Thanks to platform settings, you can use as many as thirty hashtags per post … and the more the merrier, right? To test that, ask someone nearby to say their phone number out loud. Preferably, pick someone you’re familiar, but whose phone number you don’t know off-head. (It’s okay if their number is in your phonebook.) Now try saying the number back to them. Unless you have secret math super-powers, you’ll probably remember the first three digits and the last two digits, with nothing between.
This same principle applies to hashtags. A little Instagram hashtag research will show you that followers will notice the first and last ones, and zone out everything between. Logically speaking, multiple hashtags will let you access additional feeds, but by the time you get to twenty, your post is probably not relevant to your selected tag. Besides, it starts to look like low-hanging spam. Instead, pick two or three carefully selected categorizations. But how can you tell what works and what doesn’t? Here are five top tips to help you along.
- Get some outside help
There are sites specifically designed to ease your exploration. One example is hashtagify.me. You can still go analogue though. Simply type your keywords on the Instagram search bar. It will pull up similar posts … and the hashtags they’re attached to. That way you can piggy-back on existing hashtags that are already popular and proven. Use two or three of them, then add a modified one with your brand name in it, prompting your fans to adopt it. (It’s a great way to own the conversation.) Instagram will often display related hashtags when you tap an existing one, so check those out as well.
- Avoid the popular kids
This sounds contradictory, but it’s not. Yes, you want to jump onto a common trend in your Instagram hashtag research, but so does everyone else. So if the tags you select are too popular, your posts will get lost in the crowd. You can pick one popular one, but focus a bit further down the list. Number 11 is safer than Number 1. Keep in mind spammers often tag their posts with irrelevant but popular hashtags, just to force their way onto that feed, so opt for something more directly connected to your message or brand. Pick proximity over popularity.
- Mix them up
While this isn’t strictly a research tip, it helps to mingle the order of your tags. Some users simply copy-paste the same list of tags on every post, but the algorithm might interpret that as spam. Don’t over-use tags, and even if you have a standard set, shuffle their sequencing. That simple move could get the algorithm off your back. Also, remember users can mute tags, so pick yours carefully to avoid the block-list. Or pick a different set of five from your list, so that each post has varied combinations.
- Account, category, target market
Utilise your Instagram hashtag research to find a tag in each of these categories. One should reference your account, possibly as a pun. One should list your business segment, while the third should be specific to your customers. For example, a tourism account could have hashtags like #CityNameTour #Travel #DomesticTourism #BucketList #BackpackersHeaven #HoneyMoonersDelight etc.
- Get down to business
Make the most of your Instagram hashtag research by switching to business account. It gives you access to additional features like hashtag analytics and performance metrics. You can use these results to refine your hashtags in future, getting even better results.