Hashtags! We’ve all been told to use hashtags on our posts because they will maximize our exposure in front of the right audience and grow our presence on Instagram. What no one seems to want to share is how to effectively use them to gain, not just followers, the right audience for your product.
Worry no more! Today I’m going to share with you the strategies and guidelines I use for more targeted traffic on my Instagram.
Hashtags are peculiar little things that we all must put up with if we want to grow as a business, content creator, entrepreneur, influencer, or you name it in, on Instagram. They can grow your account when chosen precisely or lead you to be banned by Instagram when used the wrong way.
When hashtag research is conducted right, they can increase the reach of your post drastically, your overall engagement and impressions. When misused, they can lead spam bots to your feed (yea those pesky comments about how great your pics are and you should follow them or those asking if you need a sugar daddy…. Ummm either way I’m good) or take some of the valuable space in your caption while giving nothing back.
So let me walk you through how to find and use hashtags for your Instagram posts with a little research and some math.
Use Relevant Hashtags
So many new accounts on Instagram use hashtags that simply will not bring the traffic they are seeking. #sunnyday #loved #happy etc may be relevant to your image but they are 1. way too large for any exposure whatsoever, and 2. are not relevant to your ACCOUNT.
When you search for hashtags you need to ensure that they are relevant to the content and focus of your account, but also to the specific post. If you’re sharing crochet patterns or baked muffins, #happy is not going to send someone to your profile who would like to either purchase your baked goods or patterns. Simply because you’re smiling in the picture, does not mean you should use #happy or #smiling.
Think about the type of person you would want to see and engage with that post before you choose a hashtag. You want someone who is staying for the long haul so they must be interested in what you’re offering. Use hashtags that focus on your account, business, and your ideal audience. (Yes we all want happy and smiling people on our page but smiles don’t buy patterns or cakes.)
Research your Hashtags
I used to do my “hashtag research” in the 5 minutes before I had to post something and it looked a lot like a hot mess. Take the time to conduct hashtag research before you even have to post, that way you won’t end up with irrelevant hashtags, low impression and reach, and no growth.
I personally have 7 sets of hashtags that I use on a regular, plus a few for those Introduction posts and other occasions. Instagram does not like when you use the same hashtags, every single day, on every single post. This technique will 1. exhaust your reach with those hashtags and eliminate your potential impression under the ones you could be using, 2. have Instagram see you as a bot (spam) and shadowban you (whether Insta want to admit it or not, we know shadowban is real) or even block|delete your account all together. The hashtags you use on your Friday posts should be different than those you use on your Saturday ones.
Create Multiple Sets of Hashtags
Set aside a day or two, if this is your first hashtag research and conduct some quality research on relevant hashtags for your posts. Use Instagram recommended feature to Find between 70-150 hashtags that are relevant to your niche in general and all the sub-niches your account belongs to. For example; my account niches are crochet and small business. My sub-niches are crochet patterns, modern crochet patterns for women, business tips for creative business owners.
With that knowledge I find my hashtags and divide them into sets depending on topic|niche. Each set will have some of my main niche and some of my sub-niche hashtags included. From here it’s just grab and go.
You may need to repeat this process every few months or so, but at least you have a few sets of 10-15 great hashtags read to post and rotate.
Engagement Velocity of the Hashtags!
Yes, size matters but what matters even more is the engagement velocity in those hashtags.
For most of us, super popular hashtags are to be completely avoided!!! Yea like the plague or COVID-19! (Too soon!?!) Hashtags such as #crochet with 29.4M posts or #crochetersofinstagram with 4.7M (as of today) are WAY to large for most accounts. Content gets added to those hashtags in a matter of milliseconds so your posts do not stand a chance of being seen by any accounts on Instagram unless they’re bots. Unless you’re getting between 1000 to 4000 likes and your engagement rate is substantial, move towards medium to small size hashtags.
What are considered medium to small size hashtags will depend on your current number of followers, but more importantly, the numbers of likes and comments you get on average.
To find the right hashtag to use you need to find your engagement velocity. *The what in the what!?!* You should first find yours and that of the hashtags you would like to use.
How to Find Engagement Average
We’ll be using #crochet for this example but you will need to look at the hashtags in your niche and even sub-niche. Like we said, #crochet currently has 29.4M posts. We need to look at the first 9 posts under that hashtag. *But why the top 9 Elisabeth????*
You should look at the top 9 posts because your goal is to land within the TOP page of the hashtag. Most users only scroll that first page of a hashtag completely ignoring the RECENT section. For your content to be seen you want to be on the first page of the relevant hashtags you took so long to find. If you use the top 9 posts, you know that you have *ALMOST* a guarantee of being on the TOP page hence getting more clicks, likes, followers and you get the gist.
Take the top 9 posts and look at the number of likes and comments on each. Add up all the likes and divide by nine. Do the same for the comments. Now that you have the average for likes and comments, do the same for your posts. If you already know how many likes and comments you get on a post, especially in that first hour, then great. If not, do it for your top 9 posts. Once you have that information compare it to the engagement average of the hashtags you want to use. If your engagement average is above or about the same then you know that you have a very good chance of getting on the first page and even top 9 posts.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, join me Saturday September 26, 2020 at 4PM EST for a LIVE on my instagram where I will show you step by step how I do my hashtag research and share some more tips with you. And it would be fun if someone could let me know in the comments how many times I’ve said hashtags on this post lol!
IN THIS POST!