Hashtags hashtags hashtags. With Instagram’s new algorithm, it feels like all everyone is talking about is hashtags. Where to put them, when to use them, which ones to use, which ones not to use. When I started my lifestyle blog in February, I would search for “lifestyle blogger hashtags” and would place the top 30 hashtags into my Instagram posts. Of course this hashtag strategy helps find other people in your niche but it wasn’t helping me gain as many followers as I thought it would.
When I started Katie Mander, I began doing more intense research. I discovered that it was a poor strategy to put the top hashtags into your posts when you are starting out and trying to build a following. Here’s why:
When a hashtag becomes too popular, your photo will disappear into the mix after just a few minutes. You will have almost no chance of getting your photo into the top 9 photos for that hashtag. Those 9 photos are key because your image will stay at the top of the hashtag’s page for a while instead of lowering as more people use the hashtag.
For example, a popular hashtag for lifestyle bloggers is #thatsdarling. This hashtag has been used over 12 million times – your photo will be gone into the hashtag abyss within 3 minutes.
I have started to use only the hashtags that have been used less than 100k times. This gives you a much better chance of getting onto the top posts for that hashtag.
I posted an Instagram about creating content calendars and used 30 smaller, relevant hashtags. Of those 30, my post made it to top posts in 13 of them! You can see it highlighted in pink below. The first time that I used this strategy, I woke up the following morning with 2x as many followers as the day before. Each time I do this, I gain more followers than I used to.
Once you start building your following, you should start using some of the bigger hashtags. Basically, you want to use the relevant hashtags that will land you in the top posts. But using too big of hashtags too early will not do you any good!
Another suggestion is to use Planoly. Planoly is an Instagram planner that I love because it allows you to see what your feed will look like with the new photo. It lets you plan as far in advance as you need to. And they just added a new feature this week – hashtag lists! Now you can add all of the hashtags you use into a list – saves you from writing out all 30 hashtags each time!
Do you know of another hashtag strategy that will help an Instagram grow quickly? Let me know below!