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When it comes to Hashtags, there’s a lot of random information out there that can cause us to wonder if using hashtags is even worth it. From hashtags being shadow banned to hearing that you should avoid popular hashtags and only use super niche ones, the idea of hashtags can make you think that you are better off not even using them.
Should you use them? Should you skip using hashtags except for a specific branded one for your business? How do you know which ones to use for your business? We are breaking down the deal with Hashtags so you can feel confident using them as part of your Instagram strategy.
Ask anyone who uses hashtags strategically and they will tell you how beneficial they are. Considering hashtags are a way to categorize your content, you are essentially adding another way for people to find your content. Since people can follow hashtags, when you add a hashtag to your post, you are making your post available for people to see who follow or who search the hashtag on the app. We all know that reaching new people on Instagram seems more difficult than ever so using hashtags is one way to gain fresh eyes on your content.
Using hashtags is quite simple, but we recommend using a strategy to make the most of the effort you are putting in. First, find hashtags that are specific to your niche as a company. Then, find hashtags to use that are in line with both your brand and your ideal client. What kind of hashtags are your ideal clients following? What hashtags do they find value in looking at? A helpful trick is to search a hashtag in Instagram and then see what similar hashtags appear underneath the search bar. These similar hashtags are suggestions that other people also use that are similar to the hashtag you searched. Another great way to find hashtags is to see what hashtags people in your industry are using. Find a few of your competitors and look at the hashtags that they are using. See if any of them are relevant to your content, your brand and your ideal client.
You can use hashtags by putting them either in the caption of your post or in a comment below. Putting your hashtags in a comment is a way to keep your caption looking clean and ensures people aren’t distracted from the valuable content you are sharing. You can use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post but research shows that 11-16 hashtags is actually the golden ticket number to use for each post.
A good rule of thumb is to find hashtags that aren’t overused or ones that aren’t used enough– when you search for a hashtag to use, stick with hashtags that have been used 50k-500k times. This is a bit of a sweet spot where your content will still be seen and won’t be lost in the sea of users using a specific hashtag.
We recommend making a few hashtag groups in your scheduling app (we love using Planoly!) and trying them out to see how they go. Track your insights and see if hashtags are how people are finding your content. When you check your insights, it won’t show you the exact hashtags that brought in the business, but it will show you how many people find your post because of the hashtags you decided to use. This can help you strategize and see if a specific group of hashtags are working for you.
We recommend refreshing your hashtag groups every few months to be sure the hashtags you are using don’t get stale or shadowbanned. You want to be using relevant hashtags and you want to rotate them to take advantage of trending and seasonal topics.
Hashtags are a great way to impact your social media strategy and use something that is already built into the platform to boost your efforts! What are your biggest hurdles with hashtags? We have put all of our hashtag knowledge into our Instagram Intensive Course, The Curated Grid, that goes more in depth and helps you set up an actual strategy you can put in place. Check out The Curated Grid Here.
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