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Features / 27 Jun 2018

Do’s and Don’ts with Instagram Hashtags

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Instagram Hashtags… We’ll be honest – they’ve long been a source of contention in our office, as they are in many other agencies. Do you put hashtags in the caption, lump them all in the comments or,

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add them all after a series of full stops, to give it ‘depth’? Well we’ve come up with our style guide to perfect the feed, every time.

Choosing Hashtags

Choosing hashtags has quite often become a guessing game, meaning your content doesn’t reach the audience that it can through a targeted selection.

Do:

  • Use tools such as Moz and Buzzsumo to find trends within your industry. Cater your hashtags to these.
  • Use a tool like Socialblade to see how your competitors are performing. Analysis of their hashtags can boost your Instagram game.
  • Apps including UNUM allow you to see your top performing hashtags. Re-use and re-work these to see how your performance changes (remember this is only as good as your current hashtags – better-performing hashtags will be out there).

Don’t:

  • Go too broad. Some hashtags are used literally millions of times. For more meaningful engagement even a slight tweak from #table into #diningtable will make a difference.
  • For the love of all things sacred, put an apostrophe or any other form of punctuation within a hashtag. Instagram doesn’t recognise this, and it makes your hashtag look #LikeItDoesn‘tBelong
  • Create your own hashtag. Unless you are a major brand with serious (and we mean serious) spend behind your social campaign, your hashtag won’t gain traction. Nobody will search for your term, and your engagement won’t see any increase. It #JustIsSillyToThinkAnybodyWouldSearchThis

Using Hashtags

You’ve got your hashtags down-pat for your upcoming post – not too generic and not too specific. Just right! Now it’s time to get these performing.

Do:

  • Use a maximum of three hashtags within post copy. These should go at the end of your copy, preferably on a new line, after your emoji’s. An exception to this rule is if the hashtag fits well within a sentence e.g. Loving reading through the #JadenSocialBlog at the moment.
  • Place topic-focused captions in your first comment and do it quickly. Instagram will start placing your post in feeds instantly. You can, of course, edit and add later but why wait!? These will relate more to the category your brand is in, rather than the photo posted itself. Examples include #interiors #decor #homestyling
  • Use as a balanced number of hashtags in your first comment. Instagram itself places a limit of 30 hashtags, whilst some scheduling tools will differ, but you want to be sure you’re staying relevant to get quality engagement so we try to keep to around 10 in the first comment.

Don’t:

  • Saturate your caption with hashtags. As a general rule, don’t let your hashtags use up more than one line of your copy.
  • Use multiple lines of full stops before placing your hashtags. Whether it’s in a caption or comment, the look is not only annoying for users, but it limits them from seeing (and engaging with) the discussion in the comments.
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