The main purpose of the hashtag symbol (#) is none other than making posts more discoverable. Today every social media network uses hashtags, some more frequently than others. Twitter and Instagram, in particular, encourage the use of the symbol with almost every single post.
Hashtags are the best way to gain new followers and bring more viewers to your account. They can also be quite useful when trying to find more about a particular destination — whether that’s a city, festival or some restaurant.
We asked some Insta-experts to reveal their secrets and give us some advice. Here are the ten tips they gave us:
1. Use the hashtags that best fit your lifestyle
California-based blogger Kitty Rodriguez, @kittynrodriguez on Instagram and author of Katching Up with Kitty, admits that she always searches for related key words that describe her picture. ”For example, if it’s a picture of me, then I use hashtags that describe me, or the products I used to create my look – hair and make up products, shoes, clothes, even the location.”
In the above picture, for example, Kitty uses hashtags that point to her fashion choices – #polkadotdress, #zarawoman, #forever21murah, and #ootdinspo. (The meaning of the last one, #ootdinspo, is ‘outfit of the day inspo’ where the abbreviation #ootd is often used within the fashion Insta-community.)
”I feel like hashtags give the appropriate vibe to your post,” adds Yasmin, @especiallychic on Instagram and full-time college student and part-time blogger, split between Athens and Georgia. ”It can set the tone and directly give your followers the mood of your content.”
2. Use special symbols to separate your caption from the hashtags
Use one of the following symbols to improve the visual presentation of your hashtags and allow your followers to focus on the caption.
You can see that Kitty’s post features simple dots to separate her caption from the hashtags. Many bloggers tend to use symbols in order to maintain the casual look of their posts, while still using 20+ hashtags. (The limit on Instagram posts for hashtags is 30.)
3. Improvise and personalize
Sometimes a little bit of humor can be alluring and charming. Some of the best bloggers know how to always have fun and to make fun of themselves in a positive way. Why not use the hashtags as a way to make an intellectual statement.
According to Kitty, improvisation is an important aspect for being Insta-successful:
”You can almost limit yourself unknowingly using the same hashtags over and over again, so getting creative is a must. Try to always look at it as reaching as many people from different avenues as possible!”
Hashtags such as #smile and #cookielover are a good start!
4. Use capital letters to make hashtags more readable
This could be useful for longer hashtags which include two or more words, such as #FridayFeeling, #MondayFeels, #NetflixAndChill. Plus, always use the opportunity to increase your audince by participating in the daily hashtags, such as #MondayFeels and #ThrowbackThursday (aka #tbt).
If you’re feeling frisky, you can also add some emojis!
5. Post hashtags in the comments section
LA-based Quigley, @officiallyquigley, who has almost 65K followers in Instagram, agrees that hashtags are a very useful way for images to be discovered and shares yet another way to use the big symbol: ”For me, I tend to use 1 or 2 very relevant hashtags in my caption – then I use 10-15 hashtags in the comments section. It detracts from the image when you use too many hashtags in the caption itself ”
Don’t forget: you need to be creative not only with the selection of words you use but also with how you use them.
6. Don’t overdo it
While your chances to get more views are likely to increase the more hashtags you use, it’s also possible that you come across as someone who’s truly desperate to get likes and followers.
Kitty believes that it’s really important to pick the right hashtags: ”But at the same time you don’t want to overuse hashtag, because it can look unaesthetically pleasing to viewers.”
Considering that 30 is the maximum number of hashtags per post, you need to remember that people use Instagram to browse through images, not scroll down text. Quigley couldn’t agree more:
”It gets too busy and looks like you’re trying too hard, which doesn’t generally resonate with most people well!”
To quote Yasmin, in any case ”the hashtags cannot be longer than the actual caption!”
7. Research how your competitors do it
If you’re a fashion blogger, you must have figured out that there’s a lot of competition on Instagram. You need to be fast, persistent and creative in order to build and maintain a loyal fanbase!
It’s useful to keep an eye on some of your competitors, and see what works for them and what doesn’t. That way you can avoid certain posts and increase the winning ones. As Yasmin puts it:
”Discovering hashtags is quite the talent! There are so many out there and it’s important to utilize the right ones.”
8. Borrow inspiration from your favorite brands
It’s always a good idea to also keep up with some of the biggest brands and why not look for upcoming startup companies with strong social media presence. They are usually the ones to initiate a new trend or inspire you with a different Insta approach – whether it’s a particular way to cut your photos/videos, or a new hashtag!
Don’t forget that you can also connect with them!
Kitty highly recommends to make use of the tag option: ”One of the greatest benefits in tagging your photo to brands is that it allows them the opportunity to potentially repost your photo on their page and provide you the exposure you want.”
9. Check out websites that can help you plan your Insta feed better
Websites are useful not only for scheduling your posts, but also when it comes to picking your hashtags. Most Insta-helpers, such as Later (https://later.com/) and PlannThat (https://plannthat.com/), have free trials and cheap subscription options if you decide that you like their services!
Kitty, for instance, recommends the website Planoly (https://www.planoly.com/), which according to her has been the most helpful.
”Not only does it help you generate hashtags, it shows you the amount that it’s used, the key is to use a hashtag that isn’t used as frequently, so when people scroll through they’ll have a greater chance of seeing your photo!”
Her strategy is to use hashtags with less than 60,000 posts and a few here and there that are around 200,000, which is a different approach, but one that guarantees more exposure to new followers and extra views!
10. Participate in campaigns or support a cause
Another way to promote your blog is to get involved with a campaign or a cause. You’ll not only be supporting something greater than you, but you’ll also gain some extra supporters yourself.
One such example is the campaign #LikeAGirl organized from Always and Tampax. You can see the promotional video here:
I recommend this one as well:
There are almost 940,000 posts featuring the hashtag on Instagram.
When you join a campaign with such a positive message aimed towards improved equality and individual confidence, not only do you make yourself more discoverable, but also you actively participate in bringing changes to the status quo!
We all have an inner voice, which prefers and supports certain things while disliking others – hashtags are a way to let it free and reach others, and possibly make a difference!
Remember to use your hashtags responsibly and with great attention to detail!
If you’re just starting as a blogger and want to improve your social media strategy, check out some proven tips in my last article on how to get 15,000+ followers on Instagram!