Outside of the content itself, Instagram hashtags that you use to quantify your Instagram posts are the most important SEO tactic on the platform. However, it is no longer good strategy to fill up your caption with every hashtag you can think of. Instagram is streamlining its search indexing in the same way as its parent company Facebook and its mentor Big Daddy Google, meaning that Instagram will soon punish wide net, gray hat strategies like Instagram hashtag spamming.
In the place of these older strategies, try the best practices for Instagram hashtags below for better results in attracting high converting customers in your target demographic.
Unless you have an extremely large following that comes back to your page no matter what you post, you should always be in customer acquisition mode. This means specifically describing your photos with your Instagram hashtags; otherwise, people do not know why to click on them as opposed to the myriad of pictures that surround yours on the hashtag index page. For instance – expand on popular coffee hashtags #coffeeoftheday or #coffeelife with another hashtag that describes exactly what you are drinking – #NicaraguaMaracaturra or #EthiopianYirghacheffe.
Location Instagram Hashtags
Localization is an effective hashtag strategy on Google, and is becoming almost as effective on Instagram. Don’t just post a picture of you looking great on the beach – tell people where you are! #killinginonbondibeach or #sippingchampagneatchampagne may attract new interest.
Stay Away From Spamtags
Another reason to stay far away from generic tags: They are generic Instagram tags are targeted by bots. Tags such as #socialmedia give horrible results. Anyone who finds your picture via this tag is less likely to take your profile seriously, if the view is even coming from a real person. Even if you somehow get the initial view, that person is less likely to return for your next offering.
The New and the Old Instagram Hashtags
You want to localize and specify, but you also want to be included on the big lists. Use the popular, generic hashtags so you can be included in popular indexes. People then have the opportunity to select you based on the quality of your pictures and the ingenuity of your original hashtags. Every hashtag should have a purpose – is it to break down the door or lead the customer down the new path?
Use Instagram Hashtags in Comments, Less in Captions
As alluded to before, spamming hashtags in your caption space is becoming less effective. One reason for this is that the average Instagram user has caught on to that strategy! Use a maximum of 3 hashtags in your caption; you still have the opportunity to put up to 30 hashtags in your comment space. This strategy is less distracting for your viewer, and you still get the same reach. TrackMaven has reported that one Instagram hashtag in the caption gives you the maximum reach , with any more than one becoming a distraction. Other reports have found that two hashtags work as well as one, but err on the side of caution.
Of course your Instagram hashtags must be relevant to the picture it is describing. For best results, however, your hashtags as a whole should fall in line with a brand. Your Instagram pictures are not taken in a vacuum. If you are doing your job right, people eventually begin to associate your entire Instagram profile with a certain theme. This theme could be coffee, beach living, or just a theme of having fun. If your audience associates your page with that theme, your hashtags will begin to receive priority in the minds of individual customers and in search index results. Be mindful of your overall brand as you tag individual pictures, and stick to a theme.
Hashtags Are Not About You
You can fight this all you want, but it is true. You must think of what the customer is coming to your page for, not why you think the picture is interesting. The customer interest is what is driving every view outside of your own, and the picture should be indexed according to that perspective!
Use Search, Use Competition, Use Twitter
If you are having trouble determining the hashtags to use for best results, do some research on the following:
- Instagram search – Become a media consumer for a minute and see how hashtags from the Instagram search function move you. Focus on people who are hastagging in your industry. You can get some creative ideas from them.
- Top competitors – If you know the top guys and gals in your industry, seek out your competitors on Instagram specifically to see what hashtags they are using. There is nothing wrong with piggybacking until you can figure out your own strategy.
- Twitter – This is a great place to find ideas to use on Instagram, because the audience the two platforms attract overlap. You will also learn how viral trends flow from platform to platform as you study Twitter and Instagram from this perspective.
Following the tips above gives you the potential to put your Instagram growth into overdrive. Think strategically; social media platforms tend to become more exclusive and difficult to “game” as they get older. Plan your strategy for the future and the present.
Any other best practices on Instagram hashtags that you feel my article is missing?