Four Easy Hashtag Secrets To Use For Instagram Greatness!
There really is not one thing that makes your Instagram account successful. The success you have on Instagram is the result of smart strategies and a wide range of different factors.
Although, one of the single most essential aspects is to think about is the role of hashtags on your social accounts. I cannot express to you enough just how crucial hashtags are when it comes to high engagement.
Using hashtags in the right way will definitely help your page to grow exponentially. I’m about to make your hashtag game killer with four easy tips to follow every day. Making a hashtag is easy all you do is add this symbol # right in front of the word or phrase you are searching for and–boom!–it becomes a clickable link on Instagram. Also, make sure there are no spaces between your words for, e.g. #homeorganisationtips, not #home #organisation #tips.
Hashtags, What Are They?
If you and I were having a conversation, I would describe hashtags as an easy way to search for content that you are interested in seeing. You could be super specific, (like when I am organising my home and I search #thehomeedit) or very broad (like when I’m looking for inspiration for outfits and I search #fashiontips).
Ok, so let’s profesh, and read the legit definition from the Oxford Dictionary –
plural noun: hashtags a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.
“spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them”.
The hash sign (#).
“Hunt mistook an @ for a hashtag while tweeting derogatory thoughts about him”.
Put simply hashtags are like micro search engines within Instagram. Unsure of the type of dog to adopt? Search #poodle #chihuahua or #maltese to see and read thousands of posts shared by beloved dog owners.
Whatever you’re looking for, hashtags will help you! Let’s get into it…
Ok, Hashtag Secrets, Let’s Go!
1. How Many Hashtags Should I Use?
This is a common question. My answer is Instagram gives you the option to use up to thirty hashtags, and you should most definitely use all of them. You can put them at the end of your caption, or do as I like to do and put them in the comments. What that does is starts engagement immediately on your post in the mysterious Instagram algorithm, plus it keeps my caption pretty.
Either way, the choice is entirely yours. It really doesn’t make a difference. What does make a difference is making sure you add the hashtags you want to use immediately with your post. This ensures your photo starts working with the algorithm straight away.
Let’s Check In With Reality.
Let’s pause for a moment and have a commercial break from our sponsor: reality. It’s essential to take a step back and see what’s really going on on social media. This isn’t about your efforts to be discovered by hashtags, or your competitor’s actions, or your industry’s efforts.
This is about millions of people vying for the same thing on Instagram: attention.
Suppose you’re using hashtags and not seeing significant results. In that case, it’s easy to think you’re doing something wrong, or missing some special secret hashtag sauce. But I need to make something apparent: hashtags aren’t about BIG results.
Hashtags are simply tools to get discovered over time.
Hashtags aren’t magical solutions for your social media endeavours, they’re simply tools for exposure. If you’re hoping hashtags will be a free ticket to Profitsville, I’m here to tell you you’ve got some hard work to do before you hop on that train.
But I’m here to help.
2. How To Find The Right Ones To Use
The good news is also the not-so-good news: there’s no such thing as the “right” hashtag. The key is to use a mix of hashtags that will help get your account discovered. I like to think of hashtags like a social media cocktail…when you mix up the right elements, it’s delicious.
Let’s work on this cocktail, shall we? This cocktail is comprised of five ingredients:
• Searchable terms
• Location searches
• Geographic searches
• Industry searches
• Hashtag size
Searchable terms will comprise the majority of the hashtags you use. To understand what your searchable words are (they are different for everyone), you must put yourself into your Dream Customer’s shoes.
What is she searching for? What does he need help finding?
For example, when I photographed weddings, I put myself in a bride’s Christian Louboutin heels. I thought about what she’d be searching for as she planned her wedding. Depending on the type of photo I posted, I’d use hashtags she’d be digging through. For example, suppose I posted a picture of a bride.
In that case, I’d hashtag elements in the photo. For example, if my bride is wearing a Vera wang Dress, I would hashtag #verawang. Or #manoloblahnik (if she was wearing Manolo Blahnik shoes), and #cathedralveil (if she was wearing a cathedral veil).
As a baker, searchable terms might be #cupcakerecipe #cupcakestagram #buttercream
When you’re a fitness professional, searchable terms might be #fitnessworkout #bodyfitness #fitfam
If you sell essential oils, searchable terms might be #essentialoils #myoilyday #crunchymama
Ok, it’s your turn. List three searchable terms related to your business!
Next up, go to Instagram.com and place each of your searchable terms in the search icon and please list three related hashtags (for example, #fitfam has a related hashtag of #fitfamily)
Location search is for people searching for things/people/ photos specific to a particular location. These are incredibly powerful to get discovered in your local area.
If you’re working from a local coffee shop or bookstore, why not hashtag it? For example, if I visit Coconut Cafe coffee in Cleveland (if you have a chance to drink this nectar of the gods, do it!), and post a photo to Instagram, I’d use the #coconutcafe hashtag. Still, I’d also add the #coconutcafecleveland hashtag (because the cafe has multiple locations).
As a wedding photographer, I loved location hashtags because they got the best results. When I shot a wedding, say, at the Boulevard Gardens Estate, I hashtagged the photo as #boulevardgardensestate #boulevardgardenswedding. Why? When a prospective bride searched for wedding photos specific to that hotel, she could stumble across my work.
If you’re a baker, searchable location terms might be the shopping centre your store is located in like #thegrovela. Or a location where people could find your baked goods (like a pop-up shop at the #pacificfair).
As a fitness professional, searchable location terms might be the location of where you train clients (#goldsgymnoho) or an event location where you’ll train private clients (like #botanicalgardenspark).
