If you’re trying to grow on Instagram, one of the most common questions that comes to mind is how do I use hashtags. And that comes from the large amount of content around what hashtags are and how they can increase your reach… which is true… sort of.
How Hashtags Work on Instagram
Hashtags are not a solution to your lack of growth on Instagram. If people are not engaging with your content, you could literally have the “perfect” hashtag strategy and it would not make a difference.
HASHTAGS CANNOT SAVE YOU FROM BAD CONTENT OR A LACK OF A STRATEGY.
I’m sorry, but they can’t. Hashtags increase your discoverability based on whether or not people are engaging with your content. Think of them as a tool to help solve a problem, not the solution itself.
If you do not have a huge account with a large number of engagements per post, you will not rank on an incredibly large hashtag. Those hashtags are used so frequently that your content will disappear amongst the crowd. If you have a small account, you need to be focusing on small and relevant hashtags.
Hashtag Discoverability on Instagram
Because it is very hard (leaning on unrealistic) to expect a small account to rank on a large hashtag like #SmallBusiness (75.6 million posts) or #Entrepreneur (1.2 million posts), you need to get a lot more specific!
Use hashtags that relate to your niche, your location, and what your ideal clients are following to increase your discoverability using hashtags. Think of this like a longtail keyword. A small account probably cannot rank on #SmallBusiness (75.6M), but if they are based in Atlanta, they might be able to rank on #AtlantaSmallBusinessOwner (5.9K). Essentially, be as specific as you can. Instagram is a big place, and your people are there.
What Instagram Says about Hashtags
Instagram says that we should only be using 3-5 hashtags per post, which is a huge difference from what was previously considered to be common knowledge. A couple of months ago, they said use 8-15. Previously it was thought that 30 hashtags was the best way to go.
Although Instagram says to use 3-5 hashtags, I am not going to cut down my hashtags that far. What I am going to do is focus more on the relevancy of my hashtags rather than making sure I have all 30.
Why? Well, I have not had the chance to finish testing how many hashtags are best for my content. And that is the key to this whole thing. You need to test and see what works best for you. Your audience and your account is unique. There is no perfect one-size-fits-all formula.
Some Shameless Self-promotion
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