Welcome to “Influencer Tips Tuesday,” an ongoing lesson that releases every Tuesdays for new and upcoming influencers to become a mindful and successful creator from day one.
Today, we will focus on how to grow your Instagram with hashtags, the best practices, and tools you can use to build your like-minded community.
Read on to learn more about Lesson Seven: Growing with Hashtags | #InfluencerTipsTuesday
I first want to say that Instagram hashtags are always different for every person. When you search #cupcakes, the photos you first see will be different from those of someone else who searched it at the same time. It has to do with what content you are most interested in, what accounts you engage with, and what Instagram’s algorithm thinks is best for you to see. So when you add a hashtag to a photo, keep in mind, Instagram will not show it to people who they think won’t want to see it. Crazy right? I agree!
Here are some screenshots of three different hashtags searched at the same time on two different accounts.
Seven Keys to Grow Instagram with Hashtags
How to use Instagram hashtags to grow your reach?
Best practices for growing your reach on Instagram are about diversifying your selections from rare, small, medium, and large hashtags. By small, medium, and large, I mean the number of total posts a specific hashtag has gotten.
I categorize them into five categories:
Popular: More than 1M
Large: 250K – 1M
Medium: 100K – 250K
Rare: Lower than 50K
Hashtags like #summer have millions of posts, 476 million at last count, and are what you would call a POPULAR hashtag. A hashtag like #summertimefun has about 800,000 and is a LARGE hashtag. A MEDIUM hashtag would be #summerlovers that have less than 250,000 total posts. A hashtag like #summertimemadness has a little bit over 50,000 and is a SMALL hashtag. A RARE hashtag would be #summerfridaysjetlagmask that has less than 3,000 total posts.
Number of Hashtags
The most number of hashtags you can have in a post is 30 hashtags.
When picking out your hashtags, your goal is to mix them up;
Popular (More than 1M): Use 0 to 1 hashtag
Large (250K – 1M): Use 3 to 5 hashtags
Medium (100K – 250K): Use 5 to 10 hashtags
Small (50K-100K): Use 8 to 12 hashtags
Rare (Lower than 50K): Use 1 to 3 hashtags
The reason for this is the likelihood of people seeing your posts. If you select all POPULAR or LARGE hashtags, your post will not be viewed by millions of people. This is because new posts are continually being uploaded, and your post will drop down where not many people will look for it. On the other hand, if you use only SMALL hashtags, your photo will stay up on that hashtag for longer because fewer people are using it. By spreading your hashtags to RARE, SMALL, MEDIUM, and LARGE, you are giving yourself a better chance of being discovered by more people and growing your reach.
Where to put Hashtags
There are many myths and rules people are coming up with to try to trick the Instagram algorithm, and it has to do with where you place your hashtags.
After my trials and errors, I have found that the place where you put your hashtags has nothing to do with your reaches and impressions. It’s no right or wrong about where you choose to include them. So feel free to do whichever way you wish.
Here are three places you can have your hashtags.
- In your caption
- In your comments
- In both caption and comment sections
Make sure your hashtags are relevant to the picture you are posting.
Organize your Hashtags
Depending on your niche and the type of content you usually are posting, you should have a list of your hashtags categorized.
You can download the worksheet from the Influencer Library and start building out your hashtags library.
I recommend updating them at least once a month. As some hashtags can become very popular quickly, it’s essential to update them so that you are always having a mix of different size hashtags in your posts.
Helpful Hashtag Apps
Here is a list of apps out there you can get to generate a list of SMALL, MEDIUM, and LARGE hashtags related to keywords you enter.
Things to do Before posting
Before your about to post on Instagram, you might want to consider engaging 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after. When you engage around the time of your post, you are showing Instagram that you are active and increase your chances of them pushing your content to more people. This sort of tactic might not work for everyone but is worth trying. A best practice is to be authentic in your activity level and to engage as much as you want.
Instagram Engagement Groups
There are a lot of engagement groups on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms. They were created to share Instagram posts, and have others engage with each other to drive more engagement and trick the Instagram algorithm.
The primary purpose of these groups is to help support each other by commenting on others’ posts who contribute to the group. I used to participate in those groups, too, as I saw it helped my account by getting a boost of engagement and reaches. Now I do not join anymore. It was enticing as you knew whatever content you posted, you would get engagement results even though it wasn’t all AUTHENTIC engagement.
Although these groups do give your post more reach, it is by no means organic. You have to engage with others’ content, even if you have no interest in the posted content. When you stop contributing, that ENGAGED COMMUNITY suddenly stops engaging. That’s why it’s essential to build AUTHENTIC engagement through quality content and to share through a proper hashtag strategy.
Some Instagram coaches will recommend you to participate in these SUPPORT GROUPS as they see it might benefit you now but are not looking at your future.
What I would like to tell you is to STOP contributing to those engagement groups if you are not already a part of them. Think for a moment, are you being genuine and having a significant impact on REAL followers by requiring other people to comment on your post even if they aren’t interested in your content? Just so that you can trick others into thinking you have a more ENGAGED COMMUNITY? It’s your choice to make!
Share with me:
Do you find hashtags helpful in growing your Instagram?
I hope you found some valuable ideas that you can increase your reach through Instagram hashtags. Be sure to stay tuned for next week’s blog post on Lesson Eight: Getting Noticed by Brands.
If you have any questions, leave your comments, or DM me on Instagram @CuratedByMollie.
If you missed last week’s lesson, check out Lesson Six: Instagram Aesthetic.
Thank you for stopping by my blog today.
See you next Tuesday for more tips!