If you sell essential oils, searchable location terms could be where you might use specific oils (like lavender oil to help bug bites on #runyoncanyon trail).
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and list three searchable location terms related to your business!
Geographical search terms are for people searching for businesses based on city or state. This can get a bit tricky because people search for local options in a myriad of ways.
For example, when I hashtag weddings I photographed in Brisbane City, I had to use a mix of geographic references due to city abbreviations.
Hashtag terms like:
I also applied the same geographic searches to
variations on the word “photographer” as it could be searched for photography, photo, and photos.
In simpler terms, geographic terms could be #queenslandweddingphotographer (state-specific) and/or #brisbaneweddingphotographer (city specific).
Now, you know what to do! Make a list of three searchable geographic terms related to your business!
Head over to Instagram.com and place each of your searchable terms in the search icon and please list three related hashtags (for example, #sydneybaker has a related hashtag of #sydneybakery).
Industry search terms are specifically related to your industry, used by peers and counterparts. These search terms tend to be searched through by other professionals within your industry.
Now before you go and roll your eyes because you don’t want your competitors to follow your account, wait up! Hashtagging within your industry is a great way to get noticed, featured, or create sponsorships/ alliances/referrals.
Industry hashtags could be anything from groups you’re a part of (#luxurytravelagent), memberships you have that are industry-specific (#sohohouse), or even clubs that are industry-related (#4hclub).
For example, Jamie Dana is a famous hairstylist on Instagram. While she encourages other hairstylists to use the ever-popular (and slightly overused) industry-specific hashtag #modernsalon. Jamie reminds them that using the hashtag is more to get featured on the wildly popular @ModernSalon Instagram account that showcases other stylists. Not necessarily to get dream clients to sit in their salon chairs.
Now it’s your turn. Please list three industry-related hashtags!
All I can say is that if you haven’t signed up to coaching or one of Amy’s courses, What are you waiting for? These strategies changed the game for me. I’m now using my social media as my full-time income as a result of following Amy’s advice and doing her influencer course!
3. HASHTAG SIZE
It’s essential to get your hashtags seen, right? That’s stating the obvious, but when it comes to choosing hashtags, there’s a temptation to look at popular hashtags and want to use them. Bigger is better, right? Well, no, that’s not always the case.
Think of hashtags like playing the lottery. When more people buy a ticket, your chances of winning become less. Using this analogy, winning the hashtag lottery is getting featured in the Top Posts section of a hashtag. If your post can land in the Top 9 posts in a hashtag search, you’ve basically won a hashtag lottery.
Given this information, hashtags with more than 500,000 posts will make it quite tricky to get your post discovered. Which is why I recommend using hashtags with less than 500,000 posts (or at least for the majority of your 30 hashtag selections). Remember, the smaller the hashtag, the more likely your post will be discovered.
Now, that’s not to say I won’t use mega hashtags, but I’ll use them more as reference points. For example, this month, I’ll likely use the #halloween hashtag (with 50+ million posts). But that’s only to put my Instagram post in context and join the social conversation, not necessarily to get discovered.
However, using Halloween hashtags that are specific to the photo I’m posting will result in higher opportunities to get discovered. Remember, specificity is critical.
Here are a few samples of:
- Searchable Terms #halloweendecorations #scaryhalloweencostume #halloweenmakeup
- Location Searches #disneyhalloween #knottsscaryfarm #hauntedmansion
- Geographic Searches #halloweennyc #NOLAhalloween #voodoofest
- Industry Searches #halloweenmakeupartist #halloweenphotography #halloweencupcakes
The most important thing is to use hashtags with intention and specificity. As a rule of thumb, the majority of the hashtags you use should have less than 500,000 posts, to have a greater chance of being discovered.
You can determine how big a hashtag is by opening the Instagram app and clicking on the Search icon (the magnifying glass). You can type in a hashtag, and it’ll show you how big the hashtag is, as well as other related hashtags.
For example, #glutenfreeliving has 238,780 posts (at the time of publication), which would be a solid hashtag to include in, say, a post about gluten-free recipes, meals, or preferences.
The numbers tell you how many other accounts have used that hashtag, and this can be a brilliant clue as to which are the best to use. What’s the most significant mistake people make? Taking for granted that the most popular hashtag is automatically going to be the smartest option.
This is a mistake because you’ll find a hashtag that is too popular gets drowned out by other identical posts or shadowbanned. Therefore you are competing is a huge pool for the search page. On the other hand, you don’t want a hashtag that no one is interested in… so find that sweet spot with between 30,000 and 250,000 hashtag uses on posts.
A Helpful Discovery App:
Can I share the most helpful hashtag discovery app of all time? Do I sound dramatic? Does that claim make me worthy of acting on a telenovela? Even if it does, I don’t care! I love it THAT much!
Go to the App Store and search for SmartHash. Simply type in a hashtag and the top rate related hashtags will appear in seconds, and in colour code from Red hot to lukewarm.
Putting It All Together!
This is where the magic happens, my friend. This is where you start the process of creating a base of hashtags to use for your posts. If you’ve completed the exercises up to this point, you will have amassed 18 hashtags. You will now have six from Searchable terms, three from Location searches, six from Geographic searches, and three from Industry searches, all of the mixed hashtag sizes.
Woohoo! This is a great start…but you can use up to 30 hashtags per post, so feel free to use Tag O Matic to find 12 remainder hashtags related to your terms.
This will serve as a starting point of using hashtags with intention, specificity, and confidence. HOORAY!
Follow these strategies, post daily, and you will be on your way to #instagramgreatness!
Love this article? Please share it with your friends, and leave a comment or question in the comments below, THAT would absolutely make my week 🙂
Amy Lee xx
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