Instagram is a visual social media platform that harnesses the power of the hashtag. When you use them in your posts, you’ll also see a higher engagement level than you would if you didn’t use any.
This is because hashtags (any combination of letters, numbers, and emojis with a # symbol in front) are the way Instagram categorizes content. Instagram hashtags work by organizing and categorizing photo and video content on the platform. In other words, it’s the way they power their search function.
For example, if you wanted to see all the posts on Instagram featuring black Labrador Retriever puppies, and you do a search, Instagram is going to pull up all the posts with this hashtag: #blacklabradorretrieverpuppies.
How high up your posts show on the hashtag page depend on how many likes and comments your post already has, when it was shared, and the power of your audience.
Because hashtags are so vital to Instagram, let’s look at how to choose the right hashtags for Instagram posts.
Where to Search for Hashtags
To be successful on Instagram, you want to find the best Instagram hashtags for your business.
It’s not just as simple as adding the hashtags that first pop into your head, and oftentimes the most “popular” hashtags aren’t the right ones for your business either.
You want to use the hashtags that are the most engaging. This means you want to use hashtags that have a community behind them that in some way relates to yours.
So, where do you find them? One of the easiest ways is to search your audience, your competitors and your industry leaders. Make a list of the hashtags they’re using that might apply to your business.
And remember, just because a hashtag is ultra popular doesn’t mean you should use it. Look for the Instagram hashtags with the most engaged users. These are often the hashtags with a narrower focus.
How to Search for Hashtags
You can also use Instagram’s search function to look for viable hashtags. Simply use the Instagram search bar and type in keywords that are relevant to your brand. You’ll then see a list of the top potential hashtags for your chosen keyword.
Take it a step further and click the Tags tab in on the search results page. Here you’ll see a list of all the hashtags with your keyword as well as posts that may be tagged with it. Notice under each hashtag you’ll see the number of posts tagged with the keyword.
You can also take a look at the people and places tabs to further your search.
Experiment with the hashtags. For example, if you see a tag that has 4,000 posts, your post might get lost in the shuffle. So, you might try some niche tags as well. Consider using both the popular and the niche hashtags to find which way works best for you.
Instagram Banned Hashtags
You might be surprised to learn that Instagram has community guidelines in place. These guidelines allow them to ban hashtags that violate their policies.
Instagram will ban hashtags when they feel they’re being used too broadly and with content that violets their guidelines. It may be either temporarily or even permanently blocked.
If you use banned Instagram hashtags, you may find your account blocked. Or, you might find that by using a banned hashtag your other hashtags are useless. This means your post won’t show up in hashtags searches.
One way to see if a hashtag has been banned is to go to Instagram, search for the hashtag, and go to Tags. If you don’t see it on the list, it’s banned. You might also click on the hashtag if you do see to make sure it’s not partially banned.
By now you probably realize hashtags are vital to Instagram, and you now have several ways to search for them and find the right hashtags for Instagram posts.
We’ll leave you with a few extra tips. There are several different kinds of hashtags you can and should use in your posts: branded hashtags, niche hashtags, industry hashtags, and content hashtags.
Branded hashtags are those that you use exclusively for your brand. They are always brand specific and usually related to a campaign.
Niche hashtags are those that capitalize on a particular location. For example, it might be #californiaphotographer or #dallasweddingphotographer.
Industry hashtags capitalize on those specific to your industry. For example, if you build pools, you might use: #wimmingpoolideas, #swimmingpoolbuilder, #junepools, and #instapool.
Content hashtags are often keywords you might optimize your website for. For example, you might include: #poolbuilder, #poolowner, #swimmingpools.
Finally, using hashtags makes your content discoverable to your target audience as well as to others you might not have even thought about targeting.
But, using hashtags is much more than throwing 15-30 on a post. Do your research, make a list, and utilize many of the same hashtags on a regular basis for the best results.
If you’d like some help developing your brand and nurturing the relationship between social media ad your business, we can help. We’ll provide customer-focused and engaging posts that encourage trust and a connection with your business.
We are here for you when it comes to your social media posting. We’ll study your brand and create posts that work with your overall social media posting strategy. Learn more about our services and how we can create engaging content that your customers will enjoy and appreciate.