If your profile is public on Instagram, hashtags are the key to people finding you. Try to do a post with without hashtags and see what engagement you get. Unless you are Will Smith or Tony Robbins, you won’t get much. When I started using searching hashtags on Instagram, I got so lost trying to find posts I liked. Typically, I used the incorrect associated word and I did not understand how they were being used. Through my own trial and error, I have learned how to use hashtags more effectively and I will give you the tips here so you can too and stay sane.
When you open Instagram, tap on the magnifying glass icon and in the search section at the top, put in a word like “inspiration”. You will see there are several options to pick from to search with a hashtag or word: Top, People, Tags and Places.
Places will give you a list of places that have the word “inspiration” in it. Such as “Inspiration Lake”. The best thing about this feature is that you can tap on “Inspiration Lake” and see it on a map to find out how to get there. You can also see photos where people have geo tagged that same place in their own posts. In this section, The Top Posts (most liked) posts will always show first and then as you scroll down you will see the Most Recent posts. This will help you connect with people in your area or places you are interested in.
On that note, it is very important to put in the location of where you are posting, even if it is just the state or country. More people will find you this way. Just think how this could work for your business! (More to come on that topic in a future post)
Tags (#) is a great search tool to find the most commonly used and not so commonly used hashtags. As you can see putting in the word “Inspiration” will show you the highest used hashtag is #inspirationalquotes with six billion posts. When you use this hashtag, it will be seen by a lot of people but it may also get lost in that feed of photos. Since you can use 30 hashtags for each post, the tip is to find 30 hashtags which have 50,000 to 500,000 posts. In this example, I would use #inspirationalwords with #inspirationalquotes when I created my post. Mix it up a bit and get creative. It does take some time, but worth the effort when you find 20 hashtags you regularly use because they represent your brand. Keep the other 10 hashtags to change each time so they specifically relate to the photo. Save your favorite 20 hashtags in your notepad on your phone and you can copy and paste them each time you do a post. Rules to remember about posting hashtags:
- Numbers are allowed in hashtags. However, spaces and special characters, like $ or %, won’t work.
You can only tag your own posts. You can’t tag other people’s photos/videos.
If you include more than 30 tags on a single photo/video, your comment won’t post.
Should you create your own hashtag? Personally, I think it’s a great idea if you plan on posting the recommended 3 times a day. Instagram has created a new feature where these unique hashtags can be followed and they will pull into your feed. Following a hashtag will add a selection of top posts, chosen by Instagram, to your feed which will appear along with the accounts you follow. This means you’ll see more of the content and user accounts you’re interested in without the need for all the manual searching. Find a hashtag you like and click on “Follow”. You’ll be amazed at the results!
People, People, People. The People section will show a list of anyone who has used the word #Inspiration in their bio. It could be in their name or on the description of who they are. You can find other like minded people this way and like, comment or follow them. You can use this word in your own bio description to get seen in this search. Look at the profile and see what they post. If you like their content, follow them and like their photos by double tapping on the post or tapping on the heart. You can make a comment about why you like their post in the comment section of the post. One thing I have learned about Instagram is that Instagramers love emoji. Enter a few of them at the end of your comment. It’s all about connecting with people and making it fun. Plus, if someone does not speak your language, they will definitely understand the emoji.
When you tap on this icon, you will see the people who have the most follows with this hashtag. It’s one of the ways to find popular topics and people with a lot of followers.
One more tip for you: Don’t forget to use the plural of words for hashtags or and underscore. Sometimes the hashtags look like this #inspirational_quotes. People have gotten creative when the hashtag gets overused.
Now, get started hunting for your hashtags. Let me know when you find your first 20. What hashtag did you decided to follow? I would love to hear about how they are working for you.