Hashtags – How many should you use? Which ones? And what’s shadow banning anyway? Do hashtags actually make any difference & do you really need them to grow?
If you want to grow your Instagram, the answer is a thousand times yes, you DO need to use hashtags. But how do you know which ones to use? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this blogpost, I’m going to teach you how to create a personalised hashtag list that increases engagement and accelerates your growth on Instagram. Ready?
1. Look at Competitors Hashtags
Have a think about who your competitors are, or what other accounts exist in your personal niche. Do some research into what kind of hashtags they use & make a note of the ones that feel relevant to your own feed.
2. Keep It Relevant
Always keep hashtags relevant to what you’re posting. If you post a photo of your workout routine, don’t include things like #cityscenes or #cakesofinstagram. Instagram penalises users that don’t use hashtags authentically, so make sure you’re always keeping it relevant.
Keeping it relevant also means that the right people will find your page – people that are interested in the content that you’re posting and are likely to follow for more.
3. Use Community Hashtags
Take some time to research the community hashtags that exist in your niche. For example, travel bloggers might use hashtags such as ‘girlsthattravel’ or ‘solofemaletravel’. These community style hashtags usually have much higher engagement than other hashtags, as those in the community tend to ‘follow’ the hashtag. This means that there are plenty of people with eyes on that hashtag searching for people who are creating content like yours.
4. Use this Hashtag Formula
Still feeling lost as to what kind of hashtags to use? Try giving this formula a go.
15 general relevant hashtags – for example, if you were a baker you might use hashtags such as #bakingaddict, #bakinggoals, or #bakingblog.
5 highly specific hashtags – e.g. #sourdoughbaker, #pbcookies, or #cheesecakebrownies
5 location specific hashtags – e.g. #londonbaker, #westlondonbaker, or #ukbaker
5 niche specific hashtags – e.g. #veganbaking, #menwhobake, or #weddingcakesofinstagram
5. Avoid Banned Hashtags
Using certain hashtags can lead to your account being shadow banned. This means that Instagram won’t share your content as much with its other users, meaning your engagement is likely to drop & you’re unlikely to get new followers.
Banned hashtags include anything that could be seen as sexual e.g. #bikinibody, #humpday, or #undies, anything spammy e.g. #mustfollow, or too broad. If a hashtag already has millions of uses, it’s probably not worth using anyway, as your post will quickly get lost.
6. Use Line Breaks
Make sure to use line breaks between your caption and your hashtags to make your post look less spammy. Don’t know how to input line breaks? Check out my blog post explaining how to create line breaks in your Instagram captions, here.
7. How Many?
There’s no hard & fast rule on how many Instagram captions to use. Some experts suggest capping it at 10, whilst others recommend you use the full 30. I’d say use however many are relevant. If you can find 30 hashtags that are relevant to your post, then go for it! I personally tend to use between 15 and 25 hashtags per post.
8. Take Note
Write down a list of hashtags that are relevant to your niche in your note-taking app of choice. That way you can easily copy and paste when needed, instead of constantly having to research hashtags each time you post. I like to put together a handful of lists comprising of around 10 hashtags that I can copy and paste onto my post. I can then rotate through these to make sure I’m mixing it up.
Looking to Level Up Your Instagram?
Check out my Instagram Growth Series, which takes you through everything you need to do in order to grow your Instagram – from writing the perfect bio to creating a killer theme. I’m spilling all the secrets:
- Craft the perfect bio
- Write captions that convert
- Create quality content
- Create a cohesive theme
- Build a personalised hashtag list that works
- Utilise stories to increase engagement
- Manage your online community & find new followers