On our recent YouTube video where we spoke on a particular growth strategy that you can use to gain followers organically, we asked for 30 “thumbs up” if our viewers wanted to hear our ultimate Instagram hashtag strategy for 2020. With over 220 likes to date, the people have truly spoken – and we’ve delivered.
Before we go any further, if you’d prefer to watch us break it down, you can watch the video below:
As promised, we’re going to break down the exact Instagram hashtag strategy you need to use to start having your posts rank higher on Instagram. By applying this strategy, you’ll be able to increase your engagement per post, attract new profile visitors, and convert new followers.
Hashtags are an essential part to any genuinely effective Instagram strategy, and they can generate amazing results when it comes to increasing your engagement and the overall growth of your account. We have seen some phenomenal results with our clients, and we’re excited to share it with you all.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE HASHTAG?
Unless you’ve been offline this past decade, hashtags have become an essential element in almost every major Social Media platform. Hashtags are ultimately a way to group content centred around specific topics, and each platform has their own way of showcasing that. Twitter and Instagram, for example, use them in a similar way, as users can tap on a given hashtag and be brought to a screen with all the tweets or posts using said hashtag, typically in either chronological order or in order of popularly of the post.
When you’re not using hashtags and optimizing your posts, you lock yourself in your little bubble – only your existing followers see your posts and this clearly severely limits discovery. Essentially, hashtags are a great way for users to find others who are posting about things they’re interested in.
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, and we’ve seen some myths across the internet spouting nonsense that it hurts your post if you take advantage of that and leverage all 30 hashtags. This couldn’t be further from the truth – Instagram bestowed them upon us, so use them all!
HOW TO FIND THE BEST HASHTAGS FOR YOUR BRAND
First up, you need to identify your customer and what they’re interested in. By determining their buyer persona, you’ll be able to get inside their head and figure out which particular hashtag corners of Social Media they’ll be hanging out in. Some things to consider:
- What sort of subjects are your customers interested in?
- What kinds of media do they consume?
- Which similar brands do they also use?
- Geographically or virtually, where can they be found?
- What kind of problems or issues does your product or service solve for them?
- What are all of the ways that your product or service can be categorized or segmented?
- What brand or topic-specific hashtags are they using?
- What kinds of hashtags are influencers or content creators using when they post about similar products or services?
These are a handy starting point when you’re thinking of hashtags to use for your posts. By answering these questions about your customers, you should be able to generate the 30 hashtags that will attract the right potential followers and customers to your accounts. Now these are just to get you going for hashtags specifically – if you’re looking for content ideas, we got you – watch our video for 14 Easy Social Media Content Ideas.
You can use this information to build a better idea of your ideal customer, and while your account would generally be posting about your business, every post is unlikely to be about the exact same thing. So researching a little deeper into what your potential followers would be searching for to discover your posts will go a long way.
Over and above your prospective customer, look at the hashtags that your competitors are using to see if anything they do is applicable for your brand. Before you select a hashtag, tap it and see what people are posting to make sure it’s a good fit for what you’re trying to do and who you’re trying to reach. If it’s a fit, add it to your list.
NOW FOR THE FUN PART
This is essential to the Instagram hashtag strategy! Once you’ve identified the buyer persona / ideal customer and have researched what is working for your competitors, you want to head over to Instagram, take a relevant hashtag from your discoveries and either enter it in the search bar or just tap it.
When you search for a specific term and navigate to “Tags”, it’ll autofill with some suggestions. For example, if you search for #travel, you’ll find #travelphotography, #travelblogger, #travelgram, etc.
You’ll notice that the hashtags have a number next to them indicating the number of uses. This is the key right here: for best performance, you need to have a mix of small, medium and high use hashtags. We’d suggest to use 5 high volume hashtags, 15 medium volume hashtags, and 10 niche or small volume hashtags. And it bears repeating: always max out your 30 hashtags!
Small / Low Volume (Niche): 1,000 to 99,999 uses
These hashtags provide a better opportunity for ranking because of less competition and the fact that they’re hyper targeted, so if you rank there, you can land in the Top Posts section and hang out there for a while.
Medium Volume: 100,000 to 999,999 uses
These hashtags provide an opportunity to reach a larger audience. Once a large number of engagement starts coming in from the niche hashtags, your post will rank higher which will therefore increase your opportunities to be exposed to an even larger audience in this middle category. The side effect here is that your post could land on the Explore page, which is a great boost.
High Volume: 1 Million uses plus
If your post really takes off, this is where having the really popular tags can bring you to the next level of semi-virality.
Now that you’ve created your first batch of hashtags, which we call a “hashtag bank” – because those bad boys are money – you’ll need to create some more. Most accounts will be posting various types of content that will require unique hashtags in order to attract the right audience – if you’re a clothing account, potential customers who are searching for men’s shoes may not also be looking for women’s shirts.
Determine all of the different types of content you’ll be producing and follow the steps above to create a unique hashtag bank for each. Once you’ve done that, you can get started using them. Monitor the performance of each of the hashtag banks – even with all the research you’ve put in, sometimes they just don’t convert and you’ll need to switch them up. We suggest testing each bank for around a month to give you enough data to gauge the performance, and even then it’s quite subjective as perhaps the content itself is the issue, but you’ll at least have an idea of how things are going. Keep the older banks on hand and perhaps rotate between a few key banks at the end of each month. Always be testing, always be streamlining, always be researching. Keep an eye on your competitors and influencers / content creators as well, as they’re likely going to be your best bet for new hashtags to try.
That’s how to grow on Instagram using hashtags! If you apply this ultimate Instagram hashtag strategy to your already optimized profile you’ll surely see an increase in your profile performance including attracting new followers and customers for your business.
Don’t have time to handle all of this while also running your business? Get in touch with one of our Social Media Managers so that we can help put together a comprehensive social strategy that’s right for you.