A Simple System to Find the Most Effective Hashtags for Your Instagram.

And how to use them to grow you audience…

If you’re using Instagram as a platform to grow your business, you should be using hashtags in every single one of your posts, always.

Why? When you spend valuable time and energy creating content for your Instagram, you want to make sure that it’s discoverable to as many of the right people as possible. Hashtags are still the most effective way to make your content discoverable and done right, hashtagging is one of the most easily-executable strategies you can implement to speed up your Instagram growth (and don’t worry, it won’t look spammy if you add the hashtags in your first comment in this way).

Yes, there are social media “experts” all over the internet saying you should use 3 or 5 or 15 to “optimize” for the new, new Instagram algorithm. Honestly, it doesn’t matter that much anymore. How highly you’re surfaced within each hashtag feed depends on how effective you are at creating content that people love and engage with, not the exact number of hashtags you’re tagging. Believe me, using 7 or 30 won’t get you “shadow-banned”, I promise. I’ve tested this with several of my accounts (@pinlord, @potteryforall, @macramemakers, @teodioluisitorey, and a bunch more.)

I always recommend using 30, but if using 5 hashtags will make you feel better, go ahead and use 5. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is how you choose your hashtags. The more effective hashtags you choose, the faster you’ll grow.

To choose effective hashtags, your goal should be to find the 30 (or 5) tags with the largest Reach and the highest Relevance within your target audience.

In this case, Reach means the number of posts that are tagged with a particular hashtag.

You can find the Reach of a hashtag by looking at the total number of posts when you search for one:

The larger the Reach, the larger the number of people that are looking at that tag and can potentially discover your content through it.

Relevance refers to how relevant your content is to the people who are searching for a particular hashtag. The higher the Relevance, the higher percentage of people that will “Like” and/or “Follow” you when they discover your post through a hashtag.

For example, if I have an Instagram account centered around the art of Macrame, using the hashtag #handmade (with over 5 million posts) will give me a big Reach, but a much lower Relevance compared to the hashtag #macrameartist (with around 10 thousand posts). This one will likely have a much higher density of people looking specifically for macrame artists.

The better you get at finding the 30 most Relevant hashtags with the largest Reach for your audience, the more people will engage with your posts and the faster you’ll grow.

The problem is…identifying which hashtags are the most effective for your particular audience isn’t always easy.

If you’ve had issues with this in the past (don’t worry, a lot of us have), there’s a fast and simple way to discover the 30 best hashtags for your audience…

Use the hashtags influential accounts within your community are already using.

It’s the best way to quickly identify the most popular for your particular audience.

How to do it: I’ll continue with the Macrame example for this…let’s say I’m starting the Instagram from scratch and I have no clue which hashtags to use. Here’s how I’d find them:

Search for the most obvious hashtag within your topic: In this case, I’ll start with the word “macrame”.

The most generic hashtags within a topic tend to have the largest reach, but they also tend to be less relevant to a specific target audience since they are so broad.

Identify the hashtags that the accounts in the TOP POSTS are using: I’ll look through the top posts and select the one with a grouping of hashtags that appears to have the highest density of relevant tags for my topic.

After quickly scrolling through all 9 TOP POSTS, this one has the most hashtags relevant to Macrame artists specifically.

Keep the hashtags that are most relevant to you and discard the rest: Out of the 30 hashtags that this posts used, I’ll discard the following:

#createaholic #cottonrope #fiberart #diy #pyssel #pyssla #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #wearethemakers #crafting #handmade #fiberlove #wallar t #wallhanging #decor #boho #weaverfever #dreamersanddoers

And I’ll keep:

#macrame #macramemovement #macramemaker #macrameartist #macramerope #macramesupplies #macramesupply #bohemiandecor #macrameworkshop #makrame

(11 total)

Within the grouping that you kept, tap through the hashtags that seem the most relevant to your topic: In my case, I’ll look through #macrameartist next.

My Macrame Instagram’s theme is mainly about macrame artists, so #macrameartist seems like a very relevant hashtag.

Again, identify the hashtags that the accounts in the TOP POSTS are using: Out of all of the TOP POSTS here, the one from @macramemovement would likely be relevant.

Keep the hashtags that are most relevant to you, add them to your original grouping and discard the rest.

Out of the hashtags they used, I’ll keep:

#macramelove #macramewallhanging #macramewedding #macramebackdrop #modernmacrame #macrameart #fiberart #fibreart #makrame #macramé #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #fiberartist #fibreartist

Now my main grouping of hashtags looks like this:

#macrame #macramemovement #macramemaker #macrameartist #macramerope #macramesupplies #macramesupply #bohemiandecor #macrameworkshop #macramelove #macramewallhanging #macramewedding #macramebackdrop #modernmacrame #macrameart #fiberart #fibreart #makrame #macramé #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #fiberartist #fibreartist #makrame

(24 total)

Repeat the process: You’ll continue this process until you find the 30 (or 5) most relevant hashtags with the biggest reach for your audience. Once you identify them, you’re ready to start posting!

Keep in mind that hashtag relevancy will change over time, so a sustainable way to continually test the effectiveness of your tags is by testing a different grouping of hashtags once a month for a week and measuring the average engagement on your posts. If your new grouping is getting a higher engagement, keep it and repeat the testing every month.

That’s it! Simple and effective…

Btw, I DID start a Macrame Instagram (@macramemakers) and used this method to identify my top 30 hashtags (see below). Check out the results. They are working out great! I also used this system to grow my other two main accounts @potteryforall, @pinlord and a bunch others.

#macrameworkshop#makersmovement #macramè#macramesupply #macramemakers#homedecor #bohochic #shopsmall#macramejewelry #macramedecor#jungalowstyle #apartmenttherapy#houseplantclub #macramemaker#macramelove #wearethemakers#macrame #modernmacrame #craftposure#makergonnamake #macrameartist#macrameplanthanger #weaving#macrameart #walldecor #bohodecor#macramemoment #wallhanging #etsy

If you end up trying out this method on your Instagram, please let me know how it works for you in the comments. If you have a more effective method, please share in the comments as well. Let’s share strategies!

Extra tip: Instead of typing out your 30 hashtags every single time, try using text replacement. Your thumbs will thank you :)

Extra tip #2: Use Onlypult to schedule your posts. Through their service, you can schedule your posts ahead of time, add your hashtags in the first comment and they’ll post it for your automatically. This means you won’t have to be thinking about what to post every day or open Instagram whenever you want to upload a photo, so you can focus on creating great content. Believe me, it’s a life saver.

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