Hashtags are important for engagement and helping people to find and follow your account. Here are some tips for choosing the best hashtags for Instagram.
I had such an overwhelmingly positive response to my last Instagram Hacks post on how to ‘schedule’ posts on Instagram that I thought I’d share how I choose the best hashtags for Instagram. Hashtag awesome, right? 🙂
You want to choose hashtags that increase your Instagram engagement. By engagement, I mean more people finding your account that don’t already follow you and more likes. With the new Instagram smartfeed rolling out right now, engagement is more important than ever. If people don’t ‘like’ your photo, it will get low priority assigned to it and decrease the chance people will even see it!
When I first changed from using Instagram as a personal social channel to using it as a way to connect with followers and increase my influence, I used the hashtags that were most popular. Think #love, #photooftheday, #instacool, #style, etc.
Because these hashtags are super popular, they are also full of garbage. Hundreds of photos are added to the hashtag by the minute and most of them are spam, like ads to buy more Instagram followers, bad selfies, fake celebrity accounts and just plain ugly sh*t (excuse my French). The hashtag #tagsforlikes has 249 million photos. By using this hashtag, you are literally just contributing to the noise. When you share your photo, it will instantly be so far down in the hashtag feed that no one will see it.
Instead, it’s important to choose hashtags that align with your niche. You want your photo to show up in a stream that is mainly ‘real’ photos and something that people (not bots!) want to scroll through and engage with.
A great first step is finding the hashtags that brands and big blogs have created to engage their audience. The blog A Beautiful Mess does an amazing job with this. All of their hashtag start with #abm.
Using hashtags created by brands is also makes it more likely that a brand will ‘regram’ you. Take #GapLove for example. Can you imagine if Gap shared your photo to its 1.2 million users!? Even if they don’t list it in their profile, look at their photo captions and see if you can find a brand-specific hashtag.
Also check out the hashtags that big accounts with great engagement are using to connect with and gain followers. Find these users by searching for a hashtag with a beautiful feed and clicking on one of the ‘top posts’. See what other hashtags that user has also used.
If you are traveling, find some popular local Instagrammers and see what hashtags they are using to promote their posts. A good way to do this is to search a local landmark and see what the top posts are.
For recipes or food, try hashtags from large accounts that share recipes, like #dailyfoodfeed, #feedfeed, #foodgawker, #tryitordiet, etc. These hashtags have the benefit of the possible of regrams and highly-engaged (and hungry!) people scrolling through the feed.
Worried about hashtags cluttering your photos? I put them in as a comment below the main caption and as soon as two other people leave comments, they’ll be hidden unless someone opens the post. I’ve also see other people put the comments at the end of the caption. As long as the caption is three lines long, the comments will be hidden in the main feed.
That’s it! Any questions or thoughts? Anything that I missed that you find helpful in choosing hashtags? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. Like this post? Then you’ll love my post on how to schedule Instagram posts!
Thanks so much for reading A Side of Sweet! For more Sweet in your life, you can find me on Instagram (obviously!), Pinterest, Facebook,YouTube, Bloglovin‘, Snapchat (@asideofsweet), or Twitter. You can also subscribeto receive a weekly email with new posts and random musings from me.