What a week we have had over on Insta –you guys loved our Huddle Lab Hashtaclass and we had some great students messaging us in the DM’s. Well done everyone!

Here we round up everything you have learnt this week…..

Take it away Adam!

Do you use hashtags on your Instagram posts but can’t understand why it’s not helping grow your profile and increase engagement levels?

First things first… if you’re not a celebrity, mega influencer or massive company account, you need to be using hashtags on a regular basis. It’s that simple.

But let’s make it clear from the off, that doesn’t mean using any old hashtags, it needs proper planning and as you will soon find out, it isn’t difficult to achieve.

For the purpose of thig blog, we will be using a Pizza company to showcase examples of how to achieve a fully functioning and thought-out hashtag strategy.

 

Get the basics right first

But first the basics! How many hashtags are you using?

You can use up to 30 in your Instagram posts so use them all!

Whilst it is very much up for discussion whether posting your hashtags in your copy or as the first comment increases reach and engagement, there has been no official word on which performs best, so take your pic and mix it up to see if it does make a difference for your performance.

One thing you do need to avoid when it comes to hashtags is using banned hashtags because whilst Instagram will let you use them, it won’t show your content to anyone other than those who follow you – a very good example of one of those banned hashtags is #ValentinesDay.

Creating your hashtag strategy

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty bit, but also the most exciting part… creating your hashtag groups.

Hashtag groups? What? Don’t worry, it’s not a new complicated term that you need to understand, it’s just a great way of creating and then organising your strategy.

So, grab a pen and a piece of paper and quickly note down three or four topics that are relevant to your business or the content pillars you aim to cover in your content planning.

For our Pizza company, that could be pizza, dinner time, vegan (for their plant-based range) and Italy (for the origins of their product).

Got them all? Good, let’s move onto the next step!

Now you have those key topic areas, you then need to look at buzzwords that relate to them, so for our Pizza company example that could be… pizza recipe and pizza toppings (for Pizza), quick dinner recipes and dinner ideas (for Dinner time), vegan pizza and plant-based food (for Vegan) and Italian ingredients and Italian food (for Italy).

With those keywords to hand, you’re now about to hit the exciting bit… searching for those on Instagram itself!

So grab your phone, search for some of your keywords i.e. “veganpizza” and look at all those suggested hashtags which appear in the ‘tags’ section.

Size really does matter

The first thing you may have noticed is that the hashtags include a range of numbers underneath them. For example, after searching “veganpizza” you are given #veganpizza with 742k posts but then #veganpizzas with 5000+ posts.

This is simply the number of times that posts have been posted using that specific hashtag.

The important next step is to collate a range of these hashtag sizes, with three areas being covered… small (1k-15k), medium (50k-100k) and large (100-200k).

Using the smaller and more medium hashtags means your content is more likely to get seen when people search for that hashtag. Of course, you should use some of those that fit into the larger 100-200k category and a mix is definitely the way to go, but focus mainly on the smaller and medium sized hashtags.

If you are a small vegan brand for example, there is no point in using #vegan (107 million posts) because you simply won’t get seen ahead of those with a massive following.

Instead you should be looking to use hashtags such as #plantbasedfoodie (240k posts) and #veganlunchbox (39.7k).

As we mentioned earlier it is important that you vary the size of those hashtags across those three size groups, but it’s also crucial that you mix up which hashtags you use. Don’t use the same ones everytime, choose hashtags from your different topic areas and continuously search and look for new ones.

Do some testing too, keep an eye on your analytics and see which hashtags and which hashtag groups are bringing you more reach and engagement.

A simple dive into your insights on the Instagram app will inform you how many accounts a post reached that weren’t following you already and how many of your impressions came from the explore page and ultimately your hashtags.

So remember… pick those topics relevant to your business, identify those keywords, search for them on Instagram, create a collection of hashtags of varying sizes and then start including them in your posts.

The more you get your hashtag strategy right, the more searchable you will come, allowing you to organically increase your reach, following and engagement.

 

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