It is often a question that we get asked – “Exactly how many hashtags on Instagram posts should I use?” So we thought we would address it in this article. The maximum number of hashtags you can use is 30… but do we recommend using all of them? No. Keep reading to find out why.
According to Ubersuggest, over 2,500 people per month Google ‘how many hashtags Instagram’ or something similar. As always, there isn’t a magic number. We could say 8. We could say 19. We could say any number between 1 and 30 to try and capture your attention. But after years of growing businesses on Instagram, we’ve got to be honest and tell you it’s not that easy.
Side note: there is a little trick we’ve picked up that will double your Instagram reach. It’s at the bottom of the article if you want to jump down.
Rather than give you a number, we have a formula that should streamline the process of adding relevant hashtags to your Instagram posts. From there, you can play around with the number of hashtags you’re using on your Instagram posts until you’ve found something that works for you.
So what’s the formula?
Branded Hashtags + Highly Competitive Hashtags + Moderately Competitive Hashtags + Least Competitive Hashtags + Image Related Hashtags.
Easy, right? Let’s drill down a bit more.
It’s not a good idea to copy and paste the same set of hashtags across every post you put on Instagram. With that being said, you should always incorporate your brand and brand-related hashtags in anything you post.
A good way of doing this is to come up with 5-10 brand-related hashtags that you can always refer to whenever you post new content. Your business name will likely be repeated from post to post, but you can mix it up a bit by using locations or general terms about your company.
For example, Digital Storm is an integrated web design, development and marketing agency. We cover a wide range of services from complete rebrands to one-off Google Ads campaigns. Here’s an example of what some branded hashtags might look like for us:
#DigitalStorm #DigitalStormBournemouth #DigitalStormAgency #DigitalStormWebDesign #DigitalStormMarketing
While the brand-related hashtags will be reused and recycled post to post, the rest of the categories that we’ll be describing should not be. Highly competitive hashtags are any tags that have over one million posts.
Why are these the most competitive?
As Instagram continues to move towards an SEO-driven algorithm, the platform uses caption content, hashtags and relevant information to decide what your post is about to serve it to a relevant audience.
Much like keyword research when blogging, the number of times that a hashtag has been used highlights how much content you are competing to be seen against. The more posts a hashtag has, the harder it will be to get your post noticed.
You can find out how competitive each hashtag is by searching for it on Instagram. When you begin to type you’ll notice a drop-down menu offering suggestions and the number of posts for that word. Here’s an example of some relevant hashtags that we might use if we were sharing this article: #marketing #marketingtips #instagrammarketing #hashtags #socialmediamarketing
Moderately Competitive Keywords
It’s important to get a good balance between high, moderate and low competition hashtags. The less competition there is, the longer your content will continue to reach new audiences.
Moderately competitive hashtags have between 100,000 and 999,999 posts. I’d recommend choosing the bulk of your hashtags from this category, however, there is no magic number! You might find that higher or lower competition hashtags work better for your content.
Low Competition Hashtags
We’re sure you know what we are going to say at this point. Low competition hashtags have less than 100,000 posts and tend to be much more specific than moderately or highly competitive terms.
Think #socialmediamarketingadvice as opposed to #socialmediamarketing.
Again, the benefit of using low competition hashtags is that it increases the likelihood of users discovering your content over a longer period. It’s not a hashtag that people use daily.
Image Related Hashtags on Instagram
Image related hashtags are exactly what it says on the tin. Hashtags that will only make sense paired with that specific post. Take a look at your image and use hashtags that describe what you’re seeing. You don’t need to consider whether these are high or low competition hashtags. But you do need to make sure that these change with every new post!
If you’re struggling to think of any, you can go super generic by hashtagging the colours or style of the image you’re using. Think #bluesky, #testimonial or #happycustomer. Whatever it is, hashtag it!
A Word of Advice on using Hashtags on Instagram
We’ve mentioned it multiple times throughout this article… but we are going to say it again. There is no magic number. You’ll have to run a few A/B tests until you get to the bottom of what works for you. With that being said… Don’t throw the towel in straight away.
One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to social media marketing is giving up or moving on. Instagram rewards consistency and it’s unlikely you’ll get unbelievable results on the first few posts!
The best way to find the strategy that works for you is to start testing yes. But make sure the tests run over a substantial amount of time. Try a strategy for 4 – 6 weeks. If it’s still not working, tweak it a little and try again.
If it’s still not working, there is one more trick we have up our sleeves…
Marketing Agency Secret Tip for Instagram Growth
A lot of people have personal Instagram accounts. You know how to share a post, write a caption and use hashtags. Are you using ALT tags?
Instagram offers the ability to add ALT tags to your images just like you would on your website. ALT tags were designed to make websites and social media platforms more accessible, providing a worded description for each image. Today, they help search engines identify what the image is of… and it’s become extremely helpful for SEO.
As Instagram is moving towards a search engine style algorithm, optimising your content for search engines (just as you would do on your website) is going to be hugely important.
ALT tags are just another simple way to tell the algorithm what your image is. That way, they’ll have even more information to dissect when it comes to serving relevant content to an audience.
To add ALT tags to your Instagram post, click on ‘Advanced Settings’ on the final page of the upload. You’ll see the options to turn off commenting or hide view counts. What you’re looking for is accessibility. Here, you’ll see there is an option to add an ALT tag.
One thing to note, this can only be done manually. If you’re working with a social media agency that schedules your content weeks or months in advance, they might be missing this trick!
And that’s everything we have for you this month. Fingers crossed, you’ve got an idea for an Instagram strategy that will give you record results and grow your audience! If you have any questions or want to have a chat about your own social media strategy, please contact us.