What are hashtags?
Hashtags are keywords or phrases directly preceded by a hash/pound sign (#). Hashtags are most often used on social media as a way to categorise and search for specific content. When you use hashtags effectively, they're a great way to be organically found by other Instagram users, including (and especially) your target audience and can fast track your account growth and engagement levels on Instagram.
Why should I use hashtags?
Instagram shows and rewards content for its relevancy, and using hashtags helps the algorithms sort and determine what's relevant. Using hashtags will help people find you through a variety of different avenues on Instagram including:
- Their feed
- The explore feed
- Suggested accounts
When you use a hashtag or combination of hashtags on a new post on Instagram, you're telling the Instagram algorithm what categor(ies) your photo belongs to. You're also helping the algorithm understand how relevant your content might be to your followers and other Instagram users, based on their own Instagram interactions and behaviour.
How many hashtags should I use?
Because people often search for content they're interested in by searching through hashtags, each hashtag you use is like a piece of 'search real estate,' or another base you've covered. It gives you one further opportunity to be found by other Instagram users.
Instagram currently allows for a user to add 30 hashtags to each post. As I explained above, the more hashtags you use, the more opportunities you are creating for yourself to be 'found' by other Instagram users.
For example, if you only use 10 of the 30 available hashtags, you're passing up 20 opportunities to have your post found in search, which creates less opportunities for your account to be found, and possibly less engagement per post.
On that basis, I recommend you use all 30 available hashtags per post.
It's important to note that while other Instagram users can add a hashtag in the comments section of your post, only hashtags you personally use will be taken into account by Instagram's algorithms.
Why use hashtags?
Hashtags are an integral part of a solid Instagram strategy. Using the correct hashtags is one of the most effective ways to get found by the right people (those who are part of your target audience!)
Hashtags enable you to be found on Instagram because people use them to search for relevant content. If you use them strategically, with every post, you're not only connecting and engaging with your audience, you're leaving a permanent breadcrumb trail that others can continue to find you through too!
How many hashtags should I use?
Currently, you can use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post. I recommend you use all 30, to maximise your potential to be found.
The best breakdown is to use up to 20 hashtags that your target audience is already using, and 10 hashtags that describe your business.
Hashtag formula: (20 x audience) + (10 x your business) = 30 (total)
The reason why I recommend this formula, is that your ideal audience is already searching through hashtags they use themselves regularly, so it's a great way to be found by them. By also adding hashtags that describe your business and what you do, you're enabling yourself to be found by people who are searching for someone who does what you do too!