A Guide on how to use Hashtags and why they are good for your Instagram Business Account.
What are Hashtags?
They are essentially Instagram’s way of indexing posts and content on the platform into categories. Hashtags are clickable in your posts and you can use up to 30 of them in grid posts, IGTV videos, and Reels. (More below). I encourage you to use all 30, especially if you have a small following or are new to Instagram. You can also search for hashtags in the search bar (magnifying glass symbol, on your profile)
Why use Hashtags?
When used correctly and strategically (with the right content) hashtags can help your account be discovered by new audiences. When you use hashtags in your posts, your posts will appear on the page for those hashtags. Instagram Users can follow hashtags like they follow accounts and any posts relating to the hashtags they follow will also appear in their news feed. For example, you may decide to follow the #smallbusinessuk then you are likely to see popular posts where this hashtag has been used in your feed, therefore discovering Instagram accounts you may not already be following. More visibility can lead to a potential of a wider audience and hopefully new customers/clients for you. (Although this isn’t guaranteed of course)
Hashtags for CommunitiesHashtags can also be a great way of building community and brand awareness. I encourage small businesses to create their own branded hashtags and start to use them on their posts, it could be something as simple as using your company name, your personal name, or your tag line. Hashtags can also be location-based, or industry-based.
Now, this can be the tricky bit to hashtags. When you search a hashtag, you will see a number under it telling you how many posts there are on Instagram with that hashtag. For example, #Love has over 2 Billion posts and #LoveInstaGrid has fewer than 100 posts. I recommend that you use 10 smaller-sized hashtags around and under the 50K mark, 10 hashtags that are between 50k and 250k, and then 10 more that are between 250-500k.
What hashtags should I use?
It’s important to use hashtags that are relevant to your content. Ideally using hashtags that directly relate to your photo or graphic, who is this post aimed at? and how do you help them? Think about your audience, what will they be searching for to discover you?
Where should I put them? In the post or first comment?
This is entirely up to you. I recommend you test which works best for you. Some experts say to put them in the first comment (although you will have to do this pretty quickly after posting) and prefer them there. I place my hashtags in my post as I have tested both and feel that hashtags within my caption have better engagement and reach however this may be different for you.
Should I put Hashtags in my Stories?
The short answer is No. Hashtags in stories have now disappeared.
If you go to the search feature on Instagram (the magnifying glass symbol) you type in a hashtag, for example, “London”, you will see a round image by the number of posts for that hashtags. You used to be able to watch all stories for the hashtag when you selected the circle. This feature is no longer available, we are unable to see the stories relating to those hashtags.
Should I use them on my Reels?
Absolutely! I strongly recommend that you use hashtags on reels. Using hashtags on reels is a great way of being discovered by other accounts that may not already follow you, it may help to increase your reach. You can use up to 30 hashtags on Reels.
What about IGTV? Should I use them there too?
Yes, why not?! Whilst IGTV isn’t as popular in rankings as Reels, I would still use hashtags on IGTV too. Again you can use up to 30 here too.