Stepping up your Instagram game takes some skill. You can start by tweaking your bio so it includes the most effective use of the alloted character count or you can take an Instagram photography course to find the perfect filters. However, when it comes down to crafting the perfect caption to go with your photos, you may find yourself glossing over one of the most important aspects of Instagram: the hashtag.
Finding the perfect hashtags can seem overwhelming, but Instagram actually makes it super easy to find the best ones for your posts.
Instagram works like Google Instant when it comes to hashtags! After you type the # and a few letters, Instagram begins to show you a list of what it thinks you’re trying to type:
This is really helpful because it can save your most recent hashtags, helping you autocomplete the hashtags you use the most. This makes adding hashtags a lot easier.
Additionally, Instagram autocomplete is awesome because it gives you tons of ideas for hashtags you may not have thought of.
Ideation and Better Brainstorming
Let’s say you have a dog grooming company and you want to add hashtags about dogs to the posts you’ve published of the clients you’ve worked on that day. Instagram autocomplete for hashtags will help you come up with more variations of keywords you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Most popular verticals, like fashion, pets, tech, or pop culture, have similar variations, such as:
- “ofinstagram,” e.g. #dogsofinstagram
- combining the keyword and instagram, e.g. #pupstagram for #foodgram
- adding the word porn to think that inspire cravings or inspiration, like #foodporn or #workoutporn
Of course, hashtags will vary wildly based on the topic matter you are posting, as the language used in posts depends on the audience’s age group, the topic itself, and how the community has grown.
Having multiple hashtags on an Instagram post can help increase your engagement. The more hashtags you use, the greater the chance you have of getting more likes, comments, and followers – to a point.
Let’s talk about how many hastags you should use.
The short answer is, according to Buffer, posts with eleven hashtags have the highest levels of engagement. Instagram states you can use up to thirty. If adding thirty hashtags in a caption seems like overkill or you think it will be too difficult to read, Instagram also says hashtags added in comments will be added to the search results for those specific keywords.
This makes the actual text of the post easier to read, your users will still see the hashtags you added to the comments, as seen in the example above. Many avid Instagram users are making it a common practice to add a few hashtags in their caption, then additional, less popular ones, in a comment.
However, for brands or your own personal profile, experimenting with placement of hashtags, as well as the quantity on your own posts is the only way to figure out what works best for you. Compare two similar images posted around the same time of day and with similar hashtags so you can have more accurate results.
Another option for adding in hashtags is to work them into your content:
In the above example, National Geographic gave the location of where the photo was taken, but made the city and country their own hashtags. This is a good way to include hashtags while also breaking them up with “regular” words.
Overall, taking advantage of Instagram autocomplete for hashtags, as well as adding a lot of hashtags in general, is a great way to build your community on the active mobile platform. As you become more versed in what your target audience is posting, you can learn about unique hashtags only your community uses.
For instance, most people in the automotive space know Jeep Wrangler owners and aficionados are extremely passionate about these historic vehicles. As a result, they’ve created several different hashtags that only those active in their community would know what they meant:
The hashtag #jk signifies that specific model of Jeep Wrangler (those made from 2007 to the present). The initial, which always starts with a J, changes with every body style redesign. Other unique hashtags you might have not caught onto if you aren’t active in the Jeep Wrangler space on Instagram include #itsajeepthing and #4×4, which stands for its 4-wheel drive.
It takes a lot of experimental typing to get good instant results. Following, interacting with, and sharing other users’ posts in your target topics will also help you better optimize your hashtags. After testing to see what number of hashtags and content of posts your audience enjoys the most, you can start shifting your strategy to include more content you know will get more engagement.