Guide - Building Hashtags For Instagram
Updated: Apr 21
Building Hashtags For Instagram
Instagram is the most famous image sharing platform of them all. The idea that you can take a photo, share it and have 1000’s of people see it instantly makes Instagram a fantastic marketing tool. On Instagram you have your followers who will be presented with your new post during their day however, to reach new followers and build your audience you need to use hashtags.
What are hashtags?
Hashtags or as it was once known, the pound sign #, is a directory system used by the social media platforms to help direct users to content that fits their preferences. For example, If I have a picture of a cake and put the hashtag #cake. People who like cakes, baking, cooking etc will stumble across my post. Building my audience and followers. The more accurate and defined my hashtags are, the better the audience I will build.
How do I build my hashtags?
If you have a website or know much about SEO then you will know a vital part of getting it right is researching your keywords. Using keywords that are relevant to your business will help define your audience and get the right people through the door. Take this as your starting point. Using the search function on Instagram and search your keywords as tags. See what comes up.
Lots of options pop up with varied amount of posts attached. Look for the high numbers and lower numbers. Take 3 tags from this. A high, a medium and a low. Use 5 for of your most poignant SEO keywords and do the same method again. This will give you 15 hashtags to work with as your base.
Next, consider the image itself. What is the subject? For example, say it was a Ferrari. They reference the image and aspects that are in it. Generate 5 or so hashtags from this.
Trying to search your subject matter in Instagram’s search. Look at the top hitting posts and look at their hashtags. Influencers will have trending hashtags which get more clout. Once again use 5 or so of these. Check the posts age as hashtags can become “shadowed” if overused and posts from a week ago may have lost their clout.
This will give you a solid base for your hashtags.
How many hashtags can I use/shall I use?
When you are staring a profile, it will take longer to build your audience from scratch and using more hashtags will generate and audience quicker. Overuse of the same hashtags or maxing out your tags will have a negative effect. The max you can have is 30. Anymore and Instagram will remove them all. During your first few post use more than 10 but don’t go over 20. Once you see healthy growth slowly drop them away.
I am not getting the same response to my hashtags as I once got!?
This is called “shadowing” it is something Instagram does for the community protection. If you use the same hashtags repeatedly Instagram will see it as a violation and shadow your account on those hashtags. This means when user search for "cake", you post will not appear. It is unclear how long this lasts for. Some experts say 7 days, 14 days or forever. It depends on your violation level. Hashtags which have been trending can also have a violation as bot accounts will use the tags on random posts which hold no relevance or have inappropriate content on them. Instagram will shadow this tag. It is important to keep your hashtags relevant and refreshed to see better search results.
I keep refreshing my tags but I am not gaining an audience, why?
This can be down to a few things…
1. Your content is not up to scratch.
People expect a certain quality from Instagram. It is a photo platform with some amazing photographers on it. A poor-quality photo with no thought put in to is not going to engage people. Users are not monkeys with symbols waiting to applaud your content, they’re engaged and want to be fed something that engages their interest. Otherwise they will switch off.
2. Going off track.
If you take our profile for example, there are alot of cars. Because we’ve become renowned for our car photos, our audience is built of that, car people. We try and switch and put something else in and we lose followers. Regrettably if your account is defined then you need to keep posting similar content. If you don’t have a definition, then your likes will always be low as generally people into X are not into Y.
3. Old content.
If you took a photo from 5 years ago and try and pass it off as today, Instagram will know and hold back your post. Recent content is rewarded. Try and ensure all your content is in the moment and not months old.
Building an Instagram audience can be very rewarding and frustrating as aspects out of your control can interfere with your growth.
Ensure you’re clear and concise with your message, post frequently and post quality.
Do you need help setting up an Instagram account for your business?
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