The 2017 Guide to Using Hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags remain central to your presence on Instagram. If you don’t use them effectively, there’s a good chance your posts will remain limited to your followers. If you have to boost your profile, it is imperative that hashtags are used effectively.

Instagram gives users the flexibility and liberty to experiment with hashtags. However, the onus is on users to maintain that fine balance between too-much and too-little. If you flood your post with too many hashtags, you will inadvertently come across as spammy; too little, and you miss the opportunity of being discovered by more people. So, you may ask the question – how many hashtags per posts are OK? Well, according to a recent study by Social Fresh Conference and Piqora, 7 hastags per post are the key to boosting engagement on Instagram. As we discussed before, the study found that brands were using too many or too few hashtags.

Creating the Perfect Hashtag – The Do’s and Don’ts

 Well, truth be told, the ‘perfect hashtag’ will vary from person to person, and brand to brand. What may work for one may not be so suitable for the other.

  • Do – Start off with your USP

While it’s tempting to target a broader audience, it is also important to understand that there is something inherently unique and special about you or your brand, and this is something that you need to leverage.

You can be a travel blogger, but if you are more concerned about the impact of travel on environment, the #tourism can be replaced with #ecotourism. If you are a food blogger, but are more focused on the natural side of it, #organicfood can give you a better chance of being found rather than the broad #food. Again, there are no hard and fast rules here, but the idea is to break it down to your niche, so that you can get started.

A key challenge most new Instagram users face is the intense competition. Consider the ever-changing algorithms and fierce completion for top hashtags, it can be a tedious task to gain even 100 followers. If you have a brand to promote or a forthcoming campaign to run, waiting for followers to add up organically may not be a wise idea.

  • Don’t – Using Hashtags that are Too Long

Well, to be honest, people aren’t really fond of typing that many words when making a social media search. Using very long hashtags can mean only you see your post!

Even when using niche hashtags, stick to a combination of two words – anything more than that may not be picked up by users.

Also, in a bid to make your hashtags smaller, don’t engage into jargon or abbreviations that only understand. Search around on Instagram and see what hashtags are doing well (of course, relevant to your product or hobby) and use your own creativity to get the word out.

  • Do – Create a List of Hashtags to be Used Consistently

The important thing any pro Instagram marketer can tell you is their posts are rarely based on whims. They have a set strategy charted out for the next fortnight or month. And, this means, after thorough research, they have a set of hashtags ready which they periodically review. So, instead of using hashtags on an impulse, spend some time creating a list of hashtags (preferably 60-70) that will resonate with your target audience.

  • Don’t – Use Hashtags that are Way Too Popular

So, you check that #love has over a million posts. And, while your #organicfood has got some relevancy to it, don’t just join the bandwagon. Why, you may ask? Because, hashtags that are way too popular add new posts in nanoseconds. So, your beautifully crafted post will disappear into the wilderness within seconds of being posted.

Abhishek Budholiya

Abhishek Budholiya is a tech blogger, digital marketing pro, and has contributed to numerous tech magazines. Currently, as a technology and digital branding consultant, he offers his analysis on the tech market research landscape. His forte is analysing the commercial viability of a new breakthrough, a trait you can see in his writing. When he is not ruminating about the tech world, he can be found playing table tennis or hanging out with his friends.