How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Instagram

Using hashtags is one of the BEST ways to grow your account on Instagram. Can you use hashtags on Facebook, too? Sure, but they’re not nearly as effective. People just don’t use hashtags on Facebook like they do on Instagram. 

Hashtags are extremely effective on Instagram when used correctly!

However, things have changed a little bit and it’s not nearly as simple as it was a few years ago. You used to be able to pick and choose super broad hashtags, like #business, #fitness, #cooking, or whatever your niche is… but now, there are millions and millions of posts under those broad hashtags. So, if you use LARGE, broad hashtags like that in your posts (especially if you’re a small account) they will just get lost in the sea of millions of others.

It’s better to choose a mixture of small and medium-sized hashtags because your posts will actually have a greater chance of being seen. As a very general guideline, if you have an account with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, I would recommend using hashtags that have under 500,000 posts under them. 

When you’re trying to think of your ideal list of hashtags, it’s really easy to just type one into your search bar on Instagram, then be “suggested” with additional hashtags that similar accounts are using. Instagram takes some of the guesswork out of it for you… you just have to take the time to do the research.

Think of hashtags that your IDEAL CUSTOMER would be using or searching. Don’t necessarily use all the same hashtags that other people in your industry are using…… think of what your potential client or customer would use or search for. Especially if you have a brick and mortar, it’s important to use location-specific hashtags such as, #chicagocafe, #floridasurfshop, #wisconsinbrewery, etc. 

You can use up to 30 hashtags, but if you try to use any more than that, your post or comment with the hashtags will not be approved. Even though you can use up to 30, I would still stress quality over quantity. It’s better to use 10-15 GREAT hashtags that you KNOW you want to be associated with than it is to use 30 hashtags that don’t 100% fit your brand and style.

I have done tons of experimenting, and I actually use my own account as kind of a “tester”. I’m still experimenting every day. I’ve compared posts where I don’t use ANY hashtags and compared posts where I use up to 30 hashtags. The conclusion that I’ve come to is… Hashtags WORK, and they certainly help you reach more people, but it’s important to stress quality over quantity. If you’re going to use the FULL 30 hashtags, make sure they’re all being used by accounts you want your business or brand to be associated with.

I personally like to “hide” the hashtags in the comment section of the post, because I feel like the caption looks a lot more clean and easy to digest if there isn’t a long list of hashtags within the caption. So, I recommend copy and pasting your hashtags into the comment section of the post instead.

Once you start using a new list of hashtags, it’s also important to keep researching from there. You’ll want to check on these hashtags consistently to make sure they’re still relevant to you and your business each week. Things change soooo fast on social media, so it’s really important to stay on top of things like this if you’re going to take advantage of this resource to grow your account. It’s also important to have different “banks” of hashtags, so you’re not using the exact same list of hashtags in every single post.

Keep an eye on your Insights to see how many people you’ve reached based on your hashtags! Even if it’s a small number, that’s still MORE people that saw your content and were exposed to your brand. It’s a win, either way! If you’re not sure where to find this information in your Insights, message me or comment below and I’ll help!

After your account grows, make sure you’re getting quality followers. If you’re getting spammy-looking accounts or followers that you don’t necessarily foresee as being a future customer or client, go through your hashtags and see if there are any that you should remove from your list. It’s tedious, but if you choose to use hashtags as a part of your strategy, it’s important to do it right. Playing the guessing game and not doing any research can result in a poorly-engaged audience and lots of spam on your account.

I go much more in depth about hashtags in my Social Media on a Strategy mini-course! This is a cost-effective way to learn the basics of social media: content strategy, engagement strategy, and hashtag strategy! If you have found my social media posts, videos, and blog posts helpful, you’re going to LOVE this mini-course. Check it out HERE and get ready to grow your social media!

Also, be sure to get on my email list (subscribe button is below!) so you stay in-the-know about future trainings I have up my sleeve. 🙂

Helpful guide for how to use hashtags to grow your Instagram account!

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