Why You Need to Update Your Instagram Hashtag Strategy

Standing out from the competition can be tough when the competition is 800 million other monthly Instagram users.

While the platform's shadowban may have killed engagement for some individuals and businesses, hashtags are still an incredibly effective way to get more Instagram likes, comments, and followers, and therefore increase your overall engagement.

 
wake-me-up-when-im-famous.jpeg
 

From following hashtags to adding them to your Instagram Stories, hashtags are an important tool to help expand your reach in the IG community.

Instagram's latest algorithm has been controversial among users, as it favors posts with the highest amount of engagement. Meaning, if your post is being seen by potential followers on the Discover page and no action is taken by them (like, comment), you may not show up in their feed the next time you post something. That is why including relevant hashtags is incredibly important in your Instagram strategy. They are a great way for individuals and brands to increase their content visibility and engagement.

Follow your favorite Instagram hashtags

Instagram introduced a new feature last December- the ability for users to follow hashtags. Instead of users having to scroll through the hashtag feed to discover your tagged content, your posts could show up automatically in the feeds of potential new followers.

While this has been an extremely effective feature for many, there has also been a loss in engagement for some users. Instagram released the ability for users to select a "Don't Show for This Hashtag" option to mark content that is not interesting to them. It's therefore important to only include relevant hashtags with your Instagram content, or you may run the risk of a red flag on your account and potentially losing engagement.

Add hashtags to your Instagram Stories

Adding hashtags to your Instagram Stories is yet another way to be discovered by potential new followers. 

Most Instagram hashtags and geo-locations have their own Stories attached to them. Users can add hashtags to their Stories by either typing them out with the text tool, or by using the hashtag sticker. A little trick if you don't want to run the risk of appearing "spammy" on your Story: Instead of having all of your hashtags out for the world to see, you can hide your hashtags underneath one of the stickers. That way, your account is showing up for new users to discover, and you can still post your aesthetically pleasing Instagram Story.

Finding relevant Instagram hashtags for your account

One of the most difficult aspects of effective Instagram marketing is actually deciding which hashtags you should be using. I've provided a few ways to get started:

Discover what successful users are doing

Once you search for a hashtag, nine of the most popular posts containing that hashtag will appear. Click on one of those posts, and you will discover other relevant hashtags in the user's hashtag set.

For example, clicking on one of the top posts under #candyminimal brings up this post, which includes other relevant hashtags such as #abmlifeiscolorful and #myunicornlife:

 
Instagram-hashtags.png
 

Click through these related hashtags and decide whether or not they are a relevant fit for your content. If so, make sure to jot them down for the next time you post.

Quality over quantity

Discovering the hashtags with the highest number of posts isn't necessarily going to help increase your engagement, and it might in fact do just the opposite.

General hashtags such as #love or #likeforlike are being posted nearly every second, meaning that your post is going to quickly be pushed far down the hashtag feed, and most users won't even have the chance to discover it. If you're a content creator that loves posting colorful photos, using more specific hashtags such as #ihavethisthingwithcolor, with 396,000 posts, will help you connect with a more targeted content creator community and therefore increase your engagement.

Organize your Instagram hashtags

Posting the same set of hashtags to your posts can decrease your engagement, so it's important to switch up your hashtags from time to time and make sure that each one is relevant to your content.

Once you find relevant hashtags, it will save you time to organize and save them for later use. You can add them to a Google Doc or spreadsheet, note document, or whatever is convenient for you. Later provides its users with a "Saved Caption" section where you can save all of your hashtags and organize them by category.

While using popular hashtags may have worked for users in the past, these hashtags can sometimes decrease your overall engagement and make content appear spammy. The key to effective hashtags is to use them only when they add value to your content.

Take time to update that Instagram Hashtag Strategy

Using relevant hashtags helps put your content in front of individuals searching for words and phrases that are associated with your account. Crafting a solid Instagram hashtag strategy is an effective way to increase your engagement, and ensure that your content is being discovered by the right audiences.

Let me know in the comments if you have a specific Instagram Hashtag strategy that has been effective for your brand or business.


Looking to up your Instagram game?

Sign up to my newsletter to snag 7 *free* Instagram Story Highlight Icons. Includes "Photography", "Blog", "Travel", "Shop" and more.