If you’re not using the right hashtags on Instagram, then you’re wasting your time. When you search a hashtag on Instagram, you get two kinds of results:
- Top Posts
- Recent Posts
Top Posts are posts that the Instagram algorithm has deemed to be the most popular and relevant at the time of your search.
Because of their visibility, these posts are way more likely to be discovered by people and produce traffic to the page of the person who uploaded the post than non Top Post posts.
Recent Posts are posts uploaded recently to Instagram that are using the hashtag being searched for.
While not as likely to produce traffic for your page, having your post show up as a Recent Post can still help people and customers discover your Instagram page.
Before you even begin to worry about getting a post to rank as a Top Post or show up as a Recent Post, you have to know what hashtags to target.
What hashtags should you target?
In combination with content, people on instagram express their interests primarily through hashtags.
For example, someone uploading a post about custom gaming computers is going to use hashtags related to custom gaming computers, someone uploading a post about their cat is going to use hashtags related to cats, etc..
With that in mind, you want to know what hashtags that people who would be interested in your page are using and use these hashtags in your posts.
The purpose of this is so that when people search hashtags that they’re interested in, they see your posts, visit your page, follow you, visit your store, and so on.
If you rank as a Top Post for a hashtag that doesn’t relate to your target audience, people are going to check out your page after seeing your Top Post, realize that your page has nothing to do with their interests, and leave.
A formula to find what hashtags you should be targeting
Regardless of what kind of Instagram page you have, follow these steps to uncover what hashtags you should be targeting:
- Search three keywords related to your Instagram page in Instagram’s search bar.
- Under the “Tags” tab in the search results, write down all the major hashtags (more than 50,000 posts) that result from your search.
- Take your list of hashtags from above and explore each hashtag one-by-one, taking note of all the related hashtags shown horizontally
For a better idea on the process above, watch the GIF below:
Why the formula works
By searching keywords relating to your Instagram page, you are only going to find hashtags that related to your niche.
And because you are choosing hashtags with at least 50,000 posts, you know that there are people actively using and searching for these hashtags.
The cherry on top is targeting the smaller, more-niche hashtags related to your larger, more-popular hashtags.
Larger hashtags inevitably are harder to rank as a Top Post for because of how many people are using them. If you only target popular hashtags, you risk getting constantly shoved out of your Top Post position by other posts.
By targeting a combination of popular and less popular hashtags, you get the best of both worlds: you potentially rank as a Top Post for a super popular hashtag, and you more consistently rank as a Top Post for less popular but more targeted hashtags.
Let’s say you have an Instagram business having to do with skateboarding.
Naturally, you’re going to want to attract people who are interested in skateboarding as those are the people who are likely to follow you and buy your products.
Here’s how you would find useful hashtags for a skateboarding Instagram page:
- Search “Skateboarding” in the Instagram search bar.
- Go to the “Tags” tab from your search results and take note of hashtags with at least 50,000 posts (#skateboardingisnotacrime, in this case).
- Take your list of hashtags from above and explore each hashtag one-by-one, taking note of all the related hashtags shown horizontally (#skateeveryday, #skateboardingisfun, #skater, and #skateforlife shown in the image below.)
If you have a skateboarding business on Instagram, then the hashtags shown above are all examples of hashtags you want to be using in your posts.
If you rank as a Top Post for these kinds of hashtags, then you are very likely, if not guaranteed to attract skateboarding-interested people to your page who are likely to follow you and buy your products.
Use the tactics above to find out what hashtags you should be targeting to get on the radar of people who are likely to be interested in your kind of Instagram page and give you a follow.
Now that you have know what hashtags you should be be targeting, read this article to learn how to work with the Instagram algorithm increase your chances of ranking as a Top Post for those hashtags.
Sam is Editor at www.socialpros.co – a blog aimed at simplifying social media marketing practices for small businesses and everyday people. You can check out his latest article here.