#love 983,721,906 posts
They’re not meaningful
You’ve probably seen websites like “top-hashtags” claiming to provide a list of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, by copy-pasting them you’ll get tons of likes and new followers! How cool is that?
Truth is, by copy-pasting those into your Instagram posts you’ll get more artificial love, more numbers and more spam. No real growth.
Let’s say you started a page for your local dog shelter, you’re dedicated to posting high-quality photographs and writing a good narrative for them. You’re literally spending a lot of time crafting the ideal Instagram post.
Days passes and you’re getting a lot of likes and more followers, but no new clients seem to reach the dog shelter you’re working for.
People like your pictures but they don’t really go further…
The good tags are the ones that real users browse
They are not necessarily the most “used” ones
Become your audience
Think about dog owners on Instagram, learn how they act. Get a puppy, eat their food, catch tennis balls… wait… don’t go that far!
Do you really believe your audience spend their entire days browsing tags like #dogs and #puppy looking at those infinite streams of content where every single minute you have thousands (or even bazillions) of new posts?
Most of them don’t, and probably only a fraction engage with the content.
Here’s my little technique, my golden rule, it’s a simple command to follow in order to optimize your tags for your audience. It’s not perfect but I like it.
Use 1/3 of popular tags and 2/3 of specific tags
If you’re wondering why the hell I suggest you to still use some of those spam-filled popular hashtags please have a look at the sidenotes here.
To see if a tag is either popular or specific use the Instagram hashtag search function and look at the number of posts using that tag.
Specific tags usually have between 20'000 and 80'000 “medias”.
How does it work?
The likes you will receive by using the 1/3 popular tags will increase your chance to be in the “top post” by bringing you mostly artificial likes.
The other 2/3 will increase your chance of being seen by specific users.
Let’s see the difference between the two approaches:
On the left you’re trying to get as much likes as possible while on the right you’re actually marketing correctly your dog shelter business.
Don’t use the maximum of 30 tags it will look horrible, 15 of them is fine.
Always check how much medias are posted in a tag, if it’s more than 200'000 it’s probably already filled with spam.
Take a moment to find the good ones, it’s as important as the picture and the description themselves. Good hashtags = good visibility.
Find hashtags relative to your city and to your country in different languages. I call those location based hashtags, people search for them.
Here’s a group of tags that I use often (since I’m based in Geneva).
Target specific items like dog breeds, dog food brands, accessories brands, names of other shelters or even competitors names. Be creative!
Check out comparable Instagram accounts and learn their hashtag strategy, find influencers in your niche and email them, remember that one good customer or follower (that engage every week) is worth dozens of ghost users.
Never look at your competitors number of followers, they mean absolutely nothing, it’s just digits not leads. The engagement is all that matters.