How do I find the right hashtags? How many hashtags should I use? Why did my hashtags stop working??
In this week’s episode I’m sharing my recent hashtag experiment that tripled my impressions from hashtags on a whole bunch of my posts. Per usual I’m simplifying the strategy so you can gain new followers and give your posts a boost without wasting hours researching which hashtags to use.
That’s ok, I don’t always listen to my own episodes either ;) Here’s a written version for ya!
1 ➜ Find the right hashtags
The first thing to know is that people use hashtags like a search engine: curly hairstyles, dog training, healthy desserts. What would your audience search for? Come up with a list of keywords and 2 – 3 word phrases related to your niche.
Remember people don’t always search for what they’re experiencing. Busy moms don’t search for #busymom, they search for #kidsactivities, #dailyplanner, #sandiegomassage. My audience searches for things like: #solopreneur, #productivitytips, #instagrammarketing.
If you’re stuck for ideas, don’t worry, IG has got ya! Type a keyword into the search bar and see what other hashtags show up. Then click each hashtag for even more related options. And don’t forget to check popular accounts in your niche to see what hashtags they use – they’ve probably done some testing already!
Choose hashtags that have between 10k posts and 500k posts. The idea is that if your post shows up and gets engagement in a 10k hashtag, then as Instagram shows it to more people, it’s more likely to show up in the larger hashtags.
I found a range of similar hashtags:
- #instagramtips = 409k
- #instagramtipsandtricks 58k
- #instagramtipsforbusiness 27k
Important note No. 1: Avoid generic hashtags like #instagram #mom #business – these will be too many posts to help you at all and repeatedly using generic tags can get your account blocked.
Important note No 2: Do not spend hours and hours searching for the perfect hashtags. Set a timer for 10 minutes and start searching – this is a quick + dirty Instagram strategy!
2 ➜ Put your hashtags into a doc + organize
As you’re finding hashtags, add them into a document along with the number of posts in each tag. Once you’ve collected between 30 and 90 relevant tags, put them in order, smallest to largest.
3 ➜ Move them into lists
Next up, separate your hashtags into lists of up to 30 tags. You don’t NEED 30 in each list, but pick out more than like 5.
Instagram doesn’t love you using the same 30 hashtags on repeat so make multiple lists. You can have separate lists for separate topics: business, productivity, instagram tips or put a variety into each (that’s what I do!).
As you’re doing this, make sure there is a range of numbers in each. Don’t put all the big hashtags into one and all the small hashtags into another. You need to give your posts the ability to climb the hashtag ladder.
4 ➜ Experiment experiment experiment
Last step – add them to your posts. (I save them in Planoly (affiliate link) to make it easier)
Every time you use a different hashtag block pay attention not only to hashtag impressions, but also WHO is showing up. Are they a fit for what you share and sell? We don’t just want more followers we want followers that will benefit and buy!
Then check in once/month so you aren’t wasting time every day obsessing and adjusting your tags and adjust if one list works better than another.
Hashtags only work if you POST. Don’t try this strategy instead of spending time on content. If you aren’t posting to Instagram at least 2x / week you need to focus on that and then get your hashtag strategy going!
Gimme a shout on Instagram @xosarahmorgan if you’re testing this out – I love to hear how strategies work in other niches.