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Hashtags: A Complete Instagram Guide

In this article I outline 2 different methods that I use with my clients to gain more content exposure whilst using instagram hashtags; consider it a 101 guide!

By now we all know we should be using hashtags… this is a given, there is countless data out there suggesting that a post with the use of a single hashtag gets 12.6% more engagement than a post with no hashtags. No brainer really… We understand that they are powerful in reaching the right target audience; they attract followers to your specific niche, increase personal engagement and awareness of your brand.

How to find the right hashtags

There are a few different methods of researching and finding the right hashtags for your businesses.

Option 1: first off is checking out your direct competitors; what are their most used hashtags across the last 9 used images? and the most used hashtags on their best liked posts? Do this for 4-5 of your competitors and you should have yourself at least 20 usable hashtags.

Option 2: is to the search function directly in instagram; type in your desired hashtag or niche, hit the search button and bam you’ll likely have 20-30 different similarly contained options at your fingertips. Do this 3-5 times for different variable of your content/business and you’ve got yourself a complete list of maybe 50-100 useable hashtags.

Option 3: is to use a search generator tool of which notably are Display Purposes and IQ hashtag ; they both have their negatives and positives associated with each tool.

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How To Maximise Your Engagement Guide?

How To Maximise Free Engagement
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Grouping your hashtags

Now that you have those hashtags it’s time to group them; now there are a few different ways to do this;
Option 1 is to group them by your content pillars; in other words how they relate to your content. If you’re posting about beautiful houses on instagram then one of the pillars would potentially be “architecture” so then you’d place all the architecture hashtags together but you could also do more broader sets using Display Purposes so having one for “architecture”, one for “interiordesign”, one for “villas”, one for “beautiful homes” you get the idea. Then you would simply copy and paste this into your caption.

Option 2 is to create an excel spreadsheet with all your desired hashtags, lets say you end up with a list of 100-150 hashtags; you could then multiple select the different hashtags you feel are more niche appropriate to the image in question. Using the example above you’d maybe use #ihavethisthingwithfloors or #luxurymodernvilla rather than the generic #modernarchitecture

Personal branded hashtags

A personal branded hashtag is key to exposing your business at a later date once you have other users tagging your content; this starts to become powerful once you reach the 1000 post mark. This ultimately lets others know that your content is providing value. So i’d certainly suggest you create one; this can be simply either the name of your business or something more creative; ultimately its whatever you feel is right for your business!
Some of my own client hashtags include: #staffantollgard #tollgarddesigngroup , #designlifeapp and my very own personal hashtag: #nononsensemarketing delivering to you the no bullshit approach to marketing.

My secret to successful hashtags for maximum engagement

So by now you’ve realised that hashtags are important, you understand how to find them, how to group them now i’m going to offer you two methods in how to make sure they help your post gain maximum exposure. Both methods work to varying degrees; it’s up to you which you choose to use.

Method 1: This was a method that I first found through Ortal Levitan ; Simply put its the idea of mixing the size of your hashtags up. She advocates using 5 (million post) hashtags, 10 medium level (500k-1mill), 10 lower level (100k-500k) and 5 ultra niche (anything below 100k); meaning you’d use all 30 hashtags available to you.

Method 2: This was a method that I discovered through putting 2+2 together and my preferred method. It’s ultimately based on the authority of your account. Scale as needed.

10 likes -> posts with 10k tags
100 likes -> posts with 100k tags
1000 likes -> posts with 1M tags

The reason this is my preferred method is due to the exposure each post then receives when looking at insights within a selected post. Typically i’ve seen my content reach over 1000-10000 people instead of under 1000 using other methods. Is it the perfect method… the simple answer is no but for now thats what i’m using for both myself and my clients.

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How To Maximise Free Engagement
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