Brand awareness and loyalty

How to Use Hashtags Effectively

  • 7 Minutes
Wondering what hashtags should adorn your latest posts? See what #hashtagstrategy you should be using so you can get found on the feed.

With so many businesses and brands looking to increase connection, community and reach, hashtags are a hot topic for getting there.

But are you using hashtags effectively?

Here we’ll run through exactly how to use hashtags for Instagram. So you can confidently share content with the right people.

Hashtags on Instagram in 2021

There are over 1 Billion monthly active Instagram users. And over 500 million of those are daily active users. That’s a whole lot of people who could be viewing your content. But how do you show your content to the right people?

Why, hashtags of course!

Without using hashtags, you lose the chance of increasing your reach on Instagram. With less reach, comes less engagement. And with less engagement, your followers might choose to jump ship too.

Take note of these tips to not only increase your reach and engagement but also to help grow your following with a targeted audience. And as an added bonus, we’ll show you how you can use Sked (formerly Schedugram) to select, manage, store, and use your hashtags more effectively.

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What are hashtags?

Hashtags are a specific metadata tag which are used on various social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Their purpose is to allow users to easily find specific content.

Hashtags were originally invented by Chris Messina on Twitter. However, Instagram quickly adopted this feature due to its suitability for the platform. Because of this, the Instagram community has been able to easily find and interact with lots of content that would have been much harder to find.

Keep Your Hashtags Organised

You know the importance of using targeted hashtags to reach specific audiences. And since each of your strategised posts will have slightly different objectives – it’s in your best interest to use different groups. But how do you keep your hashtags organised?

Use it to:

  • Keep all your hashtags in one place
  • Divide hashtags into groups
  • Add up to 30 hashtags to a post in just a couple of clicks
  • Manage the hashtags of multiple accounts
  • Randomise ordering of hashtag lists to keep them looking fresh

Here’s how it works.

How to Use Sked Social’s Template Manager

Open your Sked account and click on Template Manager in the sidebar menu, as shown below.How to Use Hashtags - Template Dashboard - Sked Social

Next, select create new template and add up to 30 hashtags. From then on, simply add them to your posts in just a couple of clicks.

How to Use Hashtags - Hashtag Lists - Sked Social

We recommend arranging your hashtags into groups that complement your posting strategy. To create a group, type the Template name. In our case, ‘Tipsy Readcity Hashtags.’ Add your template content and click save.

How to Use Hashtags - Template Manager - Sked Social

The Template Manager helps you to stay organised with multiple groups. When it comes time to add hashtags to your posts, simply type the list name and your entire hashtag list will appear.

And there you have it — all your hashtags stored and ready to go with optimum choices on your list.

Find Suitable Hashtags for Your Brand

Finding hashtags is very easy, but finding targeted hashtags that get a lot of engagement can be a challenge! Before you go out hashtag searching, we’d suggest you do some research first to get the best results.

Search for Hashtags used by Competitors and Influencers

A good place to start is to understand what hashtags are working well for your competitors and industry influencers.

If you’re struggling to find relevant influencers on Instagram, you can use tools (such as Buzzsumo) to discover these accounts. After finding the hashtags they’re using, create your own version of a list relevant to your business. Sked Social’s Hashtag Recommendations feature works to find complementary hashtags surrounding your findings.

Search for Specific Hashtags Related to your Industry

Next, search for more specific hashtags related to your industry, keeping in mind what your customers are likely to be searching for

For example, let’s say you run a cafe and are looking to target people interested in coffee.
The first few hashtags that come to mind are: #cafe #coffee #coffeelover.
But the search volume of these broad hashtags is enormous.

Remember: The volume of a hashtag is how many people are using the hashtag. Not how many people are searching for it.

When hashtag volumes are high, your chance to be featured on the explore page for that hashtag is low.

Plus, with tonnes of people using the hashtag, you’re likely to get lost on the hashtag page altogether.

For example, within five minutes each of these posts had used the term #coffeelover in their hashtags.

How to Use Hashtags - Coffee Hashtags - Sked Social

Then, just four minutes later, none were to be seen at the top of the screen. And each was replaced with a new influx of other accounts using this broad term.

How to Use Hashtags - Coffee - Sked Social

A good idea is to look for lower volumes in the user stats. This way, you’ll have more chance of being discovered when someone searches the hashtag. Sked Social’s Hashtag Recommendation tool allows you to easily find more targeted hashtags, instead of sifting through hundreds.

How to Use Hashtags - Volume - Sked Social

So, how do you use hashtags on Instagram to stand out? Be specific, targeted and choose hashtags you can genuinely be discovered for.

Use Long Tail Keywords for Hashtags

Think of long tail keywords or other similar related keywords. This is very easy, yet not many people actually do this.

When you start to type a hashtag into Instagram’s search, it will list other hashtags that other Instagrammers tag their content with.

But instead of finding what you’re after in the massive scrolls straight from Instagram, simply use the Sked Social Hashtag Recommendation feature.

Hashtags on Instagram - Hashtag Recommendations - Sked Social

What used to involve searching for related hashtags in Instagram, can now all be done in the Sked Social Interface.

Sked Social’s Hashtag Recommendation Tool learns about your preferences as you type hashtags in. When you’ve added a few hashtags, more targeted recommendations will appear.

Hashtags on Instagram - Hashtag Recommendations - Sked Social1

Provided your content is catchy, engaging and you are using hashtags on Instagram, you’ll notice higher reach and potentially, engagement.

How Many Hashtags Should I Use?

As the saying goes, the more the merrier.

By using as many hashtags as you can, you’re likely to maximise your engagement. Keep in mind, the hashtag limit on Instagram is 30, and we recommend using 20-25.

Editor’s note: At Sked, we typically recommend people aim for 20-25(ish) hashtags as some users experience higher error rates when you use 30 for every single post. However, some of our customers use 30 every time. It seems to depend on the Instagram account and hashtags used, so it is worth experimenting!

Where Do I Put My Hashtags on Instagram?

It’s entirely up to you where you want to put your hashtags on Instagram. You can either:

  • Place them in your caption
  • Add them to your first comment automatically with Sked Social

Where you decide to publish your hashtags on Instagram is up to you. You can either hide your hashtags in your first comment. Or use a series of asterisks (*) in your caption to have less distraction from the text itself..

Takeaway: Enter your hashtags as a first comment to keep your caption clean and professional.

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It’s Time to Get Hashtagging!

Knowing how to use hashtags on Instagram is an invaluable tool. Sure, it takes some time in the beginning. But once you have created your hashtag lists, adding them is a breeze.

Using 20-25 hashtags on every post will help to increase:

  • Your account’s discoverability
  • Connections with a targeted audience

Here are some key takeaways for you to put into action.

  • Check out your competitor’s hashtags
  • Add hashtags to your first comment automatically in the scheduling phase with a single click

Sked Social’s Hashtag Recommendation tool and first comment hashtag scheduling feature mean you’ll get more done in less time. Plus, you’ll offer your clients higher quality hashtags and post aesthetics. To carve out hours in your social media workflow, start by signing up for Sked’s 7-day free trial. As an all-in-one, social media platform that allows its users to post directly to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and more, Sked is the first step in engaging authentically with your followers.

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Every once in a while, we team up with marketing and social media experts to bring you fresh tips and sleek writing. Our guest writers come from all backgrounds to share strong opinions on social media. You can contribute to Sked Social blog by emailing us a pitch at feedback[at]skedsocial.com!

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