The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags
In 2007, Twitter user Chris Messina suggested the use of the # sign, or hashtag, as a way to separate topics being discussed in a tweet. A couple years later Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon went viral with a skit poking fun at the hashtag craze, and now here it is over 13 years from their inception and I am sharing the ultimate guide to Instagram hashtags and showing how they are essential to growing your #momboss business!
With the ever-evolving Instagram algorithm, hashtags have stood the test of time and continue to be a great way to draw attention to your product or brand. Follow along as I let you in on the secret to hashtag success.
How to use Hashtags
A hashtag is when you place the pound sign (#) before a word on an Instagram post. You’ll see these being used in captions, stories, reels- they are everywhere! The hashtag connects your account to every other account using the same word, as well as helps you categorize the content you are creating. If I ran a food blog and posted photos of my recipes to Instagram, I would use hashtags to categorize the different kinds of food I showcased- dessert, breakfast, dinner, Vegan, Keto… you get the picture!
When users click on hashtags, they can scroll through Instagram and find similar posts using that word. This is a great way to introduce yourself to followers who otherwise wouldn’t have found your content.
Hashtags: The Secret Weapon
So you know what the hashtags are about, but how do you find the right words? This is the fun part! As discussed, hashtags can be used to organize the content you post. Make sure that the words you choose will speak to your audience. Check out accounts who serve a similar audience and use hashtags that will help you connect with their followers, too.
You have invested in creating the perfect Instagram bio – get inspired by the keywords from your bio to create related hashtags. I want every aspect of your strategy to help potential followers know what you’re all about. (Not sure your Instagram bio is up to snuff? I’ve got your back – check out my blog post where I discuss 2 things to to make your Brand stand out.)
What kind of products do you sell? What services are you offering? How would you describe your business to a friend? By considering these questions, you have already begun the process of identifying what types of hashtags you could use to attract new followers on Instagram.
The goal of a hashtag is to help the world discover you! Posting about your #OOTD? Take a look at what words or phrases your fellow fashionistas are using for their hashtags. Have you created a challenge for your Instagram community? Craft a hashtag specific to your challenge that will capture new interest.
Now that you’ve got an awesome word bank to use, be sure to research and see how often those words are being used on Instagram. The goal here is to assemble the perfect blend of popular and unique hashtags. Be sure to find words that will associate you with competitors and highlight your individual brand.
Our Killer Hashtag Strategy Guide
I’ve talked through the how-to’s, now it’s time to share my secret sauce. Finding the right hashtags is important, but so is making sure that the way in which you incorporate them into your Instagram actually serves you!
STEP 1: MAKE A LIST OF TOPICS YOU POST ABOUT ON INSTAGRAM
To get started, think about the topics you usually discuss on Instagram. Review your Instagram, blog, Pinterest, or other social media posts and get an idea of the kinds of subjects you cover. Start with a list of between 3 – 5 words.
STEP 2: BRAINSTORM 3 – 5 WORDS FOR EACH TOPIC
Time for some creativity! Looking at each topic, consider words that relate to the topics you’ve listed above. What are some catchy words that will connect your audience to the messages and themes your blog presents?
STEP 3: RESEARCH HASHTAGS
This is a critical step- understand how the words you’ve chosen are being used in the Instagram community. Pull up Instagram and go to the search bar on the Discovery page. From here, type in the words you’ve just brainstormed, and select Tags. You’ll see a list of words and phrases pop up with a number below each one which tells you how many times that hashtag has been used. This number is important in my next step!
STEP 4: CREATE THE PERFECT HASHTAG BLEND
Now that you can see how many times the words are being used, you will want to compile roughly 14 – 18 hashtags based on the number of views those words have. The sweet spot will be to use 2 – 3 hashtags with more than 500k, 10 – 12 hashtags with less than 500k, and 2 – 3 hashtags that are personal to your brand. Using hashtags with a variety of views will help your post be included with trending topics, but also showcase your niche.
STEP 5: WHERE TO PLACE YOUR HASHTAGS
You have a bomb list of hashtags, now it’s time to put them somewhere! To maintain a clean aesthetic, my personal preference is to post hashtags in the very first comment after you published on Instagram. Don’t forget to include the # when posting your words!
That was a lot of information! Hashtags are a great way to boost your Instagram account views and shouldn’t be overlooked. You can use Notes or another memo app to store a list of your favorite ones to use. It’s good to use consistent hashtags, but also switch it up to stay on trend. It’s all about finding the right balance!
To sum up, becoming a hashtag expert is easy with these 5 hacks-
- List 3 -5 topics you post about on Instagram
- Brainstorm 3 – 5 words for each of the topics
- Research the number of views for each word
- Choose your hashtags –
- 2 – 3 hashtags with more than 500k
- 10 – 12 hashtags with less than 500k
- 2 – 3 unique to YOU!
- Post your hashtags in the very first comment immediately after your post is published
There you have it! Instagram hashtags may seem old school, but they are an effective tool to use when growing your business. By applying this ultimate guide to Instagram hashtags you are one step further on your journey to being a #bossmom!
Want to take the next step in your business? Follow along on Instagram @iammichellegifford to learn how to create content that converts! Also check out my blog post on 3 trends to grow your blog in 2021.