How to use hashtags in Instagram to boost your reach and engagement

Hashtags are the tool on Instagram that tell the algorithm gods where to put your content- who to show it too! Think of them as the ‘keywords’ of Insta!

As a Business Coach, helping Mums running creative businesses, one of my most frequently asked questions is ‘how do I use hashtags?’ This blog post is designed to help you understand the benefits of using them, how to figure out which tags to use and how to create bundles of tags relevant to YOUR business. You will find 2 tasks in this blog, each designed to help you boost your engagement on Instagram. So grab a pen and paper! There is also a link to a video that accompanies this blog! So where do you start????

REsearch possible tags

It’s important you research the hashtags you use. Why? Because using tags that are used by millions of others won’t help you be seen! Choose tags that have between 2m and 100 uses.

Task 1- Write a list of all the possible keywords a customer could search to find you on Insta. Search them on Insta (see below for how). Keep the ones that fall into the less than 2M/more than 100 use.

How to search tags.

Instagram has a great built in search function. It’s worth while searching the tags you plan to use to use. Here’s how;

  • Click the magnifying glass symbol
  • At the top, where the word search appears, type in your keyword
  • Then tap on the ‘tags’ option to search this word in relation to hashtags
  • A list of related and associated to hashtags will appear

Using the related feature

When you search a tag and click on it you will notice a bar underneath – Related. This is a list of tags that other accounts have used when using the initial tag you searched. It’s a useful way to start to create bundles of tags that you can use to get in-front of potential customers searching your keywords.

Task 2- Using the first list you created in task 1. Search these words and make a list of the relevant related tags you could use. Remembering not to pick tags that have a high usage.

Think of your customers as real people

It’s key that you remember your customers are real people! With this in mind they are likely to be on Instagram to be social, not just find answers to their problems! Therefore using tags that link to their likes, hobbies, lifestyle, humour etc is beneficial for building engagement. Think about the keywords that describe them in the above contexts and search those words! This will help you create a list of non industry specific tags. It’s also worth thinking about seasons, key calender dates, up coming festivals etc and using tags relating to those.

Create bundles

What is a bundle? It’s a collection of 30 carefully researched hashtags! Why 30? Because Instagram allows you to add 30 hashtags to each post! Yes you should be using ALL 30! It’s 30 extra opportunities to be seen! Create 5 (or however many days in the week you post) bundles of 30 tags, all researched and thought out. Yes it takes a bit of work to create these bundles in the beginning, but it saves time in the long run! I’d reccommend you update these bundles once a month to keep them fresh, relevant and to stop the Instagram algorithms hiding your posts (this is something that happens if you overuse hashtags, so don’t be tempted to use the same tags on every post!) Top tip- add your bundles to your phone notes, then all you need to do is copy and paste onto your post! Some scheduling apps have the facility to save your bundles on the app too.

  • Should I put my hashtags in the comments or post? This is entirely personal preference! There is no right or wrong way. My preference is that when I write a long caption I add my hashtags to the comments just to keep it looking neat and not too lengthy.
  • Should I use Hashtags in my Bio? You can, but stick to 1 or 2 and make them part of the sentence you are writing, not extra to the sentence. Also remember to check the usage of the hashtag, don’t use tags over 2M!
  • Can I use hashtags in my stories? Yes! Write the tags in the same way you would add text to the story. That way you can add 10 tags- use all 10! You can shrink them down and hide them under a picture or sticker if you want to keep your post looking uncluttered. If you use the hashtag button in Instagram stories you will be limited to using 1 tag!
  • Should I use location based tags? Yes! if you think these tags are relevant to your ideal customer!
  • Any hashtags I should avoid? There are some tags that will mean you are banned (for up to 14 days) by Instagram. These tend to be swear words, racist, offensive words so avoid!

This blog has a training video. To access this video, which is in my free facebook group, click this link. You will need to join my group to view the video.

If you have any questions about using hashtags to build engagement on Instagram feel free to leave in the comments and I will answer. Please also share this blog with anyone you think with find it of value.

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