Little Known Ways to Level Up Your Hashtag Strategy

There are a lot of questions about hashtags going around on social media. And there’s a lot of different advice about how to use hashtags the most effectively. While I’m not just another voice sharing my unsolicited opinion on hashtag strategy, I am a brand and marketing strategist who can tell you what’s worked for me. Here are some little known ways to level up your hashtag strategy. 



I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I grew my Instagram following from 18k to over 100k in the past 8 months. You can check out my post HERE to learn what practical steps I took to make this happen. One of the strategies I used that help me grow was hashtags. I’ve always used them, but I made a few tweaks to how I use them in my content and it’s made a huge difference.


how to level up your hashtag strategy.


What are hashtags, anyway?

Let’s start with the basics. Back when Instagram was first created, hashtags were simply there to classify your content, so people could more easily search and find specific types of content. This is not how hashtags work in today’s media world. Now, they are used as keywords.

Simply put, keywords are words people type in the search bar in order to find their desired content. Instagram uses your hashtags as a way to identify what your content is about. When you put accurate hashtags it makes it easier for Instagram to put your content in front of the right people. 


How many hashtags should you use & where should you use them?

Instagram came out with its hashtag recommendations about a year ago. It said to use 5-8 hashtags per post and to include them in your captions. Instagram uses your captions to help identify what your content is about, so putting your hashtags there is the best place to go with. 

If you put your hashtags anywhere else e.g. your comments, Instagram will not be able to identify your post. It does not use your comments to organize your content, so make sure those hashtags are in the caption at the bottom of your post!


little known ways to level up your hashtag strategy.


Little Known Ways to Level Up Your Hashtag Strategy

To help you know what type of hashtags to use, think about your content pillars. For me, I focus on Instagram marketing and I have 4 content pillars that fall under that. They are Instagram trends, news, hacks, and strategy. If you are not sure what your content pillars are, think about what you mainly post on Instagram. What categories would you place your content under? You can check out my post HERE if you want some guidance on nailing down those content pillars.

If you already have your content pillars planned out, you are now going to decide on 10-20 hashtags that go with each of these pillars. In your list of hashtags you want to make sure you are covering three areas:

  1. Niche specific
  2. Content specific
  3. Community specific

Including hashtags that cover these three areas will help you cover all your bases. You are including keywords for your niche, the content that each specific post is about, and identifying who your audience is. You will see the most satisfying results when you include hashtags covering all three of these areas versus covering just one or two.


Bonus Tip That Will Level Up Your Hashtag Strategy

Use Flick! Flick is a software that will help you research trending hashtags, record your hashtag analytics, organize your hashtags, and basically help you stay on top of the hashtag game. You can check out my video at the top of this post if you want to see a quick run-through of how Flick works. 

It really is a game-changer because it’ll elevate your hashtag strategy without having to dedicate a ton of time to it. And I’m all about finding tools for you to grow your business for you, so you can get some time back for yourself and your family. 


3 Things to Consider When Creating Hashtags

  1. You do not need to have different variations of the same keyword. For example, you don’t need to have #plantlover and #plantlovers. One is fine–the algorithm is smart enough to know that these two variations mean the same thing. 
  2. Use hashtags that are not overused. When typing in your hashtag you can see how many times it has been used. I like to use hashtags if they fall somewhere between 100k and 900k uses. Any hashtags that have been used over a million times are a sign not to use that one.
  3. Your hashtags should not be random. They need to correlate with the content you create. Make sure every single hashtag you use connects with the specific content and the niche you are serving. If you use anything uncorrelated to those things, it will confuse the algorithm and make it harder for you to get put in front of the right people. 


get an insidee look at my 2024 hashtag strategy for instagram.


Little Known Ways to Level Up Your Hashtag Strategy

Did you realize any of these little known ways to level up your hashtag strategy? While there are a few things to implement for your hashtags, I don’t want you to stress too much about this. If you feel ready to include this in your Instagram strategy, go for it! If it feels like too much, put it on the back burner and come back to it when you’re ready. Either way, I am here to give you all the tips and cheer you on while you grow your biz online! Make sure to follow me on Instagram @iammichellegifford so we can keep in touch.

Little Known Ways to Level Up Your Hashtag Strategy

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