We love love love Instagram. Aside from Snapchat, it is by far one of our favorite social media platforms to be on. We can guarantee if you’re not on it yet, your competitor already is.
One of the biggest mistakes we made when we first started using Instagram was to not utilize hashtags. What were we thinking?! Today we want to show you how to find the best hashtags on Instagram for your business.
In order to gain a loyal following on Instagram, you must use hashtags. Period.
But you insist…
- Hashtags are ugly.
- Hashtags are time consuming.
- Hashtags make you look spammy and desperate.
- You don’t know which Hashtags to use.
- [ Insert some other bullshit excuse…]
It seems like no matter how many or what hashtags you use, they have little to no effect on your photo.
The struggle is real.
Today we are diving into how to rapidly grow your Instagram engagement and audience using hashtags.
According to Instagram, users now share over 70 million photos a day. That means you have a lot of noise to cut through to get your content seen.
Use hashtags like keywords.
Hashtags make it easy for you to categorize and organize your posts for people to find. If you add a hashtag to a photo, any time a person searches that keyword, your photo will show up.The right hashtags will increase relevant and quality traffic to your Instagram. Click To Tweet
Things to keep in mind:
Numbers and emojis 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 or videos.
If you include more than 30 tags on a single photo or video, your comment won’t post.
The goal is to use hashtags that are being used by your target audience and clients.
Use these 5 strategies to find the best hashtags to attract the right followers for your Instagram feed :
#1 Follow Competitor Accounts
By now you probably know who your competition is in your industry or niche. Find them on Instagram. Your competitors most likely will have the same target audience as you.
For example, if you are trying to sell handmade clothes on Etsy, find the most popular handmade clothing company on Instagram and see what hashtags they are using.
The goal is not to copy your competitor, but study what they are doing right.
This strategy usually only works for personal brands. Most corporations don’t even use hashtags. They don’t need to. They already have a large enough brand recognition, so people already know how to find them.
#2 Use Relevant Hashtags
It drives us crazy when we see people hashtagging #every #other #word.
It makes us want to immediately leave their Instagram feed, and we’re sure others feel the same. Even worse, your photo may be flagged as spam, risking your entire Instagram account.
Only use hashtags that are relevant to your brand, niche and audience.The more specific a hashtag is, the more targeted your audience will be. Click To Tweet
The bag and accessories brand, Hershel Supply Co. has done an excellent job of demonstrating this. They created the hashtag #welltravelled to feature their products worn by their followers and employees.
People all over the world have grasped onto this hashtag and incorporate it into their travel photos. Genius right?!
#3 Use Related Hashtags
One of Instagram’s new features (2016) is posts “related hashtags” at the top of each hashtag search. When you’re on the page of a hashtag, scroll through the suggested ones to see if you can use any of them for your brand. Then repeat the process with each related hashtag until you have your 30 hashtags.
#4 Use Descriptive Hashtags
Start simple when researching hashtags. Apply the 5 W’s Principle and ask yourself (who, what, where, when, why) to make sure the right eyeballs land on your photo.
See below how we apply this principle to this photo of a wedding table setting we shot in La Jolla, California.
Who needs to see the photo? (Newly engaged couples, just married couples, wedding blogs, etc.)
Hashtag the people you are trying to reach as your main audience. If you want to be featured as an expert in your industry, you have to get their attention.
#stylemepretty #greenweddingshoes #theknot #greylikesweddings #magnoliarouge #oncewed #weddingsparrow #smpweddings #theknotweddings #shesaidyes #ohwowyes #risingtidesociety
To reach your ideal clients, you must first identify who they are. Go deep, and think like they would when they are searching Instagram. What are their interests?
#bridetobe #justmarried #gettingmarried #howheasked
What brands/vendors are featured in the photo?
If you collaborated with anyone to make this photo possible, be sure to research their brand/company hashtag.
For example, Urban Outfitters uses #UOonYou as their brand hashtag. So anytime you scroll through that hashtag, you can see who is wearing their brand!
