What Hashtags Should I Use on Instagram and Why?

You started using Instagram, that’s awesome! But now you’re stuck not sure what hashtags to use and when, or how many. You know it’s the easiest way to be discovered, but maybe you’re not seeing the right kind of growth. 

Hashtags give you the ability to appear in relevant searches on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. This is exceedingly helpful when you’re trying to build an audience that engages with your brand. 

But what hashtag strategy will work for you?

Do some research.

A good place to start is knowing what your audience is searching for online. It’s not enough to just tag your content with what the subject matter is, but you need to know your audience will find it. Take for example, you’re an ice cream parlour trying to figure out what hashtags to use. The obvious choice is #icecream. Yes, that is what you do but consider someone who is looking for an ice cream shop. They might search for things like #familyday, #beachday, or #fundate. Alternatively, it might be easier to hashtag a location or an event near you. 

The easiest choice is always related to the subject matter, but remember you want to be found by your audience. 

Be mindful of what you can use and what is effective. 

Not every hashtag is a smart choice, even if it is popular or highly relevant. Some hashtags are so popular in fact that they are absolutely chalk full of spam. Once a hashtag is full of spam, Instagram bans the use of the hashtag. This means that if you tag anything with this hashtag, you won’t actually appear in any search and could get shadowbanned yourself. 

Don’t worry though, a shadowban won’t make you lose your account. You just won’t appear in any searches in any hashtag. 

How many hashtags are effective?

Don’t be that guy that posts a wall of hashtags with every post. People find that disingenuine and feel like they’re being marketed to. When you use more than 11 hashtags, it feels like you are trying to grow your follower list. While that’s obvious, your followers want to feel appreciated too! 

Stick to 11 hashtags and only use two that are considered popular. The other nine hashtags should be highly relevant to your product, but also to your audience. That way you’ll get the engagement from the more popular hashtags and the relevance from the others. 

Is there real science?

I mean, you can listen to marketers talk all day about how many hashtags you should use and where you should put them. But the easiest way to get engagement and increase organic reach is to engage with other pages. 

Want help figuring out a digital media strategy that works for your goals? For the month of February we are offering a free digital marketing audit across all of your profiles, including your website. We will give you a full report with actionable items that you can do on your own to improve. 

Sign up at this link for more information and receive your audit in less than 48 hours. 

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