Are you looking to boost your social media strategy on Instagram? Most of the Instagram experts are going to tell you to do hashtag research. I’m here to tell you exactly how I organize hashtags to help me find ideal clients, while still growing my audience. Here are the best tips for doing Instagram hashtag research in 2021.
Why should you include hashtags in your captions?
Instagram hashtags can make a big difference in boosting your Instagram engagement. In fact, just one hashtag included in a post receives 12.6% more engagement on average. (source)
So if you add hashtags to your captions, there is a lot more potential to increase the impressions that each Instagram post receives.
For months, I spent hours and hours doing research on how to best use the platform. The end game for most entrepreneurs is to have a cohesive feed, an engaged following, and plenty of visibility!
So, how can you accomplish those things?
I’m going to tell you exactly how I shaped my research strategy and organize my hashtags to easily add to my Instagram captions.
When you’re searching for Instagram tips on the web, the first bit of advice that you’ve probably come across contains one word: hashtags.
How to Do Instagram Hashtag Research
It’s easy enough to copy and paste hashtags into your caption. However, I found out rather quickly that this method isn’t good enough.
In fact, it’s a bad tactic because you could easily be using hashtags that aren’t working for your brand. Imagine using hashtags on every single post that aren’t bringing you potential customers. Yikes!
Sure, you’ll get a quick burst of likes… but nothing else.
There are still too many people that are using the platform with the “likes for likes” mindset. As entrepreneurs that want to use Instagram to market, this strategy won’t help us in the long run.
Since I started committing to my own Instagram strategy, I became determined to perfect the hashtag strategy.
Algorithms are tough eggs to crack. If you work in its favor, it WILL reward you. I promise!
I’ve been using Instagram for quite some time. One thing I learned to be absolutely true is that using the correct hashtags can make a significant difference.
Not only do they increase your engagement, but they help you discover your ideal audience. I’m going to show you exactly how I organize my hashtags and how I apply them to my Instagram posts.
I’m here to tell you that I researched and found 100 – yes, one hundred! – hashtags that worked for me.
Once you see the breakdown, you’re going to understand why I make a list of 100 hashtags to use.
You can only have 30 on each post, but having 100 hashtags ready to go makes it easy to plug and play with a variety that you have.
Criteria for Instagram Hashtags
When I’m searching for hashtags, here is the criteria that I look for:
- The hashtag should ideally have less than 250,000 posts
- The feed should be cohesive and consistent
- The feed should be active on a daily basis but not overwhelming
- There should be a sense of community, meaning that people are seeking out this hashtag for a specific reason
Tags that have less than 250,000 are a good place to start because they aren’t terribly oversaturated and spammy.
They should be consistent with a pretty cohesive because, for one, those are my kind of people.
And two, it shows that the tag is very niche. I also check to see how often posts are being shared under each tag.
A new up-and-coming hashtag may only have 3,000 posts but maybe there are 100 accounts that are adding to it daily. That’s a perfect opportunity to join a new and thriving community!
Types of Instagram Hashtags
I also want to share with you the types of hashtags that I find. Combining them into equal ratios has worked well for me.
Hashtags are almost like a search engine like Google.
If someone is searching for #veganrecipes, it’s because they want to try some new vegan recipes!
Keep this in mind when you gather your list of hashtags… which hashtags will attract your ideal customers?
How do You Find Instagram Hashtags?
I find most of the hashtags I use directly on Instagram. When you start to type in a word after the #, you can see that hashtags start showing up.
Consistency on social media is incredibly important for growing your brand. That’s the stepping stone for building an audience because people will remember you once they start to recognize your brand.
Therefore, I look for branded hashtags that relate to my business.
Here are a few groups of Instagram hashtags that I use that relate to my brand:
#pinterestmarketing #pinterestmanager #pinteresttips #pinterestseo
#seotips #seotipsandtricks #searchengineoptimization #seomarketing #googleseo #seotipsforbeginners
#bloggingtips #blogginggals #blogmanager #bloggingassistant
#virtualassistant #virtualassistantservices #virtualassistantforhire
Storytelling and community-building are two factors that I believe turn entrepreneurs into 6-figure business owners.
With that being said, community hashtags are probably the best way to increase your engagement. Whenever I use these hashtags, I see more likes and comments on my posts.
In order to find community hashtags, you may have to do some digging outside of Instagram.
Look for other people in your niche. Look for Facebook groups of like-minded people. Listen to podcasts.
Here are some hashtags I found that have growing communities filled with people who all have a common goal – to grow successful businesses.
While networking with your local peers may not be a priority, I find that location hashtags can help you connect with people that live close to you.
One way to build community is to meet locals for coffee! How do I find them? I use local hashtags in my posts.
These hashtags are critical for brick-and-mortar businesses and photographers that want exposure in their local community.
Finally, the target hashtags are where your ideal clients are hanging out. These types of hashtags will help you connect with your target audience.
These are the most important for your business. Most hashtags are relatively easy to determine who is using them.
I’ll provide some examples to give you context:
- #SoLovelySoFree – creative entrepreneurs
- #TheKitchn – food bloggers and food photographers
- #FemmeTravel – female travel bloggers
While those are some samples of my ideal clients, you can find hashtags for virtually any industry.
We’ve broken down the hashtags and why they’re important. Now let’s answer the big question:
Why do you need to find 100 hashtags?
I get it, that sounds like a lot. But having a list of hashtags will make your life much easier.
Here is why I do it.
I want to have a variety to choose from and using the same 30 hashtags over and over again isn’t the best strategy.
To help me stay ahead of the game, it helps me to find those 100 hashtags that work for me and organize them into a spreadsheet.
Within that spreadsheet, I group hashtags together and follow that ratio that I mentioned above. My target hashtags will be the first 15 hashtags. The other 15 will be a combination of brand, community, and location.
My goal here is to achieve some engagement but also to find potential clients as well as connect with people that live close to me. These might not be the same goals that you have, and that’s okay!
Think about it, and strategize the ratio that will work best for you.
How do I know if a hashtag is working?
You can check your Instagram insights to see how well your hashtags are performing. Under Insights, there is a section titled Discovery, which breaks up the different ways your post was seen on Instagram.
You do have to have a business account in order to see your insights.
When you open the Instagram app, click on your profile picture in the bottom right corner. This will take you to your Instagram profile with all of your posts.
From there, click on a post you want to review to expand it. When you have a business account, you will see an option to “View Insights”. Click on that.
This is the pop-up you will see after you click on insights. Go to the bottom to the Discovery breakdown. There is one that says “From Hashtags” which will tell you how many Instagram users saw your posts from the hashtags within that post.
Which one of the hashtag tools do you recommend?
All Hashtag is a good place to start. You type in a word into the search bar and it generates similar hashtags almost instantly. However, I do recommend that you look up each hashtag directly on Instagram. You want to check and make sure that they’re not spammy or too cluttered with Instagram posts.
I hope you found this quick strategy guide useful. The algorithm is working so well for me now, so it was important for me to pass on the favor! And, if you’d like to read more tips on increasing your Instagram engagement, I found a lot of valuable advice in this article.
Now I want to know, what are your favorite hashtags to use on Instagram? Share them below!
By the way, I’ve already done some Instagram hashtag research for you: