Using Hashtags To Your Advantage on Instagram


Hey friends!

This past week I've had a few really fun conversations with some girls who want to develop their instagram presence for the sake of their business. (Genius idea if I do say so myself). One of the reoccurring topics is always # # # # # hashtags! Gone are the days when you could throw up 30 popular hashtags and grow 1,000 followers in one week. Instagram has gotten smarter and users are pickier about the content they consume so our hashtags have to be intentional

Where do I put my hashtags?

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You basically have two options; putting your hashtags within your caption or adding them in a comment after. If you are putting them in your caption you should be creating space between your text and the hashtags with '.' or '_' to leave blank space in between. There is nothing worse than a caption that flows directly into a bunch of hashtags (see above). #GROSS. This look super messy.

I prefer sticking my hashtags in a comment below my caption. This looks a lot cleaner and makes no difference to your exposure! So you hit post and then you comment on your own post with the hashtags.

How many hashtags?

The maximum number of hashtags you can use is 30. Statistics show that around 11 is the magical number ie. your reach doesn’t increase much after that. If you have more than 11 directly applicable hashtags use them to your advantage! 11 minimum, 30 max.

What hashtags do I use?

This is obviously the big question. It can be hard to think of hashtags so I have a few mini rules to break it down:

  • Only use # with <500,000 other posts. If you are using a really basic one like #travel (200 million posts) or #breakfast (72 million posts) there are millions and millions of posts under these hashtags and new posts are getting posted within these hashtags by the second! That means that even if someone does happen to see your post under this hashtag they miiiiight like it but chances of them turning into a paying client or loyal follower are slim.

  • Use location specific hashtags! Espeicalllllly if your business is not online! I'm from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. If I was a photographer I would use these hashtags #winnipegphotographer #wpgphotographer #winnipegweddingphotographer #winnipegengagementphotographer #wpgweddingphotographer etc. !

  • Consider what your ideal client would search for to find your page. Ask yourself "If I was looking for me what would I search?"

  • Get creative with your own hashtags! Example// #TheNameOfYourBusiness

  • Make sure you are using relevant hashtags! No one fully understands the algorithm but rumour has it that if your hashtags don't line up with what is in your photo or what your caption is saying then IG may be 'hiding' you from exposure. This is actually a good thing because, as an Instagram user, if you follow any hashtags….*sounds of dj disks scratching to a hault*

    Wait? What do you mean you can follow hashtags? Yup! Just search a hashtag and click follow! They will come up on your feed like normal but in the top left corner instead of saying a username it will say #_____ with the posters username below it.

    Okay so if you follow any hashtags you want to be seeing relevant posts to show up on your feed! Not random photos that happen to have the hashtag you follow. Additionally, if you use, for example, #foodstylist and the photo is of your dog then anyone who follows "#foodstylist" and sees your irrelevant photo can hit the "..." in the top right and click “Don't Show for This Hashtag” which signals to Instagram that the photo and # don't match. No bueno.

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Multiple Hashtag Sets

Pro Tip:

Have a few different sets of hashtags that apply more directly to the different themes within your page. If you are a photographer that does weddings, engagements, families and grads you might want a separate batch of hashtags for each. Of course some will overlap! 

Drop me a comment with what you learned from this so I know I'm creating value for you guys!