New Rules for Instagram Hashtags: How to Find the Right Hashtags for Your Business
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.
You may have shied away from using Instagram hashtags last year because of shadowban paranoia, but the good news is that Instagram hashtags are still an effective way to get more Instagram followers or increase your engagement.
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!
Here are the new rules for Instagram hashtags, and how you can find the right hashtags to use for your business:
Update: You can now schedule Instagram posts directly to Instagram with our new Auto Publish feature — no push notifications required! Learn all about it below!
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 in Every Post to Avoid “Spammy” Behavior
During all of the chaos surrounding the shadowban, one thing became clear– you can no longer just copy and paste the exact same list of Instagram hashtags into every single post and call it a day.
In fact, doing so might be seen as spam by the Instagram algorithm and could affect your post’s visibility, which is why the new rules for Instagram hashtags include switching up your hashtags for each post.
Coming up with a brand new list of hashtags every time you post may seem like a daunting task, but Later’s Saved Captions feature can make this process super simple.
With Saved Captions, you can create multiple hashtag lists based on your frequently used hashtag categories. When it’s time to schedule, simply select one of your hashtag lists via Saved Captions to add it to your post.
Saving multiple hashtag lists with Later will most definitely save you time, but how do you know that you’re using the right hashtags for your posts in the first place?
First, she says to avoid gimmicky tags such as #likeforlike as well as hashtags that have been used a million or more times. While these tags might get you a few extra likes, they aren’t going to help you grow a highly engaged, targeted following.
Next, choose tags that describe your account, your business, and your target market. For example, Little Spoon is a delivery baby food company whose target market is expecting moms and parents with small children.
View this post on Instagram
Some things are good aged. Baby food isn't one of them. ⠀ ⠀ Processed baby food goes on a long journey– from pre-processing and not quite being small batch, to preservatives and shipping and storing, baby food from the shelf at the store isn't exactly the freshest.⠀ ⠀ We're here to say #NoMoreOldBabyFood 🥄 ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Ready to feed fresh?!⠀⠀ ⠀ Learn more by clicking through the link in our bio!⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ -⠀ -⠀ -⠀ -⠀ -⠀ #babyblends #itsfreshbaby #motherhoodunplugged #dailyparenting #childhoodunplugged #toddlertime #thatsdarling #letthembelittle #organicbabyfood #organicbaby #livecolorfully #littleandbrave #freshbabyfood #babyfoodie #foodieintraining #girlmom #boymom #teammotherly #motherhoodrising #mommyandme
The account uses hashtags to describe it’s product and business like #littlespoon, #babyblends, #freshbabyfood and #organicbabyfood as well as its own branded campaign hashtags like #itsfreshbaby and #nomoreoldbabyfood
It also uses hashtags which describe its ideal customer like #babyfoodie, #girlmom, #boymom, and #babyontheway, along with community hashtags for parents like #motherhoodunplugged, #letthembelittle, and #dailyparenting.
Community hashtags are Insta 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!
Finally, with the ability to follow hashtags comes a brand new way to research additional hashtags to add to your posts. Once you start following a hashtag, you can click on your followings from your profile and toggle from the users that you follow to the hashtags you follow.
From here, Instagram shows you a list of suggested tags to follow based on your interests.
By following hashtags related to your industry, you’ll be able to gather these new suggestions (deemed by Instagram as highly relevant) and add them into your posts!
Business Profiles Can Track Instagram Hashtag Success with Post Insights
Those who’ve switched to a business profile not only have the ability to check on how their accounts are growing over time with Instagram’s analytics, but they can also analyze how individual posts are performing and compare the specific results from each.
What does this mean for you?
You’ll be able to see exactly how effective your posts are at attracting a new audience, based on impressions from various sources– including your Instagram hashtags! Having access to these insights can help you to continuously optimize your hashtag strategy.
To access this information, select the post you want to get more detailed analytics on and hit View Insights on the bottom left.
Swipe up to see the full page of data for that post, including things like reach, impressions, and interestingly enough– how the people who viewed your post found you.
By being strategic about which hashtags you use in a post and checking your individual post insights, you can begin to narrow down the hashtags that are most effective for your business.
Want to take advantage of this Instagram feature? See how to set up an Instagram business profile here.
It’s 2018, and Following Instagram Hashtags is a Thing Now
As previously mentioned, just before the new year Instagram announced a brand new feature: the ability to follow hashtags. Users can now stay up-to-date on various topics by choosing to follow hashtags related to their 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.
Once you’ve selected to follow a hashtag you’ll begin seeing top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar.
You can encourage your existing audience to follow your branded hashtags so that you connect more easily with your community.
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 Now Add Instagram Hashtags to Your Instagram Stories, Too
Did you know that you can add hashtags to Instagram Stories?
By using Instagram hashtags within your Instagram Stories, you give your content yet another way to be discovered by a new audience.
If you didn’t know, most Instagram geo-locations and hashtags have their own stories attached to them. While this is an under-utilized Instagram feature, we expect it to become more popular in the coming year as Instagram users get more comfortable with watching and creating stories.
When people search for the hashtag on Instagram, if it’s popular enough they will be able to view an active, real time Instagram story on the hashtag! Hashtag stories show up across the top bar of the hashtag page along with the new follow button.
You can add hashtags into your story two different ways. One is by using the hashtag sticker, and the other is by using the text tool and simply typing your hashtags out.
What a lot of people don’t know is that you can add up to 10 hashtags into a single story! However, visually this can get really messy, so consider shrinking your hashtags down and hiding under a sticker or emoji.
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!
Alex’s 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.
Regardless of what you might have heard, Instagram hashtags do still work!
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!
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