Sometimes, these hashtags are not always available, so don’t fret over it. If this is the case, you can always tag the company in the image and the caption instead.
Where was the photo taken?
Hashtag the location in which your photo was taken, or where you primarily want to do business.
#lajolla #lajollabeach #sandiego #scrippsseasideforum #lajollatorreypines #california #lajollawedding #sandiegowedding #californiawedding
When was the photo taken?
Depending on the day you are posting, there are many hashtags in relation to that day or time. Here are a few examples :
#darlingweekend #feelgoodthursday #mondaycouple #traveltuesday #weddingwednesday #throwbackthursday #fridayintroductions #flashbackfriday #sundaymorning #theeverydayproject #thedailywedding #morningslikethese #tuesdaystogether #mancrushmonday #thehappynow #momentsofmine #weekendwarrior #makewavesmonday #iwokeuplikethis #fromwhereistand
Why was the photo taken?
Think about the reason this photo was taken. In our case, we are wedding photographers, so we want to share to that audience.
#ocweddingphotographer #destinationweddingphotographer #lajollaweddingphotographer #sandiegoweddingphotographer #fineartweddingphotographer #destinationweddingphotography #fineartwedding #fineartweddinginspiration #weddinginspiration #californiaweddingphotographer
After you have exhausted the 5 W’s Principle, you can dive even deeper to find the best hashtags.
Every industry and niche has a collection of hashtags that have been created. Refer back to the related posts method to find the very best ones.
#filmisnotdead #thatsdarling #welltraveled #wanderfolk #letsgosomewhere #neverstopexploring #keepitwild #communityovercompetition #calledtobecreative #dowhatyoulove #justgoshoot #fromwhereistand #makeithappen #lookslikefilm #sayyestosuccess #pursuepretty #exploretocreate #darlingmovement
#5 Create Your Own Hashtag
Create your own unique brand/company hashtag and encourage others to use it.
Having a brand hashtag will help drive engagement and build a loyal community of followers.
It could be as simple as the name of your company, tagline or the name of a product you carry.
It works best when the hashtag has a specific purpose. For example, Beyonce has her loyal #Beyhive fans and Lady Gaga has her #LittleMonsters.Brand hashtags create a sense of community and connection. Click To Tweet
As destination wedding photographers, we connect our brides all over the world using #MooseStudioBride.
Add your unique hashtag to each photo you post in the future to create brand awareness.
Save Your Hashtags
We’re not going to lie, finding the best hashtags takes time and research. The good news is, once you find a few combinations of hashtags that work, you can use them over and over again!
Make A List
Once you know a hashtag works, you will probably want to reuse it often. We use our notes on our iPhone to store our lists so they are easy to copy and paste immediately after posting the photo and caption.
Create A Shortcut
Alternatively, you can create a keyboard shortcut on your iPhone. Becca from Bloguettes.com does an excellent job of explaining how to do this here.Save time and create a keyboard shortcut for your hashtags Click To Tweet
Make Your Hashtags Pretty
Let’s face it, hashtags are ugly. They clutter up the caption and make it hard to read. Format your hashtag list with six dots before it to hide them in your comments.
Copy and paste your hashtags as the first comment on your own photo, NOT your caption.
You must have a caption written first, or this hashtag hack won’t work.
Today, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per photo. That means you have at least 30 opportunities for someone to discover your content.
We highly suggest using all of them for maximum exposure!
Timing Is Everything
The most important aspect of hashtags is timing. When you post your photo, you must have your hashtags ready to paste as the first comment. This will increase your chances of being seen in the Top Posts of each hashtag page.Bottom line - hashtags are crucial to your Instagram success. Click To Tweet
We would love to follow your Instagram journey as you grow your fan base. Follow us @moosestudio on Instagram so we can check you out!
If you don’t have a solid Instagram strategy to follow, it can be overwhelming trying to grow your account.
That’s why we’ve created the #InstauthorityChallenge, a FREE step-by-step email course that teaches you how to build a solid foundation and grow your Instagram in just 7 days.