So many people struggle figuring out what Hashtags are and how to make the best use of them on Social Media.
If you have a public Instagram account and add a hashtag to a post, that post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag page (it’s basically a directory of all the photos and videos that were tagged with that hashtag).
Think of hashtags as a way to connect social media content to a specific topic, event, theme or conversation. They also make it easier to discover posts around those specific topics, because hashtags aggregate all social media content with that same hashtag. It’s a bit like SEO keywords.
Hashtags may seem like an ever elusive thing that you hear that you ‘should’ be using on your Instagram and other social media platforms. But how does it actually help you and how do you find the right ones for you?
Why are Hashtags important?
Hashtags help your content get discovered online as well as attract new followers to your Instagram profile. Just like Keywords for your website SEO that helps your pages get discovered on google, that is the same principle for Social Media. Content is sorted and searchable using hashtags. You can find inspirational quotes, connect with other like-minded people, search content that is helpful for your business and find products or ideas.
Using the right hashtags not only puts your content in search of that particular hashtag, but it also extends the shelf-life of your posts. So no matter when you post it, your content may be found long into the future. This also helps your content be discovered by your ideal clients and those searching for relevant content. Want to learn how to get more followers on Instagram? Check out ‘How to gain more followers online in 5 easy steps‘ blog.
Why should your hashtags be relevant to your posts?
Many people create a list of hashtags and use them over and over again, therefore not making their hashtags relevant to the content they are posting. When you do that, your content that shows up in search of that hashtag is not relevant – your content will not gain any traction from people searching.
That is why researching hashtags before using is important, because you want to see that the content under the hashtag you are using is a quality content and matches what the user is searching for.
Hashtags that contain a lot of spammy and not relevant content, will most likely have very little engagement and people looking at the content under that search term. So always take the time to research the relevancy of your hashtags and what content is being shared under that search term.
Need some fresh content ideas? Check out ‘10 Ideas for Quick and Easy Content Creation‘ blog.
Before you start hashtag research, have a think about:
- Your niche and niche related search terms
- Your physical location and if that could help you be discovered
- Community hashtags that reflect various communities that could relate to your business
- Unique hashtags that are your own
- Hyper-niche hashtags that help you be very specific
Things not to do with hashtags:
Don’t use irrelevant hashtags that are not related to your content.
Do not use hashtags that are too large and your content is not discoverable.
Don’t use single word hashtags.
Note: There are banned hashtags on Instagram, meaning your content will not show up on search and in fact you can not see any content under that hashtag when searching. Here is the list of hashtags that you should avoid using.
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How many hashtags can I use on Instagram?
There are a lot of myths on how many hashtags you can use on Instagram posts, but the actual number of hashtags allowed and that you can totally use without negatively impacting the content reach is 30. You can use hashtags in your post or put it into your post comments. It works exactly the same and your content will be searchable no matter where you use them.
Instagram stories – you can use up to 10 hashtags on Instagram stories that will help your stories be discovered and show up better in the discovery page. Like most platforms Instagram content is based on algorithms and AI, which means the machine learning is clever enough to recognise your content type and suggest it to users who usually engage with the type of content you are sharing.
What tools can I use to help me with Hashtags?
There are lots of incredible tools that can help you organise and store your hashtags. One of our favourite all in one tools is Planoly that has all the incredible features, such as organising your hashtags, and scheduling content and adding 1st comment into your post when it is posted.
If you are lacking hashtag ideas you may also want to check out Hashtag Expert as an app that generates hashtags for you. This is a paid app, but is worth trying it out if you want to consistently use new hashtags. More Social Media tools read: ‘Social Media Schedulers‘ blog.
Why is using large hashtags not recommended for Instagram?
Most people on instagram make the mistake of using most popular or large hashtags on their content. This may seem like an opportunity to get your posts seen by more people but in reality your content is competing with millions of other posts under that hashtag.
This means there are many other posts being shared under that hashtag and your post gets pushed down the content feed and becomes not discoverable. Also, if your content gets lower engagement, you should use smaller and more specialised hashtags so your posts can be discovered and end up on Top Posts which is the first page that pops up when someone searches a hashtag.
Make your posts friendly for visually impaired by adding ATL text to your images. When sharing an image scroll down to the bottom and you will see ATL text – there put in a description of your image and caption.
This also means your posts will be easier searched and tagged in Instagram content search features. ATL descriptions that important to help those visually impaired understand what your post is about.
More pro tips, check out Later’s blog posts.
Entrepreneur, Mentor & Founder at Women in Business Club
Raimonda is a serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach, International Speaker and Business Funding Expert. She is the founder of the Women In Business international community and events.
Raimonda launched her 1st business at the age of 21 and has since pursued her entrepreneurial passion, by starting and launching more businesses as well as supporting others to do the same.
Over the last 10 years in business, Raimonda has learned the power of mentorship and encouragement, therefore is now passionate about helping other entrepreneurs achieve success and make a positive impact on this world.