We’ve all seen the Instagram posts with a paragraph of hashtags. Have you ever wondered if all those hashtags improve the post’s reach?
For several years, the prevailing thought was that more hashtags equaled greater exposure for the post, which means these posts are seen far and wide. If you are part of a digital marketing team and regularly use many hashtags in your posts, you might be wasting your time. Let’s dive in and see if hashtags make a difference in the overall reach.
The Design was Flawed from the Start
At no point in its existence has Instagram offered information stating tagging would change the distribution of a post. These items aren’t designed to maximize distribution, and more hashtags do not necessarily translate into greater reach for your posts. Does this mean you should avoid adding these items to your posts altogether? That’s certainly not the advice given, but there could be better ways to use these items to ensure your posts reach a larger audience and the right audience who might be searching for the subject matter of your posts.
A Study Tells the Tale
Socialinsider studied the impact of hashtags in Instagram posts to find out how many should be used to impact the reach of a post, if at all. This study of over75 a million posts published over a year showed the number of hashtags does not influence post distribution. There is no significant difference between posts with 1-2 hashtags and those with as many as 20. The sweet spot seems to be somewhere between 3 and 4 hashtags, but it’s not a significant difference that it matters how many of these links you have in your posts.
Does the Number of Followers Matter?
The same study found that the size of the account does matter to the number of hashtags used. Accounts with more than 50,000 followers should use fewer hashtags per post, while those with fewer followers should use more. The giant charges should stick to 3-4 hashtags, while smaller accounts can include 5-6 hashtags and enjoy the maximum chance of reaching an average engagement rate. You might think that having more followers would translate to the need for more hashtags, but that’s not the case.
Tips to Make the Most of Your Instagram Hashtags
To properly use hashtags in your posts, you need to use the right ones for your target audience to have your posts seen by those searching for the topics you cover. This could mean using more general hashtags instead of specific ones. Instead of using a hashtag with a company name, use the available product or item in the post’s subject matter. It’s essential to do your research to determine the proper tags for your posts and use those based on topics to reach an audience searching for the products you’re highlighting. Here are some tips to help you use hashtags better.
Hide Your Hashtags in the Caption
You make a caption to your posts to tell your audience about what you’ve posted, but you don’t want them to see your hashtags in the first couple of lines. The best way to hide your hashtags is to push them down beyond the “show more” link at the end of the caption. You can do this by adding line breaks to the caption to put some space between the hashtag and the caption of your post.
Find the Most Popular Hashtags Related to Your Brand
What hashtags are being used by Instagram Influencers? What are other brands like yours using? Create a list of hashtags relevant to your company and used by your competition. When you type these hashtags into the caption editor, you’ll know how many posts use that same tag. Use the hashtag finder tool that helps you discover the proper tags related to your content. This is an essential step in researching the right hashtags to use for the posts you’re putting on this social media platform.
Search How a Hashtag is Used Before Using it
Some hashtags you find influencers and competitors aren’t suitable for your company. Just because they use it doesn’t mean it makes sense for our content. Search the hashtag and see what companies are using it and what type of content it’s attached to. If your content fits into this group of posts, you should use that hashtag. If not, you’ll need to toss that one aside and avoid using it unless you have other content that will fit it and give you the desired results and reach.
Should You Use Only Popular Hashtags or Niche Ones?
The correct answer is that you should use both. You want to balance popular hashtags for your Instagram posts and a few niche ones that are more specific to your content. This gives you a slight reach for both categories. People searching for the popular hashtags will find your content, and those looking for the niche elements will see your content. This is an excellent way to balance the reach and distribution of your posts, which can help you build your audience.
Switch Up Your Hashtag List
You need to keep a list of your hashtags when posting on social media. You’ll use many of them over and over again. It would help if you also changed the different hashtags you use when you post content. Changing some of the hashtags to related items rather than the same will help you reach a broader and more diverse audience. When marketing on social media, the idea is to get a larger audience and work to increase sales and influence for your company. This can come from hashtags, but you need to change what you’re using from time to time.