Maximizing reach with Instagram hashtags

Instagram hashtags

How many of you include hashtags with your Instagram photos?

If you have been avoiding using hashtags on Instagram, it is time to re-consider.

Why you need to be using hashtags on Instagram

For those of you who need a refresher on how hashtags work, if you do not include them, photos you share are limited to the size of your network.

This means that while you may have a great photo, if you have a small following, not many people are going to see your photos.

When you include hashtags on Instagram, you increase your chances that someone else following the same hashtag will see your photo and engage with it.

Do hashtags really work?

While using hashtags on other social networks like Facebook do little to help with exposure.

Instagram users see higher engagement and get more interactions when using hashtags.

For example:

Source: Buffer

Instagram user stats:

While Instagram triggers higher engagement and more interactions, they also have a very active social network.

This means if you are looking to get more exposure and to grow your brands presence, this is a good way to go.

So how do you know which hashtags to use to increase your interactions on Instagram?

While some users will use random hashtags for giveaways and specific social media campaigns, it is best to try to stick with the more popular hashtags.

These include: #food, #beauty, #makeup, and so on.

This is so that you can insert your photos into the larger conversation and increase visibility with other Instagram users.

To help you get started, here is a list of some popular Instagram hashtags.

I have also included tools you can use to help identify the right hashtags to use.

Identifying relevant Instagram hashtags

Instagram hashtags

Infographic on choosing the right Instagram hashtags to use with your photos. Source: Sociable UK

Success with Instagram hashtags

If you would like to be successful with using Instagram hashtags, here are a few of my favorite tools you can use to identify relevant hashtags and photos on Instagram.

Remember, hashtags are just one piece of the Instagram puzzle. You also need to consider the types of photos that you take and understand which ones drive engagement on Instagram.

Your turn

While other social networks suggest that you limit yourself when using hashtags, Instagram users benefit from including more hashtags.

Have you seen been successful with hashtags on your Instagram account? 

Leave a comment on which hashtags have worked the best for you on Instagram.

  • http://antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Great article Chris; only problem I see is, even if Instagram limits the number of hashtags to 30, there are still people out there overusing them and/or including non relevant topics just trying to get attention (I call this hashtag spam). I wrote about this (Facebook related) on my blog after seeing people including topics as diverse as NBA finals, Boston Attacks, US elections and Idol as part of the same content (which btw, was not related with any of those…)

    • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

      @AntonioCalero:disqus you are definitely going to always see people abusing the system. Find what works for your Instagram account and stick to it. Others may find that 20 hashtags work well for them. It really comes down to the content you share and the quality of your network.

      There are always going to be people who abuse the system. Focus on posting quality content and doing things the right way. You will come out on top.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/CGarafola Chris Garafola

    Christian, thanks for your insights! I’ve found that hashtags were a lot more effective on Instagram a few months ago. Since, I’ve seen a slow decline in engagement. My thoughts, Instagram is putting less weight to hashtags (sort of like Google did for keywords awhile back because people were just stuffing articles with irrelevant keywords). I’ve also noticed that a lot of my friends who have been using a massive amount of hashtags for all of their photos, are seeing roughly the same amount of engagement as myself when just using 1 or 2.

    Now I know this example isn’t a controlled environment (you need to take into account how many followers they have/how loyal they are etc.) but this is a trend I’ve been noticing more and more.

    I’d be interested to hear if anybody else has seen a decline in the amount of engagement recieved from overusing hashtags. Maybe it’s just me!

    -Chris

    • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

      @CGarafola:disqus very interesting. Thanks for sharing your findings about Instagram hashtags. It could also be because a lot of users are jumping onto Instagram and using hashtags more. More users using the same hashtags means it might make your content get seen less – due to overuse.

      One other thing, I have also noticed a lot of Instagram URL’s are getting migrated to Facebook.com URL’s. I wonder if they are also going to leverage Facebook’s news feed algorithm (not sure this is a good idea at the moment) to determine what content to show a user? Maybe this could be impacting your hashtag results?


      Christian

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