Hashtags. Gotta love 'em, but more often than not, we wind up hating them. Or at least, wondering where to put them in, which ones to use, are they hurting the post or pushing it? I'm running down the essentials on how to use hashtags to grow your following on Instagram. But I'll give you one pro tip before I get into that. Don't use them on your Facebook posts. Facebook actually doesn't love the hashtag.
Okay, so now that we've cleared that up...here are my top three hashtag pointers!
1) Your hashtags need to be relevant now more than ever. Users of Instagram can now FOLLOW a hashtag. So, you can appear in an aggregated search if you're using a hashtag relevant to your market. For example. I follow the hashtag #Contemporaryromance and #romancenovel, so that two things will happen. One, I see what the Instagram algorithm thinks I'd like to see from others who use these hashtags. Two, I will potentially be seen in new reader's news feed who the algorithm thinks would like my stuff based on my hashtag use. It's so freaking cool! Check out the steps to checking out who you follow below:
First, click the "following" number. Here, it's right where the arrow is pointing.
Then, tap on the Hashtags word, seen here, circled below.
Instagram will also give you some other options to follow. Word of warning. Don't follow too many, that's considered spammy, and the opposite will happen. You'll be ranked lower. And once a user has followed a hashtag, they have the option to "Don't Show for This Hashtag", which marks specific content uninteresting to the user, effectively curating the content for you.
2) Switch up your hashtags in every post to avoid being classified as spam. It used to be that you could just copy and paste your hashtags, in the same order, into every post. However, that's now being classified in the algorithm as spam. I suggest keeping a few different options and rotating them through. There are some third party Instagram offerings, like Later, who will save your hashtags for you and you can choose to drag and drop which set you want in each post. Or like me, I just have a few different versions of 15 hashtags that I now rotate through. I pull them from my notes section in my phone and place them into the comments section of each post. Here is one of my sets.
3) Hashtag best practices. Avoid gimmicky hashtags and hashtags that have been used to death, but instead, choose hashtags that describe your brand, your business industry and your market. Community hashtags are also highly effective. They are a great way to improve searchability, gain new followers and grow your tribe.
Those are just three of my favourite new ways to use hashtags in my Instagram strategy. I've got a whole module on this fun and up and coming platform inside my course, The Romance Writers Marketing Academy. Doors are open now, but close April 9th! Learn how to:
- grow your Instagram following
- use Instagram stories to engage and build relationships that last
- advertise on Instagram
- use third party apps to create interesting Instagram posts and stories
- hashtag strategies
- what's new with Instagram in 2018
- how to create a bio and profile that converts
- keys to selling books on Instagram
Want to learn more or to sign up now and save $50 off your enrolment in our early-bird launch pricing?
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