How to Find Hashtags to Use On Instagram

You’ve got great content to share and now you want to ensure it has the best organic reach as possible. This looks like a job for having the right hashtags. Don’t be like your mom and just make them up as you go along – they’re not an alternate caption. Here is how to find the best hashtags to use on Instagram with the goal of getting more engagement with your profile.

To manage your hashtags, use a notepad like Notes, Evernote, etc. Keep this handy because you’ll be copy and pasting to and from them. While making your lists, group them into 30 and create a new note. Instagram only allows 30 hashtags per image, and this saves time later. I like to use the 10-10-10 rule for these, where the first 10 have very high post counts, the second 10 are lower (between 10,000-100,000) and the last 10 are under 10,000. This spread ensures your influence moves fast with the popular stream, and is findable by niche users too.

Instagram wants to surface content which users engage with. The reward is appearing on the Explore tag, where people can find content related to their own. Appearing here is the ultimate boost – you just need to figure out how to get there using the visibility earned from using the right hashtags.

Step 1: Be Your Audience

First, you have to see what the current experience and competition is like for the words you know. This is similar to competitive research for head terms in SEO. Go the search screen and type in the first thing that comes to mind. If it has more than 1 millions posts, throw it out. You don’t want to use these hyper-popular hashtags, since so many people use them you’re be a fly on the windshield of the explore tab. Find 10 which have less than 1 million posts, by typing in your main word and looking at the options which begin to auto-fill. Each one has a post count next to it. You can go down this list, or click on one and view the related hashtags on the top. This method isn’t as efficient as it does not have post counts.

Step 2: Find Your Niche

Next, find 10 more with about 100,000-500,000 posts. This middle ground will reach a relatively wide audience, but still enjoy a somewhat persistent appearance for the hashtag, since not many are used daily. If you find more than 10 copy down the other ones too.

Step 3: Build Your Niche

For the last 10, find hashtags with less than 100,000 posts. These will be super-niche, and sometimes more characters. This group is great because they’re much more targeted and precise, allowing for greater chances of earning followers from people seeking out that specific content. Additionally, your content will stay visible because not many new posts will push it down the list (due to low usage).

Pro Tips

  • Emojis can be used in hashtags. Don’t ignore them when searching. Some have the perfect numbers.
  • Test them. Use different blocks of 30 on different posts and see which ones perform the best.
  • Research them often. Hashtags are best used for trends, and new ones pop up all the time. If you can get on board with one while it rises in popularity, you’ll be riding the wave.
  • Put your hashtags in the first comment, not in the caption. They’ll be clean and hidden from view, but give you more room to add spaces in your captions, add emojis, or just keeping the focus on a simple caption.

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