Have you ever seen those Instagram posts with an excessive number of hashtags that seem hardly relevant to the actual content? Us too. So, then, why are people using these hashtags? What makes them popular?
Hashtags and Engagement
“Instagram hashtags are one of the most important things you can use to help your social media posts get seen, but it is important that you use them correctly.” – Like A Voss
Studies show that photos posted with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement than a post without hashtags. This number increases, even more, when multiple hashtags are used. It must be under Instagram’s maximum hashtag limit, though, which is 30 per post. In fact, a good number of hashtags in a single post is actually 11!
“The consensus is that about 11 hashtags is a good number to start with. But the most common number of hashtags to use on Instagram is between 1 and 3.” – Hootsuite
PSA: Don’t ever reach the limit of 30 hashtags on a personal Instagram post as it can come off as desperate and significantly dilute your authenticity. Looking authentic is vital for a successful Instagram!
With all of this being said, although more hashtags may give you more likes and followers, these are not always the followers you want to attract.
Using multiple hashtags just-for-kicks with no real importance can attract bots and spam-y followers who are only interested in follow-backs and will unfollow you if you don’t. You don’t want followers like this. They are the kinds that will make your engagement rates look terrible, as you may have lots of followers but no one will actually be liking and commenting on your posts. The Instagram algorithm doesn’t like social media profiles that are like this, so make sure your hashtags are relevant and limited.
In 2018, Instagram introduced a new update that allows users to follow specific hashtags. This is good news for those who use relevant hashtags in their posts as their content can be pushed directly into a user’s feed if that user is following one of the hashtags they used. The user followed that hashtag for a reason, so if your content is relevant to it you might just get a like or follow!
Unfortunately, this feature also means that users can choose to unfollow certain hashtags simply by selecting “Don’t Show for This Hashtag.” This means your hashtags may also hide your content from someone who unfollowed one of the hashtags you used, so be careful!
This feature on Instagram forces relevant hashtag use. This may seem challenging at first but will definitely raise the quality of followers that you can earn with your content.
Placement of Hashtags
So, it’s proven that using multiple hashtags can increase your posts engagement rates, but does that mean you should interrupt your caption with multiple hashtags? No.
Instead, here is a tip:
Write your caption, then add space between text and the upcoming hashtags. This allows people to read your caption unbothered and scroll down if they wish to read your hashtags. You can also cut the hashtags from the caption altogether and put them in the first comment. Check out this blog to learn what option is best for you.
If you choose to put them in the caption, be sure to add a bullet point, hyphens, periods, etc on each line between your caption and the hashtags as a space keeper. Without this, Instagram will ignore the spaces and not push your hashtags to the bottom of your caption.
Most Popular Hashtags
If you need some ideas as to where to get started with hashtags, here is a list of the 50 most popular hashtags in 2021 according to Hootsuite:
Despite this list, remember to use hashtags that are relevant and specific to your business, product, or service. You can look up the top hashtags for any category, such as marketing, beauty, writing, and so on. Make sure you get your information from somewhere that is reliable and up-to-date. Things are always changing in the world of social media.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to hashtag etiquette on Instagram is that your hashtags are relevant. Without relevance, your hashtags are going to do more harm than good!
Do you use hashtags on your Instagram? What strategies do you use when choosing what to hashtag? Let us know in the comments below!
Need help with your hashtags on Instagram or any other social media-related matters? Contact us today to set up a FREE discovery session with our team – we’d love to help!
This blog post was originally published in April 2018 and has been edited to improve accuracy and readability.