I’m going to give you a bit of background here. I probably started using proper hashtags about 6 months ago? Before that, I was just using a few that popped to mind as and when I could be bothered. Remember I am the ULTIMATE lazy girl blogger. But I began to become increasingly frustrated with my perceived lack of growth on Instagram that I began looking into different strategies to improve my reach.
I’ve studied everything Instagram have EVER said about the algorithm, plus kept an eye on other bloggers with similar accounts and similar audiences to see how they’ve managed to grow and NOTHING was working.
Then I remembered hashtags. Like the clueless uninfluencer that I am. And decided that it was something I could try to see if it would help.
And boy has it helped. One post, one day later than the next gained me a ton of new followers and had more than 2000% more impressions JUST because of hashtags. Like literally from 83 to 3k+
From there, I decided to create, at first, a bank of hashtags for me to use for the different types of posts I tend to bosh out and It’s now a resource I sell on my shop that has been downloaded nearly 250 times! But this episode isn’t an advert for THAT, I’m just going to share some quick tips on getting the most out of Instagram hashtags, so if you’re ready, let’s crack on!
Do Your Research
Some hashtags are banned, some are so full of other posts there’s no point you using them, some are full of inappropriate material which means they’ll be banned imminently and some just aren’t relevant to your audience or what you’re posting.
Find The Small Guys
The likelihood of any of our posts showing up in hashtags with over 1 million posts in, is slim. So focus mainly on those with under 100k posts if you can and then add a couple between 100k and 500k to see how you get on.
I said this in my latest blog post about hashtags but if you play around with using 4, 7, 11, 15, 30, in the caption, in the comments, different sizes (as in less than 100k posts, less than 50k posts etc) and see what works for you.
Because let’s be honest. It IS a mystery. One day I could post an outfit shot, exact same time, similar call to action and exact same hashtags and it just won’t do as well come the next day. So it’s best to play around!
It can be really frigging frustrating when a post absolutely bangs with hashtags and then the next minute hardly makes a dent. But remember it’s not just you, everyone is experiencing this.
Don’t Blame Hashtags
I get it. We’re really proud of our content, we feel like we’ve got the caption absolutely sussed and we know we’re about to post at the most opportune time and then CRICKETS. It’s suddenly as quiet as your racist Aunt at the family dinner table when Brexit is brought up. So then it’s easy to blame the hashtags we’ve used for not giving us the exposure, especially if our impressions aren’t good from them.
But we HAVE to be self reflective. Could the picture have been better? Is it really the right time to post? Have I been active on the app today? Is my caption really calling people to comment?
Then once we’ve figured out some good hashtags that we want to try, we might want to think of a good way to store and access them. So here’s what I do.
I’ve got my Ultimate Hashtag List, right? So, I know that at 6pm I’m going to be posting a picture of me, wearing a full length outfit, probs holding a Diet Coke and trying not to fall over because I’m wearing boots when I usually wear birkenstocks or am barefoot. So I’ll go into my list (and you can access whichever list you’ve curated or if you’ve already downloaded my list then love ya babe) and I’ll copy around 10-12 small hashtags (under 50k posts), 10 from around 50-100k posts and then a couple of others. I’ll then either paste them straight into my notes app OR there’s a handy trick you can do on your phone.
Now I have an iPhone so this is what I do. I go into my settings, go to my Keyboard shortcuts and I’ll paste the tags in there and call it something like fashiontag1, then, when I type that ‘fashiontag1’ on my phone, the list of hashtags auto populates. Now this might be time consuming if we’re trying tons of different sets and experimenting BUT maybe there are 5-10 you use on every post that are related to your communities and then the rest you switch up? I dunno, anything to save time!
I also have an Instagram app called Plann. Now I love Plann because it helps me organise my grid like say an Unum or Mosaico but Plann has some other cool features too. For example, Plann analyses my previous Instagram posts and it populates 3 sets of my best performing hashtags. The science behind it, I’m not sure, but if you want another shortcut to populating those sets of hashtags, it’s a good un.
Ooh also, you could put a ‘competitor’, I hate that word, but you know someone who has a similar account to you, put their handle in and Plann will tell you the best hashtags that THEY use. Then you can try using those ones too!
I hope this episode has been useful, essentially the thing to take away about hashtags is really suck it and see. In the least innuendo way as possible. Instagram is so frigging unpredictable at times and until we get app features where we can see exactly which hashtags are bringing in our impressions and exactly which ones are useless, then we’re going to have to find it out ourselves!
If you head over to the show notes, I’ve got a free list of around 100 hashtags you can download if you want some to get you started!
Otherwise I’d love to hear from you over on the Facebook group – how you’re getting on with hashtags. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t etc? And if you want more info on the database I keep, that I’m forever updating, head to vixmeldrew.com/ultimate-hashtag-list
Make sure you tag me as you’re listening to this episode and in any hashtag triumphs you have as I love to see them!
Until next time, BYEEEEE