Hashtags are the little # symbols that you see all over social media that give your content reach— you can get your content seen by more people when you use hashtags.
For instance, if you are posting content for an LA-based real estate business, it makes sense that you’d use a hashtag like #LArealtors to help direct people to your page.
If you want to get discovered by more Instagram users on the platform, you’d also like to use additional hashtags that are relevant to your niche, such as #LArealestate and #losangeleshouses.
Instagram will allow you to use up to 30, but is that something you really want to do? While hashtags can bring you a lot of new traffic and viewers, you’ve got to have a fine-tuned strategy if you want to see real results and not come across as spammy and desperate.
We’re going to give you the inside scoop on how to use hashtags for optimal reach and aesthetics on your Instagram as well as how to choose exactly the right hashtags for your Instagram content. Let’s take a look.
Quick Hashtag Guide
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of hashtags, there are a few things to know about hashtags so that you can use them the right way in your posts on Instagram.
They were first used in 2007 on Twitter so that they could connect users in looking for particular types of content. Instagram organizes content into hashtag feeds that people can follow, allowing them to see content using that hashtag on a regular basis.
Instagram Hashtag Rules:
- You can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post
- You can post your hashtags in a variety of ways on your content
- Hashtags can also be used on Instagram stories
- Some hashtags are banned on Instagram and have no content feeds
- You can’t use any spaces in your hashtags, they must be words all put together
- You can use numbers in hashtags but no special characters
- Hashtags are shown in feeds in chronological order
These are just some of the basic rules of Instagram hashtags. One of the most common things that happens is that people use a ton of hashtags hoping that they get more reach. Studies have shown that the magic hashtag number is between 7-11 hashtags per post.
If you want to use more, it’s a good idea to hide your hashtags so they don’t overwhelm your captions and consume your content. That’s one of the best tricks you can learn for your Instagram hashtag strategy, and we’ll tell you how below.
You may have noticed that some people have their hashtags “formatted” in a way that pushes them down so that they aren’t as noticeable in the caption of their photos. We call this “hiding” your hashtags.
- Open a text editor and create a new document. You can use a simple app like Notes, or a common text editor like Evernote.
- Type a dot • then press return. Do this 5 times.
- Place your hashtag list right after the fifth dot.
- Copy the complete text including the dots and line breaks.
- Open the Instagram app.
- Get your post ready by uploading your photo and caption.
- After you’ve created your comment, you have two options: you can paste it in directly after your comment, or—
- You can post your photo and make it live, view your posted photo, click on the comment button, and paste it there as a comment.
You won’t be able to use this feature if you type the dots into Instagram directly which is why you’ll have to use the text editor to do so.
This will give you the chance to use more hashtags on Instagram without taking away from the appearance of your content.
Now that we know the best way to post a variety of hashtags on your Instagram content, let’s take a look at three top tips for helping you get the best hashtag strategy for your content.
Pro Tips: 3 Hashtag Strategies for More Followers
It can be really tough to choose the right hashtags for Instagram. After all, there are so many different possibilities out there, how can you know which one will work best?
Many people erroneously believe that if you choose the most popular hashtags, you’ll get more eyes on your content. This is wrong for two reasons:
- If a hashtag is really popular, it has a lot of users posting it to their photos as well. This causes all of the photos to be pushed down the hashtag feed very quickly, eliminating the chance that a lot of viewers will actually see it.
- When you use a super general or popular hashtag, it isn’t going to bring you views from your target audience. In the event that people do see your content, you can’t know that they’ll be people who you actually want looking at your account.
For example, if you use the hashtag #beachvibes, who knows how many other users will be using it and what kind of niches they’re involved in. You’ve got to have a targeted hashtag strategy with hashtags that are just popular enough to get you noticed by the right users.
Here are some tips to help you do exactly that.
Instagram Hashtag Tip 1: Use a Hashtag Generator
A hashtag generator can be a valuable tool in understanding the best-performing hashtags in your niche and which ones will bring you the most targeted viewers.
You can see hashtag analytics and performance metrics as well as filter your searches so that your hashtags are completely tailored to your niche and content type. You’ll see the volume of posts that use the hashtag as well as the popularity.
You can even create hashtag sets that make it extremely easy to post them to your content, ensuring that you save time and don’t lose your favorite hashtags that you noted down who knows where.
In addition to hashtag performance stats, you can even see data-driven insights on the hashtags that you use, keeping your strategy at its peak on a consistent basis.
Instagram Hashtag Tip 2: Study Popular Accounts in Your Niche
Another good way to get some exposure to hashtags that are trending in your niche and being viewed by your target audience is to study popular accounts in your niche. You can see what’s been working for them and model their content.
You can see how many hashtags they use, what their tags are, as well as how they format them into their content. These are all valuable things to note when you are looking at what makes their content successful.
In addition to hashtags, take a look at the type of content they post as well as how they use different media types like Instagram stories and IGTV. If you can learn something from their overall account, you’ll be able to model it in the most effective way.
It will take a bit longer to do this, but it can be great research so that you understand the top competitors in your niche and how they go about content creation and hashtag strategy.
Instagram Hashtag Tip 3: Create Your Own Branded Hashtag
The final way that you can ensure you have the right hashtag selection is to include one of your own branded hashtags. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the #shareacoke campaign.
Coke created this hashtag as a marketing campaign to not only connect users from all around the world but to create a hashtag feed with content that was specific to Coca-Cola. They could then use this content and feature it on their own profile, engaging users.
It also drew attention to their brand and gained more followers for their account; while everyone knows the Coca-Cola brand, some people may have never considered following them on Instagram.
If you can create a catchy hashtag and use it on all of your posts, you can then promote that hashtag and encourage other users to tag their posts with it as well, bringing more attention to your brand’s profile as well as generating content you can use later as features.
All in all, it’s not the only strategy you’ll need, but it’s something that can solidify your brand presence and get your content out there to new people. You can use location tags in the same way, especially if you have a physical location or a custom Instagram location tag.
There’s no doubt that you need hashtags on Instagram if you want to get your content out there to more people. Hashtags were specifically designed so that people could find the content that they love, and you should be taking advantage of that as best you can.
Using a hashtag generator is going to be the most effective way; you can use up to 30 hashtags on your Instagram posts and you can use our tip to hide your hashtags so that your content doesn’t appear spammy or desperate.
Also, take a look at the top-performing accounts in your niche and even venture to create your own branded hashtag. The more you understand Instagram hashtags and experiment and test them out, the better your performance will be.
Happy hashtagging! Tell us how you like to use hashtags in the comments.