Instagram hashtags, they’re all the rage, aren’t they? That’s because they work!
Studies show that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags.
Hashtags are a staple on Instagram and if you want to reach new followers and build a strong Instagram presence, then hashtags will become a normal part of your routine.
But hashtags can get overwhelming really quickly and can bring up quite a few questions!
How many hashtags should I use?
What hashtags should I use?
Should you put your hashtags in the comments or in the caption?
Do hashtags even work?
We really want you using hashtags because we know they can lead to more followers, more engagement and a stronger Instagram page but we want you using the right hashtags in the right ways!
Let’s clear up some hashtag questions so you can become an Insta-ninja with hashtags.
This one is the most straightforward answer: yes, hashtags can increase your engagement, reach and followers.
Why do hashtags work? Hashtags expand your exposure to people who aren’t following you. Using hashtags can help you land on the “Top” posts in an Instagram search or on the Explore page. You could even end up in the feed of someone who doesn’t follow you now that Instagram allows users to follow hashtags.
This is really a personal preference and depends on how you want your feed to look.
Most people started putting hashtags in their comments because they thought they could get around Instagram’s hashtag limit. Spoiler alert: this tactic doesn’t really work. It’s best to just follow the 30 hashtags per post rule.
But many people realized that adding hashtags into the comments made their posts look more aesthetically pleasing and they were easier to read without 30 hashtags shoved at the bottom.
In 2018, Instagram changed captions to only show two lines so you can still add hashtags and they might be hidden below the “See More” button after your first two lines. If your caption is longer than two lines though, your audience will still see all your hashtags at the bottom.
Whether you choose to include your hashtags in the comment or the caption, they will work the same way! Your post will show up in a hashtag search whether the hashtag is in the comment or the caption.
If you Google this question you will find many different answers to it, which can lead to some confusion.
Instagram allows you to post up to 30 hashtags in a post. Do you need 30 hashtags? Not necessarily.
91% of top brands use 7 or fewer hashtags but that also doesn’t mean that number is right for everyone.
Other studies show that posts with more than 11 get nearly 80% of interactions on Instagram.
Our advice is to measure what works for you and your audience. Try testing your Instagram hashtags for a week. Post a few posts with all 30 hashtags, a few posts with 11 and a few posts with 7 and see what works for your audience.
You can measure your posts in the Insights tab of your business page.
Click “See All” in the Feed Post section. We like to filter this by “Engagement” and then “7 days” so we can get the most recent look at our page.
You might find that using more hashtags works for your audience. Or you may find that you reach more with only a few, very strategic hashtags.
Ultimately it will always come down to your audience. Luckily, Instagram gives you all the tools you need to figure out what your audience wants!
Ah, now we’re at the million dollar question: what hashtags should I use?
Choosing your hashtags is absolutely a science!
You could choose the “best” hashtags to try to maximize engagement. These are the tags that are used most often on Instagram. They include “love”, “instagood”, “me”, “cute”, and “tbt”.
Using these top hashtags will get you some quick engagement but most of that engagement will be from bots. You also might see an uptick in “follow/unfollow” method since bots often follow that method of following accounts that post with popular hashtags and then quickly unfollowing.
These hashtags might give you a ton of engagement but you might not be reaching an audience that will convert into readers, visitors and customers. You want to niche down with your hashtags so they are relevant to you and your audience.
There are three main ways to find hashtags:
Look at your competitors & your audience
Competitive research is a smart way to find which hashtags are relevant to you. If an audience in your competitor, then at least some of that audience will probably be interested in your content too!
You should also look at what your audience shares and the hashtags they use. Your followers probably connect with other similar accounts and since they are your audience, they will probably use hashtags that are relevant to everyone else in your audience!
Instagram’s search bar is about to become your new best friend!
When you search a hashtag on Instagram, your results will include related hashtags, which you can then click on and explore in more detail.
Instagram will also give you hashtag suggestions if you are following certain hashtags.
In 2018, Instagram started allowing users to follow Instagram hashtags in their feed and now you can see suggestions based on the hashtags you follow.
In your profile click your “Followers” button and then click over to the hashtags you are following. Below the list of hashtags that you follow you’ll find a list of 10 “Popular Hashtags” that Instagram curates based on your interests and the hashtags you already follow.
After you’ve chosen enough hashtags, you might be wondering if they actually attract more people to your page.
You are using them so it’s a good idea to check that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, right?
This is where post insights come in handy. You can find your post insights underneath every post by clicking the little arrow. This is only available for business accounts.
In your post insights, you can see your impressions and where your impressions originated. If you’re seeing little to no impressions from your hashtags, then you know it’s time to switch them up!
We curated a list of large and smaller hashtags with active followings and relevant entrepreneur content.
If you want to start somewhere with your hashtags for entrepreneurs, then this list will get you started.
Just be sure to do your own research and investigate what hashtags are best for your industry!
There you have it! Our quick guide to mastering Instagram hashtags this year!