Instagram Hashtags: How to Find Your Top 30

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Everyone is looking for ways to make their Instagram posts discoverable, and the best way to do that without boosting your posts is with hashtags. Boosting certainly does take less time and is wildly effective, but it does cost money and is not necessary to spread your message to the masses - if you know what you're doing.

With the information in this post, you'll be armed with the best free and paid strategies to find your ideal target market.

What are Hashtags?

Instagram Hashtags

Most posts on Instagram are unseen and hashtags help your posts be visible for more than 30 seconds. Then if you pick the wrong hashtags, they'll be covered up by other posts before anyone gets to see them. It's curious to me why so many people still post to those huge tags like #love, #life, and so many others. Their posts will never be seen by anyone, making their marketing efforst null and void.

A hashtag is like a bulletin board for you to post whatever your heart desires. For anyone trying to build a following on Instagram, hashtags will be an integral part of your strategy to get engagement, build trust and ultimately sell products - if that is what you're trying to do.

Why 30?

Every post has a limit to how many hashtags you can add. Within the caption, you can add 30 and within the comments, you can add 30. So, technically you can add 60 to each post, but I recommend adding 30 instead because you don't want your post to be completely about getting followers. The idea is to make yourself an influencer and nothing else.

When you become an influencer your Instagram following will grow on its own.

It's my suggestion to have 60 hashtags at your disposal, but 30 of them that you post to at least 2 times per day. The other 30 should be sprinkled in sporadically and not focused on.

Use the Pareto Principle for Posting on a Schedule

Consistency is vital to make growing an Instagram schedule, and choosing the right hashtags is equally important.

When I create a schedule, I look at the top 25 of my top 30 hashtags. Those are going to be used 80% of the time. The remaining 35 hashtags need to be mixed in for the remaining 20% of the time.

When I grow an Instagram account, I post 5 times a day. If you follow the Pareto principle with this kind of cadence, you can expect 4 of those 5 to have those have the top 30 hashtags every day. Then 1 of those posts should have the others with 25 of the most important hashtags.

It's pretty simple if you think about it, but it's not a good place to start.

One place you start to make your schedule is Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Just post the dates, copy the caption into a corresponding cell, the hashtags in another cell and even include the image. That way when it comes time to post you're ready to go, and staying consistent is a breeze.

Free: Use Instagram To Find Your Hashtags

Go to Instagram right now, and locate the search bar the top. You can do this on your phone or on a desktop. Type "#{insert_topic}." It doesn't matter what it is. Instagram is so big that whatever it is you do will be on there.

Then look at what pops up when you start typing. It shows you possible hashtags you can use to showcase your posts. Keep in mind that the results are not in perfect order, but generally speaking, the larger ones will be towards the top.

It's your job to investigate each of these tags to see which ones are favorable to your cause. Without the awareness of each hashtag, you won't know which ones to include in your top 30 or even bottom 30.

What you're looking for in each hashtag is the ability to stand out and get engagement. If you see that it's an active group and has lots of your competitors, you can bet that it's a good place to be. However, if it's full of competition and struggling to elicit engagement in the form of likes and comments then look for greener pastures.

Use Google to Find Search Terms, a.k.a. Hashtags

Every time you're interested in something, you probably start on Google, right? Well, when you customers are looking for what you sell on Instagram they probably already tried to search for it on Google, using the term you used or one of the related ones at the bottom of the page. Each of these terms is a good place for you start expanding your top 30 hashtags.

Just plug each one of those terms in the search bar and see how they do. If they fall in the 50k to 250k range and look like a good place to meet people, then you should be good to go.

Paid Tools to Help You Find The Right Hashtags

If you really dedicate yourself to becoming a professional Instagrammer, you honestly don't need any tools. However, if you're looking to reduce the learning curve and eliminate some trial and error, check out these tools below.

Hashtagify and Keyword Tool

Both of these platforms are on a subscription basis, but they do get pretty detailed in their analysis of the trends of each hashtag. Using the analysis will help you decide which hashtags to go after first.

Like I said before, I don't believe it's necessary to grow your channel using services like these. It's more important that you pick a growing niche, provide interesting content, eye-catching images, and use all the functions of the platform. Then, use other platforms to push traffic to your profile and get them to follow you.

Posting 5x a day, plus using your Instagram stories all the time will help you grow and monetize your profile.

Keys to Success On Instagram

Instagram Hashtags Success

Selecting the Right Hashtags to Stay At the Top of the Search

Ok, so you've tried the free and paid methods and are now looking to hone in your 30 hashtags.

If you're posting to the large hashtags - that have over a billion posts - you might think that your post will do better, because you're picking the right hashtags. This is totally wrong!

If I'm trying to grow a following, I'll always look for hashtags that are between 50,000 to 250,000 posts. The reason is that your posts will stay at the top of the feed and if they are quality posts will get plenty of engagement.

Also, if you notice that certain hashtags are dominated by your competition, then, by all means, choose other ones so you have an edge. It's perfectly up to you how you compete with your adversaries, but know that you could be allocating your time and resources in a variety of ways.

If your competition is using memes and images. You should use videos with eye-catching graphics as the first image. It's all about showing your customers something they haven't seen before. Be that unique voice in the crowded space to quiet the competition and attract your tribe.

What is Quality Content on Instagram?

The quality of your content is what ultimately attracts people to check out your brand, products, and services. Without it, people won't see you first of all, and if you're not producing enough of it, you'll never get discovered.

The rule of thumb for producing content goes like this... Quality + Quantity = Success.

It's not quality over quantity. It's both, and one without the other will guarantee that you're invisible to your competitors.

Here is a post on creating quality Instagram posts, with some very valuable templates.

Let's dive deeper into what quality content is and what is the right number of content for you to reach your customers on Instagram.

Quality content is based on original thoughts that are not obvious. If you're producing obvious content that everybody knows then don't bother. It won't help you and will actually hurt your brand.

It's not easy to create original content, but here are a few tips to do so...

  • Use your own unique experiences to share known concepts. Also, known as documenting instead of creating.
  • Offer contrarian opinions whenever possible.
  • Interview new influencers in your space.
  • Don't use highly ranked blogs. Dig deeper into the Google search.
  • Research in other locations. Local newspapers, Peer-reviewed journals, Books
  • Create a unique hypothesis and then write based on your perspective

How Often Should You Post On Instagram?

There is a simple, yet complicated answer to this question. The answer is ... it depends, and more than your competition. 

Just posting more than your competition is a great step in the right direction for your Instagram account.

Just stick to the plan of identifying the best of the best hashtags specific for your industry and keep hammering posts 5 times a day. Then include live streams and Instagram stories. Never neglect the Instagram stories.

For more information on building a brand with Instagram, click the link to see what it's all about in 2019.  Things have changed quite a bit.

 

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Anthony Catullo

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