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Hashtags have become essential tools for content creators to get exposed to new audiences and remain relevant within their online communities. This is why it’s essential to take time to do hashtag research to give your posts their best chance to shine.

Ah, good ole hashtags. I remember when Instagram was ‘the new thing’ and people were posting photos using hashtags for all the #random #words #that #came #to #their #mind. Instagram has come a long way since then, and so has the strategy behind hashtag research to boost the performance of Instagram posts.

There is a lot more to this practice than simply inputting all the words you can think of that go with your photo or video. If you strategically plan out your hashtags, your chances of getting more exposure and engagement increase significantly. Here are some tips to make sure your hashtag game is strong with every Instagram post:

Identify Your Niche In The Community

Photo of someone taking a flat lay pictureFashion lovers, foodies, travelholics, fitness enthusiasts, dogs with Instagram accounts. There are tons of communities within Instagram that bring people with similar interests together through the beautiful means of content creation. Finding which communities will engage with and benefit from your content the most is an important first step to boosting your exposure.

Ask yourself what you like about the content you see in the community and how you can make yours fit in. Use the discovery page to your advantage and scroll through photos and accounts that follow your same interests. Look at what they are doing to get high engagement and, most importantly, what hashtags they are using. 

Be Strategic About Using Popular And Competitive Hashtags

Just because a hashtag has millions of posts behind it does not necessarily mean your content will benefit from it. You have to think about how many posts will be fighting to get to the top pages of that hashtag, and how quickly your content can get buried under the madness if you don’t get enough engagement.

If you have a fashion business, for example, you will find MANY posts under hashtags like #Fashion and #OutfitOfTheDay. While these are great hashtags in the fashion community, and you don’t want to leave them out, your focus should be on more specific topics that can expose you to more niche audiences. 

You can include seasons in your hashtags to make your content more relevant. An example would be #FallFashion or #WinterWardrobe. They are both catchy and a little more specific than #Fashion. You’ll want to have a healthy balance between broad and precise, and between popular and unpopular hashtags, so your content has a chance to show up in different people’s newsfeed.

Use Tools To Track The Performance Of Your Hashtags And Give You Additional Ideas

As you can probably guess, there are a ton of tools you can use to help you with hashtag research. A lot of content management programs like Buffer, Sprout Social, and Later will give you detail reports of the performance of your posts and the hashtags you’re using. Even without specific analytics, you can experiment with different hashtag approaches and see how your posts do over time. Based on the results, you can tweak your tactics based on what seems to be working.

The performance and popularity of hashtags are constantly changing, as they depend on trending topics, current events, and different times of the year. This means you should regularly conduct hashtag research to make sure you’re following best practices and that new audiences are consistently discovering your content. 

Hashtag research can be a lot of work, and it can be tricky to get your Instagram page set up for success. If you have any questions about doing this or would like some help getting more online exposure, contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation:

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