Wondering which hashtags your business should be using on Instagram?
Want to know how many hashtags to use for the best results?
In this article, you’ll discover how to use hashtags for maximum effect on your Instagram posts.
Understand the Structure of an Effective Instagram Hashtag Recipe
There are countless hashtags you can use to define your brand and connect with your target audience on Instagram. Finding the right hashtags takes some time and research. But with a well-crafted strategy, you can drive real conversions, from adding followers to closing sales through Instagram.
Instagram lets you include up to 30 hashtags per post. A search of any Instagram hashtag will show you how many posts are associated with that hashtag.
To build an effective hashtag strategy, you’ll need to combine hashtags from four categories. The proper combination of these hashtag types will maximize your post performance and help you reach your target audience. With the following formula, you can easily identify 15-20 hashtags for each of your posts:
- Select 5-7 extremely popular hashtags. Extremely popular hashtags are those that have anywhere from about 100,000 to 500,000 posts associated with them. I don’t recommend using hashtags with more than 500,000 or so results because those super-popular hashtags invite bot activity and content is buried in those archives within seconds of being posted.
- Identify 5-7 moderately popular hashtags. Moderately popular hashtags likely have 10,000 to 100,000 posts associated with them.
- Choose 3-5 niche-specific hashtags. These hashtags likely have fewer than 10,000 posts associated with them and are hyper-targeted to your core business and the things your target audience is searching for.
- Include 1-3 branded hashtags. These are the hashtags you use exclusively for your brand. They may be brand-specific and campaign-related.
This example from @tanya.plummer.fit shows how she incorporated a variety of hashtags using the formula mentioned above.
The reason for this specific recipe of hashtags is related to how hashtags are sorted by the algorithm in each hashtag hub. Instagram reviews each piece of content for performance, looking at the engagement it generates from both your followers and non-followers.
When you use popular hashtags, your content will appear in searches for seconds into minutes. This will generate an immediate burst of activity on your post. When you include moderately popular hashtags, it will keep your content active in those search results for hours, telling Instagram that your content has a long lifespan.
Finally, the niche-specific hashtags are where you get to stand out. Because your followers are interacting with your post and the other hashtags are keeping your content spiking with activity, there’s a good chance your post will appear as a top post in the searches for the niche-specific hashtags you chose.
In doing this, your content is now at the top of the hashtag search page for a very specific topic. The people looking at this search result are seeking this very specific thing and will see your content first, leading them directly to your post and your profile. For instance, this post from @outofmybloominmind ranked as a top post for the hashtag #paperflowers, increasing the likelihood of the content being found by the paper florist’s target customers.
Hashtag Each Post for Maximum Visibility
Now that you understand the recipe for a good hashtag strategy, you need to determine the best hashtags for your brand. All of the hashtags you use on your Instagram posts should directly relate to the content itself, as well as your industry or brand:
- Content hashtags should directly relate to the items in the post itself.
- Industry hashtags may not be directly related to what’s in the post but are specific to the industry and clients you serve.
- Niche hashtags are specific to the target audience you’re trying to reach.
- Branded hashtags are hashtags that you and your customers use to showcase and tag your content on Instagram.
In the above example from @britjaye, she incorporates a variety of hashtags related to both the content of the image, and the industry or target audience she’s aiming to reach:
- Content hashtags include #bridetobe, #weddingceremony, #weddingflowers, and #weddingbouquet.
- Industry hashtags include #weddingideas, #weddingphotography, #junebugweddings, #weddingphotographer, and #instawedding.
- Niche hashtags include #ohioweddingphotographer, #ohioweddingphotography, #daytonweddingphotographer, #cincinnatiweddingphotographer, and #columbusweddingphotographer.
- Branded hashtags include #britjaye.
For your brand, you want to create a list of hashtags to satisfy these various categories.
Content hashtags typically vary depending on the items or locations included in the post itself. Your industry hashtags, niche hashtags, and branded hashtags should be relatively consistent for all of your content. Industry hashtags will be more broadly focused on your industry as a whole, whereas your niche hashtags dig deep into the very targeted solution you offer.
If you’re struggling to find more hashtags that work well on Instagram or that fall into the different size criteria related to your brand, look at the suggested and related hashtags in the Instagram search results. When you search for any specific hashtag, a sub-list recommends other related hashtags that you can research further.
You can also look for hashtag inspirations from others in your industry. See which hashtags other people or brands use on their content and determine if any of those are good for your brand.