One of the first questions I’m asked when consulting on a project is how to choose the right hashtags. In most cases, people assume you choose the most popular, slap them on and see what happens. There’s more to it, here is how to choose the right hashtags for Instagram.
Most guides, blogs and trainers will say the usual. Research the most popular hashtags, and add them to your post. Which is fine as you will get some exposure, but what if we put a little science behind it?
The Instagram Hashtag 10/10/10 rule
The team at Jumper media have a great approach which I’ve been adopting for myself and clients and that the 10/10/10 rule
In short, in order to get your Instagrams in front of loads of people >>> Your goal is to be seen on the explore page. That’s where you are going to get your likes, comments and followers.
In order to get there, you need to make sure your post is performing well from an engagement point of view. Likes and comments, as simple as that sounds. If Instagram notices some pickup on a post, it will push it to the explore page. So we split out hashtags. We split them form broad to niche. This allows you to get your content in front of various sized audiences and at some point gain that user engagement.
The first thing you need to do is split your tags into the following :
10 hashtags with a mention count between 10,000 – 50,000
10 hashtags with a mention count between 50,000 – 200,000
10 Hashtags with a mention count between 200,000 – 2,000,000
You will get a handful of like or comments from the smaller hashtags, a couple more from the medium ones and then a few from the bigger ones.
As you are tapping into these smaller – bigger groups the algorithm will see the engagement and possibly give you a bit of love and start placing you on the explore page. Make sense?
Niche to Broad Instagram Hashtags
I’ve always built tags around broad and niche and it has worked for me, with this approach you are targeting broad, broad specific and niche.
You have to chose the right hashtags though, the first time you research will take a bit of time, but its worth it. Eventually, you will start replacing tags with ones that work hard for you. Rather than just grabbing some tags, or assuming a bunch will do the job – look deeper into it. Clicking one tag on Instagram will open up a whole load more connotations and show you tags you didn’t think of.
I suggest you open Instagram on your desktop when doing tag research, that way you can open other tabs when digging deeper.
First thing I do is investigate the broad terms. For instance: Shoes, Trainers, Fashion. Something quite broad. I then go through posts with the most engagement and start looking into other tags they use. This is where the other tabs come into play. Right-click on a tag you are interested in and open in a new tab as you will discover more. Starting with broad tags will allow you to start finding the more niche tags users and brands use.
Two tools you can use to kickstart inspiration and research :
Investigate similar accounts, look at what they are tagging with and then find the connotations. You will start to go down a bit of a rabbit hole, but in time you will have 30 tags split across the groups. Now, this won’t be your ‘written in stone’ tags. There will be a learning curve. Monitor your tag usage with this handy little tool:
Also, take into account a campaign specific hashtag you need to add, or a unique tag for measurement. Incorporate them into your new list. (meaning research may need to be 29 tags). Revisit your tags often for your account until you eventually have a list of tags you know do well for you.
Build your lists thought this and then start applying them to your next posts.
This will help you get more exposure and grow those channels and engagement.
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