If you have an Instagram page or use Instagram you will be familiar with hashtags #.

They are an essential yet often forgotten part of posting and searching on Instagram. Today we will explain how they work and share a few quick hacks to find the best hashtags for your business.

What is a hashtag and what does it do?

Think of them a bit like Google search for Instagram. They are a tag to your posts and often how your customers find you. Customers will stumble across you when searching for inspiration around a topic. When they put in #shoes for example it will give them a long list of these items in their Instagram feed. They can choose to follow a specific # and posts with this hashtag will make it to their feed.

Every time you add a hashtag to your post it appears in the feed of that hashtag, where it can be found in the “latest posts” section by anyone looking through that feed.

The more engaging posts will be promoted by Instagram to the “top posts” section where everyone who visits that hashtag sees it.

Hashtags are an effective way to reach more of the kinds of people who would be interested in your content and products, plus they are free! Instagram posts that use at least 9 hashtags will get 2.5 x more likes and comments*. Using the right hashtags is the fastest way to increase the organic reach of your Instagram posts.

But which #’s should I use?

Instagram hashtag research can be hard work and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Firstly, you need to understand what makes a great hashtag. The best hashtags will bring you more likes and comments, are popular but not too competitive or obvious, give you a chance at reaching the ‘top posts’ section of that hashtag and generate feeds of high-quality, relevant content.

One of the quickest ways to find the best hashtags for your business is to use Instagram’s native auto-complete function. It’s right there in the app and pops up as you start to type your hashtags.

  • Go to the Instagram search function (magnifying glass icon)
  • Type in a general term say ‘hair’ if you are a salon
  • Go to ‘tags’ and see what comes up or you can try looking at the ‘top’ section

You will see a range of hashtags and how many posts use that term. In this example there is #hair, #hairstyles, #haircolor, #haircut, #haircare etc.

If you’re new to Instagram hashtag research this is best place to start. Instagram autocomplete tends to show you the most posted to hashtags first.

Another quick way to find hashtags on the Instagram mobile app is visit one hashtag and read the related ones. You will find these in the first line of that page.  You can then click through to the posts that are like your own and see what other hashtags they used.

It’s unfortunately not as simple as just choosing the top posted tags. Just because people have posted loads using a tag, doesn’t mean people visit it. Make sure you also choose more niche, less competitive hashtags so that if people are searching you have more chance of coming up in the top posts.

Include hashtags around interests, media (e.g. industry magazines), locations, problems you solve, categories and brands.

How many hashtags should I use?

We would suggest 10 is a good amount. Note that Instagram sets a 30 tag limit.

Remember also to use a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite so that you don’t need to type the hashtags out each time and instead can copy and paste them in batches.

Final tip: Remember to visit the hashtags themselves. Then you can see what comes up and if your posts come up! If you follow a few over time you can get some great ideas for content for your business too.

However, if you would rather take the Instagram content and hashtag pain away completely contact us at hello@thebrandarchitect.com.au. For this month we are offering 50% off the on-boarding fee for social media management.