The Truth About Hashtags
Updated: May 26
Hashtags got you down? When it comes to hashtags, there can be a lot of confusion about which to use, which not to use, where to put them, and how exactly they can help (or hurt) your marketing efforts. We’re here to cut through the confusion and break it all down to help you find the hashtags that will get you found on social media and learn how to use them strategically!
What are Hashtags
Let’s start with the basics: hashtags are terms that can be added to a post that are searchable. When you click on a hashtag, you can see all the other posts that have used that same tag.
The biggest benefit of using hashtags is that they can help users find your content. By tagging your posts with relevant hashtags, anyone who searches for those keywords on Instagram may be exposed to your content. That is a good thing because it means your content is being exposed to more and more people!
People can also follow hashtags that they like, which pulls the most recent posts that use those tags into their feed.
How to Find Hashtags for Your Business
Finding hashtags to use is simple, as long as you have a strategy around it. To start, think about the different categories of content that you post about and that are relevant to your business. Then think about your ideal client and the types of content they search for and enjoy on social media. You can also browse other businesses in your industry to see what hashtags they are using as inspiration.
For each category you come up with, do a search within Instagram for that hashtag. Instagram will automatically pull up other relevant hashtags underneath the search bar, which can help you expand into complementary areas.
What About Hashtag Size?
Hashtags vary in their popularity, which is important to consider when deciding which hashtags to use. Tags that are extremely popular and have millions of uses mean that your content may get lost among the masses, while hashtags that aren’t used enough won’t get a lot of eyes. This is also called hashtag density. The solution? Use a mix, with the bulk of your tags falling in the mid-range of 10k - 500k.
How to Use Hashtags
Now that you have a solid list of relevant hashtags with a mix of densities, it’s time to put those hashtags to use! We recommend using the maximum number of hashtags on each post of 30, and using a varied mix of tags for each post. The mix is critical, because using the exact same hashtags on every post may get your content marked as spam by Instagram.
Chances are, the content of your post also varies, so it makes sense to only use hashtags that are relevant to the content you are sharing. This gives you the best chance of getting your posts in front of people who will be interested and engaged.
Of course, there is an app that solves these challenges, and it's called HishHash! We love using this free platform to store and manage all of our hashtags. The app lets you create lists for all of your hashtag categories. Then when it’s time to post, go into the app and select the relevant lists and HishHash will generate a mix of 30 hashtags. This ensures you are hitting all of the relevant categories and that you're using a different mix of hashtags on every post.
Where to Put Your Hashtags
A few strategically placed hashtags inside of your caption can help to add relevant keywords to your post, and may even add visual intrigue since hashtags show up as a different color. Just don’t overdo it - too many hashtags will seem spammy and can make it hard to read your caption.
For the rest of your tags, we suggest placing them in the first comment of your post. This keeps your caption nice and clean and keeps the focus on the message you are sharing.
Bonus: Many social media schedulers now will automatically post to the first comment, so you can schedule your hashtags in advance!
Measure & Refine
Check out your analytics on a monthly basis to see if hashtags are driving traffic to your posts. You won’t be able to see which specific hashtags are working the best, but you can get an idea of the posts that perform the best and refine from there.
It’s also important to refresh your hashtag lists every few months to make sure you are using the most relevant tags for your content.
Are you ready to tackle hashtags on your social media and use them to attract your tribe? Here is your reminder to get started now! You’ve got this, Trailblazer!