New Rules for Instagram Hashtags: How to use Hashtags more effectively in 2020
The rules for Instagram hashtags have changed.
It’s a brand new year and like almost everything else related to Instagram, best practices that worked in the past just aren’t as effective anymore.
From following hashtags to adding them to your Instagram Stories, we’re showing you all of the new ways that you can use Instagram hashtags to help you grow your brand this year, as well as sharing helpful hashtag tips to ensure that you’re using hashtags strategically to meet your marketing goals!
Keeping Your Instagram Hashtags Relevant is More Important Than Ever
Instagram recently rolled out the ability to follow hashtags which means that instead of a user having to search for an Instagram hashtag and scroll through an endless feed to (hopefully) land on your content, your posts could now show up automatically in the feeds of potential new followers.
While Instagram’s algorithm has always favored the use of specific and relevant hashtags, this new feature makes using hashtags that make sense an even bigger deal.
That’s because users now have the power to mark your hashtagged content as something they don’t want to see!
This is how it works:
Once a user is following a specific hashtag and suggested posts begin to show up in their feed, they’ll have the ability to select a new “Don’t Show for This Hashtag” option to mark the content not interesting or not relevant.
While this information is meant to tell the Instagram algorithm what sort of content a user enjoys, having too many of your posts marked in this manner could potentially raise a red flag on your account and negatively affect all of your other content as well.
Switch Up Your Instagram Hashtags to Avoid “Spammy” Behavior
Copying and pasting the exact same list of Instagram hashtags into every single post and call it a day won’t just impact your engagement, but it can also make you look spammy!
The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding what hashtags to use is that you’re being intentional — as in, you’re using hashtags that your target audience is actually searching for and following!
It’s important to switch up your Instagram hashtags in every post to avoid being “spammy.” It’s also a good idea to avoid gimmicky hashtags such as #likeforlike, and hashtags that have been used over 1M times. While these hashtags might get you a few extra likes, they aren’t going to help you grow a highly engaged, targeted following.
Instead, try looking for ultra-niche community hashtags that are specifically relevant to the content you post. It’s not a bad idea to build multiple hashtag lists that are organized by theme or category.
For example, if you’re a business that targets small business owners in the fashion industry, you may have multiple hashtags that you use on different topics.
Some may be specifically for small businesses, while others might be about fashion and ecommerce. The key is to collect and categorize them so that when they are used in a post, you can easily tell which pulls in the most engagement on your post.
And don’t forget to use your branded hashtag whenever it makes sense! The first step to getting other users to share your branded hashtag is to use it yourself.
But how do you know that you’re using the right hashtags for your posts in the first place?
We recommend choosing hashtags that describe your account, your business, and your target market.
For example, if you’re a baby food company whose target market is expecting moms and parents with small children, you should use hashtags that describe your product and business, like #babyblends, #freshbabyfood, and #organicbabyfood as well as your own branded campaign hashtags.
You can also hashtags that describe your ideal customer like #babyfoodie, #girlmom, #boymom, and #babyontheway, along with community hashtags for parents like #motherhoodunplugged, #letthembelittle, and #dailyparenting.
Community hashtags are Instagram hashtags that connect like-minded users around a specific subject. They’re a great way to connect with others, improve the searchability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your own community.
Look to industry leaders and other influencers and brands in your niche to find out what community hashtags they’re using so you can add those to your hashtag lists as well!
How Many Hashtags is the Right Amount of Instagram Hashtags?
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how many Instagram hashtags is the “right” amount.
So if you’re wondering how many hashtags you should be using on each post, the jury is still out!
Best advice is to use the maximum number of hashtags allowed by Instagram, which is thirty. While thirty tags may seem like a lot, she says that using the maximum amount of Instagram hashtags gives you more opportunities to be discovered.
We’ve seen all sorts of strategies and ideas on how many hashtags make the difference, but at the end of the day, it’s really up to you. If you can find thirty super relevant hashtags to add to each post, then you should definitely go for it.
However, if you don’t feel comfortable using that many, feel free to opt for less. It’s always okay to experiment with the amount of hashtags you use on a post in the search to finding your hashtag sweet spot.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re being intentional with your hashtag selection and you’re using hashtags that your target audience is searching for and following.
You Can (And Should) Follow Hashtags on Instagram
As previously mentioned, in a big update from 2018, Instagram added the ability to “follow” hashtags, meaning you can now stay up-to-date on various topics (or communities) by following a hashtag related to your interests.
Following a hashtag works just like following a user’s profile. When you find a hashtag you’d like to follow you simply open the hashtag page and tap on the follow button.
For brands and businesses, this opens up a great opportunity to regularly appear in a follower’s feed. For example, if you have a branded hashtag for your business, you can invite your followers to also follow your unique hashtag.
This means that your content could appear twice in a follower’s feed — once as they follow your profile, and once again as they follow the hashtag. It doubles your chances of engagement!
You can also use this new feature to keep a close eye on competitors and even discover potential partners by choosing to follow industry-specific hashtags.
You Can Also Add Instagram Hashtags to Your Instagram Stories
Adding hashtags to your story is a great way to give your content an added chance to be discovered by new audiences. When people search for a hashtag on Instagram, if it’s popular enough, they’ll be able to view active, real-time stories on that hashtag’s page — including your own.
And if they like what they see, they might even tap follow on your profile!
There are two different ways to add hashtags to your stories. One is by using the hashtag sticker (you can only add one hashtag with this method), and the other is by using the text tool and simply typing your hashtags out (you can add up to 10 hashtags using this method).
However, they can also ruin the aesthetic of an Instagram story and look “spammy” if you’re posting a ton on each story (the trick is to hide them behind other stickers where possible)
Using Instagram hashtags strategically is still a great way to connect with customers, find content created about you by your followers, and build long-term relationships with influential partners!
Hopefully, these new rules for using Instagram hashtags have sparked some new ideas that you can begin to implement around your own hashtag strategy!