Three Reasons Why Quality Hashtags Matter on Instagram
You’re sitting in front of the computer. You already spent a while creating that graphic, then you spent even more time writing the perfect description. The last thing you want to have to do is spend a ton of time figuring out hashtags. So, you don’t. You just throw out that post and hope for the best. Or, maybe you do take the time to use some hashtags, but you just randomly throw up some hashtag about being a #entrepreneur or #girlboss. Ten should do it, right? And then…crickets. Sure, you get a few likes from the usual suspects — your loyal followers who happened to see the post in your feed, like it and maybe you get the odd comment, but certainly not what you were expecting or hoping for.
Why is that? It’s so frustrating and you just want some answers, or clarity on how to change things.
Maybe hashtags aren’t really so important anyway.
Oh, but, my friend, they really are. They can make or break a post, but you need to have the RIGHT strategy for them to work for you and your business.
I could give you many reasons why hashtags matter at all. But when it comes to Instagram, hashtags are part of a framework that will fail without all the pieces in place and they are a BIG part of that framework.
If you are used to using Pinterest for your business (which you should be, more on that in another blog post), you know that SEO is a big part of what makes it work and that the keywords that you use are what fuels that SEO so that you can be found. It is much the same on Instagram but with hashtags, and while it is not a search engine whatsoever and functions just like a social media platform (because that’s what it is), your hashtags are the keywords that will get you found by your ideal clients and business owners that you want to work with.
So, what are these three reasons that I want to tell you about? Let’s get right into it.
They Help You Get Seen
This one may be surprising to some of you, but (unlike the Tardis’ inside) when it comes to using hashtags on your posts, bigger is not actually better in this case. In fact, the bigger the hashtag, the more likely you are to get lost in the black hole of Instagram. I mean, unless you are a celebrity or an influencer with 10k followers and you are going to get noticed regardless, using big hashtags to GROW your business and your visibility is going to have the opposite effect for you.
For instance, if you are just starting out on Instagram and shooting for your first 100-500 followers, using the hashtag #entrepreneur is going to get you seen….for about 10-60 seconds. Then, you will get lost amongst the thousands of other business owners also trying to use that hashtag when someone searches for it.
See that big number? That means that well over 39 MILLION users have already used that hashtag, and that number is just going to keep growing.
So what does that mean for you? It means that you need to use hashtags that are much, much lower than that number. Of course, you don’t want to use hashtags that are too small, in the hundreds or low thousands. The ideal range that I have found to work well is between 10k-500k. This will enable you to know that it is well established already, so you know that people are actually using and searching for that hashtag, and will keep you relevant in the search when people type it in.
Make sure you are doing your research as well. Sometimes, hashtags get banned suddenly or they go up over the recommended number so you want to make sure that you are regularly checking them so you don’t run the risk of being shadow banned, or not being seen through your hashtags.
Connections With Others
This is a big one, in my opinion, especially when you consider that social media is a way for you to connect with others – in this case, your ideal clients and customers. For instance, when you are interested in a certain subject you may search for a specific hashtag.
Let’s say, off business topics for a minute, that you are an avid Doctor Who fan (yep, you caught me, Doctor Who is a slight addiction of mine). You’ve just watched episode 5 and want to post about it using a hashtag – #13thdoctor. You can put up your post using that hashtag and then when other Doctor Who fans are searching that hashtag, they will see your post among the others posting with it. You can also search that hashtag and see what other fans are posting and like, comment and follow others who share the interest that you do.
Obviously, you wouldn’t be using this hashtag all the time for business, but you get the idea that you want to use hashtags that will connect you to your ideal audience by way of knowing what hashtags they are searching, making sure they are relevant to your post and still within a good range before using them and then interacting with others who are posting similar content (where your ideal audience is also hanging out).
Yes, it’s true that your hashtags can even relate to your brand. You will often see (and if you haven’t noticed this already, go take a look at some other business accounts that you follow and check their hashtags out) business use hashtags that are very specific to THEIR business or brand.
For instance, when I post, I always post 10-15 static hashtags that I rotate out every couple of months. Within those 15 hashtags, I have 2-3 that are my brand hashtags (#rosegoldcontent, for example). This may seem counterintuitive to what I was talking about earlier, using hashtags within 10k-500k, as your brand hashtags will often be quite small, because you’re the only one using them. However, when you start to get known by clients and potential clients, they are going to start searching for you on Instagram. One way they might do that is with your branded hashtags. Also, when you start doing work for people, they may very well use your brand hashtag in a post of their own about something you did for their business.
These things are only going to be positive for your account, especially considering the extra traffic and engagement it will produce and the favour you will be shown by Instagram’s algorithm because of it.
Just to recap quickly, using quality hashtags truly does matter for your Instagram strategy. I gave you three reasons in this blog post, and I could go on, but your time is precious and this gives you a really good idea of why. Using quality hashtags helps you get seen, increasing your visibility, it helps you connect with your ideal audience and potential clients, and it also helps your brand stay forefront and recognizable by others, both in search and by use in other’s posts.
I hope that using quality hashtags, or a strategy for your hashtag use, is on your mind now as you go out and get seen on Instagram. If you’re not already using a successful strategy, what is your biggest question on getting started with one? I’d love to read and answer your comments below.
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Freelance Writer & Instagram Expert
I’m Bre and I’m a bit obsessed with marketing on Instagram and helping small business owners feel less overwhelmed and more confident when using it to grow their biz!
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