Let’s talk about Instagram hashtags… “Oh, what? Hashtags?!” I know, I know that may not sound very exciting. But truth to be told, hashtags on Instagram are everything! You can get more likes, more followers or even get featured, but that will only happen only if you use hashtags correctly. I spoke previously in this Instagram tips post on how important hashtags are, but I thought it’s worth expanding this topic further because of the most recent Instagram update. The ‘Popular Post’ feature back (YAY!) and that has opened up more opportunities for Instagram promotion via hashtags.
Briefly, the Popular Post feature elevates a photo with the most likes in the shortest period of time to the ‘Top Posts’ section at the top of the feed for a specific hashtag. Only 9 photos get featured at a time and everyone (i.e. hundreds of thousands) who check this feed will see the top 9. If featured, you’ll see a significant boost in likes for that photo and quite a few new followers*. If you get your photos featured every day, there will be a flood of new Instagram followers! The key to getting featured like this? The strategic use of the humble hashtag.
Here’s an example of how the ‘Top Posts’ section on Instagram looks like. My photo (I hope these red lips look familiar!) was featured recently for #instared hashtag out of over 162,000 photos posted with the same tag.
So here’s my best 5 tips for the most efficient use of Instagram hashtags:
1. Keep it clean.
One of the most common mistakes is to add a dozens of hashtags in your caption or even worse, hashtagging every second word in a sentence. Both of these actions make your caption less legible and your account looks unprofessional. Keep hashtags separate from the caption. If you really must, use 1-2 most relevant hashtags in the caption.
2. Be relevant.
The best Instagram hashtags are the ones that describe your content as accurately as possible. In addition to the obvious tags like #nailart or #instanails for a nail art pic, there are dozens of other tags you can use to maximise your photo’s visibility. Eg, for a predominantly blue photo, use both #blue and #instablue. For makeup related photos – #makeupaddict, #makeuplove, #instabeauty, etc. Just make sure you’re keeping your hashtags relevant to the content of your photo to get the best results. You don’t want to frustrate people browsing #catsofInstagram only to see your #nailsoftheday. People who are interested in cats want to see cats, not nails. They are missing out, but whatever… don’t mess with cat ladies!
3. Use popular Instagram hashtags.
Research and create a list of popular Instagram hashtags and use the most relevant for your photos. Where do you find popular hashtags? In the caption! Yes, the caption but don’t just add them there, use your caption to research ;) So grab your smartphone now, begin uploading a photo on Instagram and in the caption start typing with a # symbol whatever hashtag you’d like to use. Instagram will offer a selection of hashtags starting with the same word – just pick the hashtags at the top of the list and write them down somewhere. With this trick you’ll create your own customised list of hashtags.
4. Use feature hashtags.
The idea behind using feature hashtags is to get featured by the popular feature accounts. I’ve explained here why getting featured on Instagram is the best thing ever. Now, where do you find feature hashtags? Browse Instagram to find a few feature accounts that are relevant to you. There are hundreds of them for any topic – nail art, travelling, beauty, shopping, etc. Each of these accounts have their own hashtags, usually stated in their profile. For instance, there is the #Chanellover tag for the @ChanelLover account and there are #sonailicious and #snfanfeature hashtags created by yours truly to promote and feature other nail artists.
So you have your list of relevant, popular and feature hashtags, now what? Add them manually to each photo every time? God no! That would be such a waste of time. One simple piece of advice that I always share with my clients and students at seminars** is – send yourself an email containing your hashtag list. Every time you post a photo on Instagram and need to add hashtags, just cut and paste the hashtags from this message. Of course remove any hashtags that aren’t relevant and add new ones that are. Done!
Now a little present for you my brave nail art warriors…
BONUS! A Cut and Paste list of nail Instagram hashtags:
#sonailicious #nailarttutorial #
What’s your favourite Instagram hashtags? Have you been hashtagging like a boss with any of the tips above?
– Maria, xx
* That will happen if your Instagram feed features beautiful AND relevant photos. Here’s some of my best tips for stunning Instagram photos.
** More about our Social Media For Business seminars next week.