What hashtags should I use for Instagram?
I get asked this question—constantly.
Everyone wants to know what hashtags to use for their Instagram photos.
Some people don’t even really understand what hashtags are. Let me shed some light on the matter.
What are Hashtags… actually!?
Hashtags are keywords for social media. Do you know how businesses fight over keywords in Google search to come up as the top rank and on the top page of Google? Hashtags are very similar. Just… without the fighting, and you can’t buy hashtag traffic.
You rank higher in the search feed based on how many followers you have, and your engagement rate. The higher your engagement and followers, the higher in the feed you’ll appear. Unlike Google though, hashtags are extremely time sensitive. This means that more than likely, your photo will only show up in the hashtag feed for a few minutes in the huge keywords, or 10-30 minutes in the smaller targeted hashtags.
Back to what hashtags are… they’re keywords. This can be really valuable for other people to find you. Mostly, hashtags are used as a search function for users to find more of the content that they like.
Now, understanding that hashtags are actually keywords, you’ll put together that you must know your target audience before you go using all the popular tags. The goal isn’t to attract everyone—just the people that would dig your feed, and probably buy from you if you have a business.
I recommend that you take the time to research all the hashtags you’re using and see if the feeds are where your prospective followers or clients will be frequenting. This takes time and energy, but it’s well worth it when you have a list of seriously targeted hashtags for your account. The more targeted the tags to your feed, the more targeted followers and engagement you’ll receive (people that actually will want to follow you and comment on your pics).
How many hashtags can I use?
You can use up to 30 hashtags in a single post. Here’s the catch: you must add the hashtags into your post immediately. They are incredibly time sensitive. If you were to add your tags in an hour later, there may be no point to adding them. You probably won’t get the traffic.
Now, you’re probably wondering why all the bigger influencers don’t use hashtags? Don’t be fooled. They all do. They just add all their hashtags into the first comment after they post a photo. This keeps the post relatively clean in their feed, and still gets the benefit of having the search terms.
How do I find good hashtags?
Simply, you search and explore for yourself. Go into influencer accounts that you like and see what hashtags they’re using. Look through all the tags and see what the feeds look like. If it looks like something you or your prospective clients or followers would enjoy—then feel free to use them!
You can also see what hashtags are popping up in your feed based on things that you love (such as… donuts, coffee, and ice cream). Add those to your hashtag repertoire.
Why Shouldn’t I just use any hashtag set?
Simply, 99% of hashtags SUCK. They’re riddled with shitty content, poor-quality followers and overall people that won’t engage with your content after they follow you. They’re not really interested in you or what you have to offer. And seriously, these are the majority of the tags out there!
Your beautiful photos will just become more noise, and fall in between the cracks and never get noticed.
We don’t want that!
Make sure you’re using higher quality hashtags. Trust me, you’ll know them when you see them. They just make you awe-struck. They’re different for every audience. If you have a luxury-based audience and you’re posting #adventure tags, you’re not going to do very well. These are conflicting audiences.
Don’t just use any old hashtag.
Really get into the heads of your followers first. Understand them. Get to know what they love, and what they don’t love, and then choose your hashtags based on their tastes.
Can’t I just use any hashtags no matter what I’m posting?
Nope! Don’t hijack hashtags. For example, if you’re using a coffee related hashtag, make sure your photo is related to coffee. Otherwise, you just piss off people and will totally lose followers. In fact, if you’ve been doing this, you’re probably losing tons of followers and engagement that you could be getting if you would just use related hashtags.
Nobody wants to look up #coffeeshoptabletop and see big photos of your selfie in the bathroom, your new pedicure, or the new outfit you just bought. You’ll just piss people off. And this just means that you won’t get engagement or followers.
Make sure all your hashtags are RELATED TO YOUR LIFESTYLE. More specifically, make sure the tags are related to the photo that you’re posting with the hashtags. Don’t metaphorically shoot yourself in the foot.
I promise this helps. Don’t just use random tags thinking you’ll beat the system. Trust me, you won’t. People are smarter and are looking for relevant, native content based on their interests.
How do I know what hashtags to use?
First, you must know what your audience is like. This means you have to get down n’ dirty knowing all the nitty gritty facts about your followers, and your prospective buyers. If you are defining your audience, you can download a free workbook on creating your very own buyer personas, here.
You’ll want to get to know their interests, hobbies, what they like to eat and drink, and how they spend their free time. Get to know their challenges, values, and beliefs. Once you understand innately who these people are, you can position your content more specifically to reach them. You can post photos of foods they like, drinks, outfits, places and more.
But, remember, your feed isn’t really ABOUT YOU. It’s about your followers. And this means you MUST KNOW THEM WELL. This will get you the high-levels of engagement you’re looking for.
Yea, I know your celebrity status is fainting at the thought that it’s not about you. It’s just not. When you reach a level of influencership it’s not because you’re so awesome. It’s because you’ve come to STAND FOR SOMETHING that your audience believes in. Your audience comes to associate YOU and YOUR BRAND with that belief system or set of values.
(This is branding. Get the full low down and a branding template for free, here.)
The stronger the beliefs, and the stronger you know your audience—the more followers you’ll attract and the more influence you’ll gain. It’s a win-win. It does require it’s fair share of work, though.
After investing thousands of hours into Instagram, I have a pretty good idea of it!
Passed 10k followers recently! Woohoo!
Back to the hashtags…
You’re going to want to use hashtags that your audience frequents. Use the tags that resonate with their values, interests and beliefs. This will require some investigation and exploration on your part!
I get it… but what hashtags can I use to start?
Okay, I know you’re reading this entire article just looking for a set of tags. Even though I’m giving you marketing gold. The type of online marketing wisdom that I invested over 10,000 hours of my life learning, and well over $300,000.
But, I get it. You want the easy way out. You just want some tags to start that will actually do something for you.
Okay, I’ll give you some. But only if you promise that you’ll actually invest in learning about your audience and catering the tags and your content to them—OKAY!?
I know you actually care about making a difference, so you’ll do the work.
With that, here are some tags you can use in the meantime.
#igdaily #picoftheday #photooftheday #best_photogram #darlingweekend #momentslikethese #coffeecoffeecoffee #coffeelovers #chasinglight #best_photogram #instatravel #fwis #fwisfeed #coffeeshoptabletop #coffeeshopcorners #justgoshoot #kinfolk #liveauthentic #livemore #vscocam #portraitcommunity #portraitperfection #postthepeople #neverstopexploring #adventureawaits#butfirstcoffee #morningslikethese #myminiatlas
Do I have to write all the tags each time I post?
Yes and No. Take this list and copy it into your notepad. Then from there you can paste it into your posts.
I have a super secret method for you below though, that will give you hundreds of tags ready to go for you based on interests. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome if I do say so!
Is there an easy place to find all the hashtags without doing all the work?
Yes. And I’ll tell you more about that in a sec.
I have a specific hashtag formula that I use in 3 parts to create the best case scenario for my own account. This method has attracted over 10,000 followers to my Instagram!
I also have a few hundred hashtags ready to go for myself that I use to diversify the keywords I’m using. I have many sets of specific hashtags to target my audience specifically and attract like-minded people to my account. It’s golden and has helped me tremendously in gaining over 10k followers.
I bet you’re wondering what this is!?
I created an ebook with all the hashtags ready to go that I use frequently for myself and my clients.
There are over 240+ high-quality hashtags ready to use for your account. They’re organized perfectly into interest categories so you can target the right clients and the right followers.
I even made a hashtag SWIPE FILE FOR YOUR PHONE with pre-made sets of 30 tags (all with the specific formula I use for targeting!). You download the swipe file to your phone and instantly have loads of great hashtags at your fingertips.
It makes this process much easier, and you won’t have to spend as much time doing the research.
So how much do you think this little gem is!?
The ebook is $11. I like to keep things reasonable. Is $11 worth saving yourself a boatload of time trying to figure out all these hashtags!? Hell Yes!
You can purchase and download the Instagram Lover’s Guide to Hashtags, here.
Let me know how you like it, and how it helps!
If you’re looking for more training, I have a free 90-minute Instagram training video that you can get access to, here. Over 500 people have taken the video training series and are getting terrific growth and results because of it!
Oh my! I almost forgot to share my account with you amazing loves! If you enjoyed this article and are looking for more constant Instagram inspiration, please pop over and follow my account. I engage and comment a ton! I love talking to people. Please come on over and say hi!
Visit my Instagram here: http://instagram.com/ecspinelli
Have any other tips or frequently asked questions around hashtags? Let us know in the comments!