The idea of Instagram hashtags has a polarizing effect on users: some thrive on using them in their posts, covering every corner and crevice, while others try to keep every post clean and tidy.
But like them or not, Instagram search works with hashtags, and the only way you can grow your followers is to apply the "#" sign to your posts.
In this Instagram hashtag guide, you will learn how to work with them in a way that won't put off your current and potential followers but help you build a following network. Let's start.
1. Don't abuse hashtags
Before you start using hashtags, you should first learn how to search on Instagram. Do you like posts of your friends who use a ton of hashtags? Oh, someone wants to buy Dogecoin and has just 5 hashtags. Let's like this post! Even if you like the Instagram content of your followers, using a ton of hashtags won't make you press the like button. Instead, you will feel like someone is trying to "cheat" the system and that someone is part of your network. So, no, do not abuse hashtags.
2. Find relevant hashtags
Relevancy is key if you want to grow your followers on Instagram. There are plenty of reasons why using the most popular hashtags won't help your cause:
They are not specific
Many people just scroll pictures without intent
Tons of spam bots are liking and commenting
You have minimal chances to qualify among the best images.
If you pick relevant hashtags without multi-million follows, you might find a good niche to even start doing business. What's more, the people who follow these hashtags, are people who can get more easily engaged with you, hence giving you a chance to become a real influencer!
3. Try to tweak hashtags until you find the right ones
The best way to define which hashtags will be most effective for your post is to test them out. Regularly try different hashtags and then take time to analyze the results afterwards. This will help you fine-tune your hashtag strategy for maximum impact. Of course, be prepared to spend a lot of time analyzing your performance, as testing and coming up with accurate results is time-consuming. Don't rush it. Rome wasn't built in a day.
4. Start using hashtags on stories
If you're looking to get more traffic to your profile, one great way to do so is by posting stories frequently, as they can bring you lots of new visitors or followers. Also make sure to use hashtags in your stories, as you can get extra visibility on your profile, but don't go overboard - 2-3 hashtags are more than enough, as you don't want to get spammy, and you definitely don't want hashtags to overshadow your original content!
5. Avoid banned hashtags
If you're things of a way to get more engagement on your Instagram posts, avoid using hashtags like #like4like or #follow4follow. These are considered spam by Instagram, and your post may be hidden if the platform finds them. It's tempting to ask for a return favor, but Instagram wants everything to happen naturally, and cheating once could damage your profile forever. So, as the saying goes, 'It's better to be safe than sorry.'
6. Start using a hashtag software
Who would suppose those things exist? Well, sometimes you may worry that all of your marketing efforts are going to be in vain if you don't have the right hashtags to help promote them. Luckily, there are many free and paid software solutions out there that can make things much easier for you — from searching through popular posts with similar tags to creating a library of appropriate hashtags.
Of course, they are all different by nature and you should pick them according to your tastes and preferences. Some might come with better UX, others are more helpful. What we can say is there is something for everyone.
7. Create your OWN branded hashtag
The best hashtag for your brand might be one you create yourself. A branded hashtag is just a tag that you create to promote your own brand or campaign through social media and communication.
You can use a branded hashtag in your Instagram bio and story captions to drive engagement — but also consider running a contest with a branded hashtag to generate unique user content that furthers your engagement efforts.
To sum up
If you're looking to elevate your Instagram following, there are a few things you can do to make it happen. First and foremost, be consistent with your posting. This will help you build up a base of dedicated followers who appreciate your content and will expect to see it regularly. Secondly, use hashtags the right way. If you do these things, you will be way above your competition!