Your Instagram strategy right now is to either grow more followers, or to remain stagnant. I’m sure we can agree that most users are going to want more and more followers right? Well the biggest culprit to growth comes down to your use of hashtags!
What is a #? If you asked this question a decade ago, everyone would answer that is the symbol for a “number”. Ask that question in 2020 and mostly everyone will refer to it as a hashtag. So what is a hashtag? By definition, a hashtag is a combination of letters, numbers, and/or an emoji that is preceded by the # symbol. To put it simply, a hashtag is a word with the # symbol that can be used to categorize content or make that content discoverable. For example, the hashtag #dogs on Instagram has 111 million posts that use that hashtag. You can click the hashtag “#dogs” and you can scroll through 111 million posts if you want to. But how do you stand out from so many posts and so many accounts? Here is a breakdown of the Instagram Hashtag and how you can use hashtags to increase your account growth organically.
The main purpose of hashtags are to expand your Instagram audience. Posting a picture of your dog and using the hashtag #dogs will make your post visible on the #dogs page (but not for too long since there are over one hundred million posts for that hashtag). If someone follows the #dogs, then your post will show up on their feed as well, even if they don’t follow you!
When thinking about which hashtags to use, it’s important to think of which category your business or post falls under. The most common hashtag categories are: Product/Service, Niche, Industry Instagram Community, Special Event/Seasonal, Location, Daily, Relevant Phrase, Acronym, and Emoji. Each hashtag brings something to your posts depending on which hashtags you decide to use. Since you only get 30 hashtags per post on Instagram, it’s important to delve into your brand or post to really categorize which hashtags will bring the most interaction and engagement.
So how do you choose which hashtags are best for your content? Well it can be difficult since Instagram only allows you to use 30 hashtags per post. But most people assume using the largest hashtags are best – but you actually want to use the ones that have fewer posts! For an example, if your post is of your new puppy and you use the hashtag #puppy then your post is going to become lost amongst the millions of posts with the #puppy. Instead, search for hashtags that are less common such as #puppiesdaily which has roughly 190 thousand posts. You can even search further and use the hashtag #puppiesofnyc if you live in NYC because that hashtag has less than forty-thousand posts and your content will be seen more often and quicker.
The Instagram algorithm and hashtag use can be confusing and difficult to work with, especially since it is always changing. But staying up to date on the newest trends and doing research behind your posts about unique hashtags to use are essential for your profile or business to grow on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you suddenly change your Instagram strategy and still don’t see huge growth either. It takes time to grow organically and understand each platform.