On Instagram, it’s all about the hashtags. Today we are going to talk about best practices for hashtags on Instagram.
Where do they go?
There has been a big debate about whether hashtags should go in the caption or in the comments. Different people have different opinions about this, based on aesthetics or functionality, but the official stance from Instagram is that if you put it in the comments they don’t see it or weigh it as heavily. Therefore hashtags should always go in the caption.
The confusion stems from the fact that once upon a time it didn’t matter where the hashtags went. It was 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. That has since changed.
How many should I use?
30 hashtags is the max for a post. 10 is the max for a story. I wouldn’t advise hashtag-stuffing your post with 30 hashtags every single time. Don’t do that. Most people can handle about 15 to 20. Don’t forget to use hashtags in your stories because it allows them to become discoverable.
What types of hashtags are there?
There are several types of hashtags that you can use effectively on Instagram.
First, you have your community-based hashtags. These are the ones that connect you based on a specific subject. They break down into categories such as product or service, the niche in your industry, and communities inside your industry. So a wedding planner may have wedding planning as their service. Different niches in their industry may include catering, photography, and venues. Communities allow you to narrow the niche down even further such as rustic wedding or traditional church wedding.
Special events and seasons are another great way to find hashtags. Hashtags such as #merrychristmas, #summer, and #graduation are all good examples of this type of hashtag.
Locations are always good for hashtags. Any content tagged with a location or person automatically gets higher engagement.
Daily hashtags such as #motivationmonday, #whatsupwednesday, or #flashbackfriday can be a good choice as well. These are so specific to the day of the week that they can help you long-term with your engagement.
Phrases related to what you do can be effective hashtags. For instance, as a digital marketing company, we may use #iplayonfacebook.
Acronyms such as #tbt for throwback Thursday. #tbt and #throwbackthursday are different hashtags and they get different followers so using both isn’t a bad idea. It’s very interesting.
Did you know you can use emojis as hashtags? You can! Just make sure you check it out first so you know what other people are using it for.
All of those hashtags fall under the category of community-based hashtags.
The next type of hashtag is the branded hashtag. These are hashtags that are unique to your company. You can actually ask your followers to follow your specific branded hashtag and to use it when posting about your business. Two of our branded hashtags are #staysocialu and #carynterradas. These are very unique to us and allow people to find us easily.
The last type of hashtag is the campaign hashtag. If you’re doing a giveaway for summer your hashtag may be #summergiveaway2021. You can have a core set of hashtags but have unique ones for specific events.
How do you find hashtags?
You have to look for the right hashtags. The first place you can look is your audience. You need to research the people you are targeting so you know what they’re looking for. This will help you create your list.
Another place to look is at your competitors. This seems like a no-brainer but a lot of people never look at their competition. It’s important that you do it for a couple of reasons. First, you don’t want to squat on someone else’s hashtag. That’s a huge digital faux pas. Secondly, if there is a category or industry breakdown, you want to make sure you’re getting what you need from those hashtags.
Industry leaders are another great resource for finding hashtags. These are influencers in your niche. They may use hashtags that you haven’t thought of that would be a good fit for you.
Always check the related hashtags. These are the suggestions you get when you search for a hashtag. They are definitely worth checking out.
Lastly, you can use actual hashtag tools.
What are some effective hashtag tools?
The first is Instagram itself. People can neglect to check Instagram specifically. Here is a warning for you. There are so many hashtags that are used for adult entertainment industries that you must check every hashtag. What sounds innocent to you may actually be an inappropriate hashtag on Instagram. Also, you may have a hashtag in mind and when you search on Instagram you find out it is a branded hashtag for another company. That’s a big no-no. You could even find out that the hashtag you have in mind is being used for an industry that has nothing to do with what you’re business does. Using that hashtag will just help the other industry but will not benefit you.
Hashtagify is another effective hashtag tool. It’s been around for quite a while. It shows you suggestions and popularity. The great thing about Hashtagify is that it’s very easy to see the results. Some hashtag tools are so complicated that you can get bogged down in the process but Hashtagify makes it easy on the user. You simply put in your word and it gives you the popularity of that tag along with offering you suggestions related to that tag. It may suggest a great tag that has never crossed your mind.
Rite Tag is another good one. If you have zero clue on how to get started with hashtags, Rite Tag can be very helpful to you. You upload the picture you are planning to post and it suggests tags based on your photo.
#HashMe is a hashtag app that can help you find what is current and trending right this minute. If you want to be on the leading edge of what’s happening this will be very useful. You see this a lot on TikTok especially when there’s a new ad campaign. You will see a video about puppies with a hashtag about Doritos. It’s totally unrelated but they’re jumping on the trend by using the super popular hashtag of the moment. I wouldn’t recommend this all the time but for the right trend, it could be helpful.
HashtagsforLikes is the last tool on our list. It tells you what’s popular, trending, and related. Any of these tools can help you find effective hashtags and there are so many more as well. These are just the 5 we use the most. There’s a free version of almost all of these so don’t miss your opportunity to research the best hashtags for your business.
Hashtags are the primary way people can search for what you offer on Instagram. Make sure that you are using them to achieve the best results on Instagram.