashtags for each of the following goals:
Need more prompts to help you come up with hashtags for your content? Consider community hashtags, location-based hashtags (especially if you serve your local area!), or national holiday hashtags.
To get you started on your new-and-improved hashtagging strategy, I’m sharing a few of my favorite hashtags for interior designers:
#homeinteriorideas #homedesigntrends #maketimefordesign #prettylittleinteriors #interiordesignphotography #interiordesignlovers #classyinteriors #homedecorbloggers
The moral of the story? Hashtags can be an asset to your Instagram strategy. Avoid skipping them altogether because they stress you out. Instead, reframe how you expect them to perform and make your goal relevancy and categorization.
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