Instagram Hashtag Do’s and Don’ts

I received a great question from one of my listeners:

Are hashtags still relevant in the feed posts on Instagram?

I love this question and my quick answer is YES! Hashtags are still relevant in your feed posts, but only if you’re utilizing them. It’s important to understand that it takes more than dropping hashtags into your feed post. You should actually ENGAGE in your hashtags! That’s where the gold lies. On a regular basis, you should go into your hashtag feeds, then choose a few posts that resonate with you. On these posts leave valuable, engaging comments. None of that emoji junk! This, my friends, is how to make hashtags work for you!
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Okay, let’s dive into the juicy content!
Today I have quick tips on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to using hashtags on Instagram.
Real quick – hashtags are a simple way to define your text to make your post searchable. Think of hashtags as search engines for Instagram.

Tip #1 – Mix your hashtags

Mix your hashtags up with searchable terms, location, geographic areas and industry terms. Here’s an example. A wellness coach might use searchable terms, such as nutrition, health or healthyhabits. Location tags can be a specific place, like a gym. Or if there is a bakery in the area that has the best gluten free muffins, then use their location tag (the name of the place if they have a branded hashtag). Geographic areas would be where you are (city, suburbs, a specific town). Industry terms deal with your niche/specialty…like #wellnesscoach or #wellnessblogger.
Using a mix of hashtags increases your chance of discovery. This is the main reason for using hashtags…you want to be found, ideally by your target market.

Tip #2 – Target Market

When you are creating your hashtag list, think of these questions…Who’s my target market? What hashtags do my ideal clients use? And where do my ideal clients hang out? This is when you’ll have to do a little research. Get in their heads. What would they search for on Instagram? What hashtags would they click to find help or information.
Here’s a mini-tip…check out what hashtags your competitors are using. This isn’t cheating; it’s market research! Try a few and see if your posts are reaching your ideal audience. And how do you know this…use your Instagram Analytics! If you have a business or creator account, you can click on any post to view your insights. In your post insights you can see how many impressions you made from hashtags. This is a powerful tool…so keep an eye out on your analytics from time to time.

Tip #3 – Use all hashtags

Use all 30 hashtags. For each post, Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags. Why? One word, well actually two words…MORE EYES! Again, it increases my chances of discovery!
Here’s a couple hashtag strategies. For hashtags to work for you, always have about 25-27 on your list, leaving 3-5 to add that describe your photo or text. It’s also a good idea to categorize them by size. Size does matter. Bigger isn’t always better! A popular hashtag, 1 million+ is saturated with posts. The chances of your post being discovered is slim. The post gets pushed down the hashtag feed quickly. I recommend having 1-2 branded tags, 5-7 ultra local (think geographic areas or industry specific under 50K), 5-7 between 50K-250K, 3-5 between 250-500K and a few at 1 million+.
Now, here’s what NOT to do with hashtags…don’t use the same 30 hashtags day after day after day after day! This is spammy behavior. Create a few hashtag categories, such as business-related, lifestyle related, and product related. Save your category lists in NOTES on your phone or another place where you can copy/paste into Instagram.
Here’s a question I get a lot.

Should I put my hashtags in the bottom of my post, or in the first comment box?

Personally, I don’t think it matters. If you don’t want to clutter your post, then copy/paste your hashtags immediately after you post in the comments. If you don’t care, like me, leave a couple spaces at the end of your text, then copy/paste your tags.
Remember, choosing hashtags is a constant test and there’s no perfect list!
Revisit your hashtag list every 3-4 months to check each one. Make sure the content within the hashtag feed still applies to you and it’s appropriate.

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