Instagram rolled an algorithm update early September 2020, and the world went bonkers.
So many handles have spoken about their organic reach going super low overnight. Well, this had to happen, sooner or later. We all knew it, right? We saw that happening with Facebook and Twitter. Instagram went under the bus now, and maybe Linkedin is on the same path too? We can’t be certain about the timeline, but this reduction of free reach is inevitable and honestly, completely fair.
Instagram as a platform needs to populate great content on your feed to help you spend hours every day on the platform, but at the same time, it needs to monetize from your time spent on the platform. It’s their circle of life; a sweet balance is what I am sure they will strike in order to survive.
On that note, now that our organic reach has reduced, focusing on hashtags becomes even more important. Choosing the right hashtags is predominantly why you may receive organic reach in the future.
Let’s dive into some key do’s and don’ts of using hashtags:
1. Never use the same hashtags on all posts. Always find new & fresh hashtags before you post. Alternatively, you may want to curate a list of around 200 hashtags for your content buckets and mix-match them as required.
2. Keep your hashtags closely relevant to the post content. Remember, your image copy as well as caption should include exact words or synonyms of the words you use in hashtags.
3. Shortcuts never work. Hence, never use hashtags like “follow4follow, like4like, etc.” Focus your efforts on real hashtags that make sense.
4. Choose hashtags that are popular. You can check the number of posts on Instagram for specific hashtags while searching for them using the Instagram search option. If a hashtag has over 2M posts, don’t bother using it if yours is a new profile with <1000 followers. Choose hashtags in the range of 50K – 500K posts.
5. This doesn’t mean you don’t experiment with new hashtags or hashtags that aren’t popular. Remember, the count of posts is the number of posts on Instagram that have that particular hashtag. It’s NOT the number of people who FOLLOW that hashtag. Hence, there could be certain hashtags that are followed by a lot of folks, but handles haven’t started using them extensively. In my opinion, hashtags that have words like “tips, news, tricks, DIY, etc.” have great user follower counts and hence get good traction.
6. Extending point 5 – One way to find good hashtags is by searching them on Instagram and then seeing what kind of traction has “top posts” gathered in terms of engagement.
7. You may want to mix and match the way you use hashtags. You can have the caption sentences laced with hashtags in the middle. You may also have some posts where the hashtags bunch is in comments. You can also do a mix of both!
8. Use an app like “Flick” (paid) to keep your hashtags organized or measure the performance of hashtags. You may also use an app called “In Tags” (free) to find hashtags every day super easily.
9. Use 20-30 hashtags, that’s a no brainer.
10. Keep experimenting with at least 50 posts consequently to see any kind of positive traction. Of course, keep closely observing how your hashtags perform on a daily basis.
So, that’s it! Comments? Please drop a line in the comments section below.