A Handy Guide to Hashtagging

Never underestimate the power of using a hashtag – and doing it properly.

The difference between knowing how to hashtag with purpose, and randomly plucking some generic term out of nowhere is immense. That’s right, ‘#blessed’ and ‘#summer’ are not going to cut it anymore, sorry. 

Your choice of hashtags could be the difference between your post reaching new potential followers, or barely being seen by those who already follow you. So, to avoid your content being lost in the Instagram void, we have set out some tips below on how to hashtag properly, to maximize reach and help you grow your account.

Think like a follower

Considering these are the people that you are engaging with on Dollar Eighty, put yourself in their shoes. What kinds of people do you want your post to reach? What might they search or hashtag their posts with? Consider this and hashtag accordingly.

How many tags should I do?

There are no set rules on how many hashtags you should do, but remember, quality over quantity. The risk that you run into with posting every hashtag under the sun is that the IG algorithm won’t pick up on your post, because it won’t understand what type of post you have created, or your intended niche.

How do I know which hashtags to choose?

Choosing purposeful hashtags will categorise your post in such a way that you can decide who sees your content. We know that this can be hard to get right, so we have set out some ways that you can take a generic, overplayed hashtag, and make it work for you.

Different hashtags have different amounts of reach and engagement. Let’s look at an example we can all get on board with… #DOGS!

#Dogs has a huge number of posts (over 120,000,000), compared to something more specific like #FoodForDogs (27,000), #AccessoriesForDogs (11,500), or #AucklandDogs (58,000). If you were an IG account within this community, you would think about hashtags that cover different bases in order to hashtag with purpose.

The trick is to cover all of your bases – again, without overdoing it! In order to do this well, you need to understand the IG #algorithm.

Community-based tags: These are more generic tags which will help you gain reach in a more general sense. Keep these basic. We recommend looking into posts under these tags and seeing what other people have shared in order to narrow down your other tags. It is less likely that your post will come up in the ‘Top Posts’ section, but if it does, you have a significant chance of increasing your engagement.

TIP: If you are a local business, make sure you add your city or country to some of these hashtags. Because a user from Austria may not be very interested in engaging with a barber in Australia for instance.

Personal tags: These tags should be personalized to your niche and IG profile. We recommend using these tags in all of your posts, so that when people are searching for you and click on the tag, it is linked to all your other posts. Use the name of your business/account, or a personal slogan – or both! Categorizing your content by these specific hashtags will help people find your profile and page.

TIP: We recommend using these hashtags on your IG Stories and in your Bio too, to keep your profile closely associated with these specific tags.

Post specific tags: For each different post that you make, there will be opportunity to vary up the hashtag, based on what you are posting. These help to boost reach by hashtagging what is in the post.

TIP: Add the location, subject, and/or intent of the post to the hashtags for reach individual post.

Bearing all of this in mind, we suggest that you never use the exact same combination of hashtags. This could appear spam-like, and won’t encourage the IG algorithm to pick up your post. Just because it works once – doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to be successful every time!

And while you’re at it, check the hashtag’s current posts.

If you were to place your post amongst the others, would it fit in nicely, or stand out (in a good way)? This is a good indicator of whether you are picking the right hashtags for your post.

Should I post tags in comments or captions?

We get that sometimes a bunch of hashtags aren’t exactly the most aesthetically pleasing thing to be sitting at the bottom of your caption. If you are worried about posts appearing spammy or untidy, use a line break before you add your hashtags. You can use hashtags in the comments if you prefer, but maximum engagement on a post is more likely where the tags are included in the main caption. Consider adding your ‘post specific’ tags in the caption, and the ‘personal’ and ‘community-based’ ones in the caption.

Now it’s time to get hashtagging! Remember, the most important thing you can do is give it a go. Practice makes perfect, and trial and error is the key to becoming a hashtag master.

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