How many hashtags bring maximum engagement rates?
Should I use my own hashtags or trending ones?
Is there any problem if I don’t use any?
And the list goes on…
Questions like this are looped in Google’s search bar every day by Instagram users all around the world.
According to a study conducted in 2014, almost 86% of brands have their own Instagram account.
Different brands use their own sophisticated strategies to move a step ahead of their competition, but it’s only hashtags that have been a common denominator among them all.
Hashtags help our content get discovered by the right audience. They organize our content according to our niche that increases the scope to get found in the right eyes who might be interested in our content.
How many types of Instagram hashtags exist?
So basically there are four types of hashtags that exist in the Instagram world today. Knowing their importance will help you choose what would work best for you or your brand and increase your engagement rates.
1: Branded Hashtags- These are the real assets of every brand that help you get more followers, scale up your engagement rates and build a community around your product or company. Branded hashtags are specific to a company, their tagline or their product.
Try getting your followers and fans to use your brand hashtags, as not only will it increase your engagement rates exponentially, but also gets you some extra followers.
Example- Blumaan (a hair product company) scales so well in adopting this technique that I mentioned above. They encourage their users to use the tag #byblumaan in their stories or posts. So when any of their followers use #byblumaan in their posts or stories; they repost the same image on their brand’s page.
It basically serves two purposes:
- By mentioning their fans in their insta feed, they make their customer feel special that the brand really cares for them. As a result, it increases their engagement rates and encourages other followers to use their tag in their stories.
- Second, since their followers mention the company’s tag in their post and stories, it is seen by all their followers who also get added to the brand’s community. P.S- The followers of those users (fans who post stories) might be not more than 300, but in a longer run, they make 50K.
2: Community Hashtags- These are the general hashtags that are not specific to a company, brand or an individual. Community hashtags are the most commonly used hashtags by a daily Instagrammer.
The downside of using community hashtags is that although they might get you some instant likes but the user engagement rates of these hashtags are quite lower than branded hashtags. So if you are brand, you should try blending few of these with more of your branded hashtags i.e. use 1 or 2 with four of your branded hashtags.
3: Campaign Hashtags- A few people consider them same as branded hashtags, but if you see their functionality you won’t deny why they are given a whole different group. Campaign hashtags are usually short-term hashtags that run for a short period, days or a few months.
When you join insta, these are the hashtags that will often pump you up a lot. Whether it is a #mdvfitenesschallenge by Mariano Di Vaio, #10daynofatchallenge by JLo, or even #sixmonthhairgrowthchallenge by Blumman- all these hashtags come under the category of campaign hashtags.
4: Banned hashtags: There have been constant false activities and fake accounts in the Instagram world, hence giving birth to banned hashtags. A banned hashtag is the one that Instagram banned to put a stop on the reach of fake accounts who just post duplicate content using a particular hashtag. The ban may last for a few days, a month or even permanently.
So what if you use any of them?
I know this question definitely struck your mind as I mentioned about it. So without beating around the bush, I am gonna let you in on the consequences that you might suffer in case you use them.
Using banned hashtags affects your engagement rates as well as gets your account flagged. So if you use these hashtags, again and again, it will get you flagged several times, which, as a result, may get your account shadowbanned or even removed after certain a limit.
What is the number one technique to get a fast audience?
Use trending hashtags!!!
Simple as that.
Always be in the loop of analytics and observe what hashtags are trending on Instagram.
If the trending hashtags are related to your niche, nothing could be better than that.
It is just like an icing on the cake as your content reaches in the eyes of the right audience. The audience that made the current hashtag in your niche popular, might like your content too. So there are good chances for your brand to build a solid community during this phase and increase your engagement rates.
And even if the niche of trending hashtag is different, there is still a reasonable probability for your brand to add a few users to your community.
What are the right hashtags for me to use on Instagram?
What would you do if your friend becomes one of the top entrepreneurs in your country?
Answer- I would ask him about the strategies and measures he followed to reach there.
The answer is as simple as that.
Now that doesn’t mean I am saying to message the top brands of your niche on Instagram and ask them about the secrets of their success.
It won’t work for two reasons. Why?
Firstly, they will never reveal the insider secrets no matter how hard you try. Secondly, they will never reply back as they get thousands of emails and messages like this each day (No offense!).
So what can you do?
It’s simple. Try observing the hashtags and campaigns that work best for them.
How to do this?
Analyze many of their past posts, hashtags, campaigns and observe the result or try any of the online tools that show the analytics.
Identifying the content and the campaigns that worked best for them removes the guesswork out of the context and gives you the exact steps you need to follow to find your place. Just keep adding variations around the same strategies (the one you observed) and see how fast you start growing and lead others.
HOW MANY HASHTAGS SHOULD I USE?
Well, it has been the most asked query of all brands when it comes to using hashtags for growth.
Some use 1, while others say they found their result when they used 20. It has been a complete mystery since the launch of Instagram. Nobody has the exact source which can prove or tell the number of hashtags that bring more user engagement, likes and helps the community grow.
According to a study conducted in 2014, the posts that had at least 1 hashtag received 12.6% more engagement than the one which didn’t have any.
Tested on a number of posts by various famous brands, it has added a base to the fact that using hashtags definitely helps your community to grow and increase user engagement.
In the same study, the results proved that 91% percent of top brands had seven or fewer hashtags.
So it won’t be wrong if I say you should try finding your point on the scale of 1 to 7 where you can fit in your brand hashtags (including 1 or 2 community hashtags if you want).
What is the difference between Post Hashtags and Stories Hashtags?
Whether it’s a post hashtag, a story hashtag or even comment hashtag, they all serve the same purpose i.e. to categorize your content so someone who has an interest in your niche easily finds your content when they search for it in the search bar.
The numbers vary though.
Instagram stories can have a max of 10 hashtags while Instagram posts can have 30. Instagram recently added this new feature to include hashtags in your stories that gave its users yet another way to get their content discovered like your Instagram post when someone searches for that hashtag.
Should you use popular hashtags? If yes, how many?
#Instagood #photooftheday #tbt #fashion are some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, that might get you some instant likes but frankly speaking, it’s not as worth as they seem in case you are a brand.
The likes you get are basically a bot that will like your post, follow you and unfollow after a period. I know this may hurt a little, but many spam accounts use these popular hashtags, as a result, Instagram bans such hashtags, ultimately bringing them under the category of banned hashtags.
As I mentioned above, using such banned hashtags might get you flagged, and several such flags will get your account shadow banned by Instagram.
Not only this, when you use these popular hashtags is that your post, it (post) gets buried in the feeds within a few seconds after you post.
You may wanna ask now- Should I just not use them in my posts?
Well…well, I didn’t stop you from using them, but my recommendation would be using 1 or 2 at the max to be always on the safer side. Just make sure you are not using any banned hashtags, else your account might be flagged or shadowbanned.
How to know if a hashtag is banned?
I told you about banned hashtags and why one should not use them, but how do we know if the hashtag is banned?
There are many paid tools that suggest the hashtags you should be using for maximum growth. They also have a feature built-in that checks and never suggests any of the banned hashtags.
But, is that the only way?
What about those who can’t afford paid tools?
Don’t worry, I got you covered.
Just type the hashtag in the search bar and scroll down (up to 10 to 15 rows). If you see anywhere written “the content is hidden”, the hashtag is currently banned.
Now when I searched about this topic on Google, many websites provided a list of banned hashtags. But when I searched them in the search bar, I saw a post someone posted 10 seconds ago.
I kept scrolling and found the hashtag they claimed to have been banned was actually not banned.
Are they lying?
Actually, it’s not their mistake. The articles you see are published a long time ago, and by the time they rank number on Google, some of the features and stats change.
Maybe by the time you read this post, we have a new feature that I didn’t mention above. So hashtags get banned and unbanned too, except a few which get permanently banned.
Why are my hashtags not working? What is shadowbanned?
Hashtags work all the time except for the case when you are shadowbanned.
If you are shadowbanned, insta hides your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you. It ultimately affects your account reaching more people and vacuums the place where you could get some followers.
Shadow banning hides your posts from those users who don’t follow you and search for one of those hashtags you used in the post. Only you and your current followers will see your post when they search for the used hashtags in the search section.
What are the mistakes that one should avoid using hashtags?
The number one mistake that I see many Instagrammer do is using the wrong hashtags. Popular or community hashtags might bring you some likes instantly, but your goal as a brand should be more to grow your community and increase the user engagement rate.
Let alone the popular hashtags, it drives me nuts when people use a hashtag that has nothing to do with your post. I mean, why would you put #travelfun if it’s the group photo in a party next to your house?
So make sure the hashtags you use in your posts are relevant to what your picture conveys.
Never use just any random hashtags only to get some likes as it puts you in the bad light and scales down the user engagement rate as well.
Tip- Create magic in visuals and lead others!!!
Millions of posts are posted every day but sooner they get buried in the feeds, so it is your responsibility as a brand to make them stand out.
Because your hashtags get exponentially better if the visuals catch the eyes. The posts that are on the top tend to use the best visuals and graphics (ultimately bringing more engagement and likes) that makes Instagram keep them on top, while others get buried.
Well, how to do that?
It’s as easy a pie.
The only thing you should remember is that Instagram was started for photos. So you must not forget the core it is known for- To share amazing photos.
If you are a brand, you should definitely hire a professional photographer who has some experience in Instagram photo shoots and knows the game as this eliminates the risk of one factor (not so good photos) that could fail your brand.
1: There are four types of hashtags- Branded Hashtags, Community hashtags, Campaign, and Banned hashtags. Almost 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded. Brands should always use branded hashtags but incorporating one or two popular hashtags.
2: Using banned hashtags will get your account flagged, which ultimately after several flags gets your account shadowbanned.
3: Using from 1 to 7 hashtags works best for user engagement and community growth as observed by a study conducted in 2014.
4: Post hashtags and story hashtags have the same functionality. One can use 30 hashtags in a post, while 10 in a story.
5: Observe what strategies worked best for your competitions and try using the same by adding a few variations.
6: The hashtags you use should be relevant to the image.
7: Brands should get a professional photographer for their pictures as the image is what pulls in users, as a result, your community grows.
I hope this article brought some value and helped you know a little more about Instagram hashtags. Make sure you implement at least any one of them and I am pretty sure you will see some improvement in your engagements rates and community growth.
Lemme know in the comments section below if you liked it.
Share it with your friends and till then?
See you next time!