Hashtags play a big part on Instagram. Hashtags have become a source of Instagram engagement that is more precise and more accurate.
Posts without hashtags usually get lost in the sea that is Instagram. Learning how to hashtag but more importantly hashtagging correctly could be the difference between having thousands of likes than a heartbreaking single digit like to zero.
Posts with hashtags have more engagement than those without. Essentially what this means is that hashtags act like SEO in some manner as they boost your engagement rate. Hashtags can be used to attract followers, but you want to make sure they are the right followers.
Which hashtags should I use?
For the best engagement rate, use hashtags that people are looking for. You must be aware of what you want to achieve and establish therefore it is important to avoid tags that are oversaturated, irrelevant and detrimental to your post and brand.
The common example
Let’s imagine I want to post about my dog. Without much thought I might use #dog. This seems logical because people like dogs and it will get a lot of searches.
This type of hashtagging will leave you frustrated because your post will get so lost that not even the infinity stones can bring it back. The reason being that there are so many photos with that hashtag. However, if I use #labradoodle instead, it narrows down the number of people who are more likely to see. You want to choose hashtags that get searched but not overused.
From the example above it is clear that you may need to narrow your hashtags for your niche. Below are the different types of Hashtags that you may need to be acquainted with to be more effective.
Below we break down important HASHTAG TYPES.
Being in the “know” is important. Treat Instagram like the seasons…. it’s not always summer and the sun doesn’t shine all the time, therefore, adjust your marketing plan depending on trends. These hashtags won’t give you results immediately but keep your posts up to date with the trend however if you use the trendy hashtag incorrectly your post will be swallowed up but if you incorporate trending and the other hashtag types below it will engage effectively.
EG # USELECTION
These hashtags are the base of the hashtag culture, without this hashtag you may be just fishing without bait. The science behind these hashtags is that the coding in Instagram will know what you want to engage with and then your explore page will light up with posts that you are interested in.
EG # PASTRY CHEF
These hashtags are extremely important as they lure specific users and in turn, they create a sense of brand awareness for your page. Accordingly, these hashtags can be listed in your profile bio and are exclusive to your specific store page. These hashtags offer exclusivity and clarity about your brand and the power they have when combined with the hashtag types above is powerful.
These hashtags enable you to identify yourself further in an industry that may be saturated by so much competition that failing to identify your niche will lead to drowning. For example, we used #pastry chef as our industry, the niche may be #VeganPasrtyChef. You need to stand out and make yourself understood otherwise drowning will surely follow.
A sense of belonging and being part of something makes it easier to have better post engagement. This hashtag, however, requires more engagement from you as you are part of a community therefore it means liking posts within your community and the occasional comment.
These hashtags enable you to alert possible users that may like your post and that you are in their area. These hashtags isolate and specify your posts. They create an audience that usually wants to see your posts. If you’re a business it is important to know that people love supporting businesses in their area, and are likely to scout out local events and places on Instagram.
COMBINE: Location + niche + industry
EG # VANCOUVER + WINE+INFLUENCER
These hashtags are great for spreading the word about your event. They act like a beacon attracting users around you. When used properly, they can boost awareness and engagement for your event in a unique and powerful way.
EG # SuperBowl
These hashtags are self-explanatory. They represent occasions that are occurring at the time present time. Usually, they will be saturated however it’s just important to ride the wave until it slows down.
How many hashtags should I use?
Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags per photo. You can use all 30 or less. There are mixed opinions on the most ideal number of hashtags to use. It is more important to use specific and intentional hashtags than it is to fill all 30 spots (quality not quantity). Use a combination of common hashtags and very specific hashtags. Remember, your goal is to get relevant followers.
Lastly hashtags allow you to target specific audiences furthermore avoid using general ones that are saturated and find a balance with the number of hastags you may want to use (30 is the max)
A surefire way of finding well performing hashtags is by spying on the most used hashtags of the top competition within your niche. You can do this by heading over to Heropost Analytics(Free) and searching the username of the account you’d like to spy on. Scroll to the bottom of the report and you should see the Title “Top Hashtags”, Heropost will give you the accounts most used and popular hashtags from the last 20 posts. Cross reference this data with at 10 top accounts within your niche and you should have a strong selection of 30 reliable Hashtags!