Do you use Instagram for your business? Are you wanting to increase your reach and engagements on the platform? If so, this blog post will come in very handy! There are over 600+ million Instagrammers that are active on a monthly basis, with 400+ million of them being active daily. That’s a huge number! Without using hashtags, you lose the chance of increasing your reach on Instagram which will result in less engagements. Take note of these tips to not only increase your reach and engagements, but also to help grow your following with a targeted audience. And as an added bonus, I’ll show you how you can use Sked (formerly Schedugram) to manage, store, and use your hashtags more effectively. What are hashtags? Hashtags are a specific metadata tag which are used on various social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. There purpose is to allow users to find specific content and messages easier. You’ve probably already come across a hashtag before, but here’s an example of one. #DigitalMarketing Instagram adopted the use of hashtags on their platform after they were originally invented by Chris Messina on Twitter. Due to this, the Instagram community have been able to find and interact with lots of content that would have been much harder to find. If you aren’t utilising them effectively, you could be missing out on lots of engagement, follower growth and even website traffic! How Do I Keep My Hashtags Organised? The easiest and most convenient way to store, organise and add hashtags to your posts is to use Sked’s hashtag manager. You can use it to keep all your hashtags in one place, divide them into groups, and add up to 30 of them to a post in just a couple of clicks. Here’s how it works. Open your Sked account and click on Hashtag Manager in the sidebar menu (see below). Next, type the hashtags you want to save and use in the Add New Hashtag field (see below). You only need to type them out once and from then on you can add them to your posts with just a couple of clicks. You can also arrange your hashtags into groups. To create a group, type the name you want to use in the Add A New Group box (see below). Then, start typing the hashtag into the search box and once the hashtag you want pops up in the list below, click on it to add it to the group. And there you have it — all your hashtags stored and ready to go. I’ll show you how to add them to your posts in the section below. Takeaway: Hashtags are a metadata tag originally invented by Chris Messina. They are used on various major social networks to help users identify content easily. How can I identify suitable hashtags? 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, I’d suggest you do some research first to get the best results. You need to understand what hashtags are working well for your competitors and industry influencers. If you know your competitor handles and/or a few industry influencers, go ahead and look at their content and find the hashtags they are using. If you are struggling to find influencers on Instagram, you can utilise tools such as Buzzsumo. After finding the hashtags they are using, create a list and add them. Once you’ve done the above, you’ll then be able to search for more specific hashtags related to your industry and what your customers are likely to use. For example, let’s say you run a cafe and are looking to target people who are interested in coffee. The first few hashtags that would probably come to mind would be: #cafe #coffee #coffeelover, but with over 600+ million Instagrammers, your content might just get lost in those hashtags. Why? Well they’re very common and sometimes overused. You won’t have a great chance of standing out unless your content receives lots of engagement and get featured in the “top posts” section. So because of those reasons, you’ll need to also think of long tail keywords, or other similar related keywords. This is very easy, yet not many people actually do this. Meet Sked - The most powerful Instagram scheduling platform A place to plan & schedule your Instagram posts, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week. When you start to type a hashtag into Instagram’s search, it will list other hashtags that other Instagrammers tag their content with. Identify the suitable hashtags and add them to your list. Once you’ve done that, I’d recommend you to click on a few of those hashtags and look at the “Related” hashtags, add some of those to your list, then click them and look at more “Related” hashtags etc, keep repeating that process until you have gathered around 30 hashtags. (Instagram’s hashtag limit) Providing your content is catchy, engaging and you are utilising hashtags in your posts, you’ll start to see even more engagement. It’s not where you started in life, it’s where you end up. Believe in yourself . . . #leadership #dreambig #dream #bigdreams #ambition #motivation #success #determined #motivated #entrepreneur #entrepreneurs #entrepreneurship #startup #motivational #successlife #successful #business #entrepreneurmindset #quoteoftheday #businessman #businesswomen #luxury #marketing #ceo #dream #goals #workhard #dontstop #money A post shared by Gareth 🌐 (@mynamesgareth) on Sep 6, 2016 at 1:13pm PDT Takeaway: Research hashtags that your competitors and top leading industry influencers use. Identify the types of hashtags your ideal customer would likely use. Utilise Instagram’s search function and related hashtags feature to discover new potential tags. 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 than if you were to only use 10 hashtags. Keep in mind, the hashtag limit on Instagram is 30, however that’s more than enough to help you increase your reach and maximise your engagement. For the accounts I manage, I usually include anywhere from 20-30 hashtags per post. Don’t worry about the amount of hashtags looking too much, as you can easily tidy them up as mentioned in my next point. Takeaway: Try to use a larger number of hashtags in your Instagram posts to reach a larger audience and maximise engagements. 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, so it seems to depend on the Instagram account and hashtags used, so it is worth experimenting! Where do I put my hashtags? It’s entirely up to you where you want to put your hashtags. You could either place them in your caption or alternatively, placing them in the comments section. I personally would recommend adding the hashtags as a comment as it makes your content look cleaner. You won’t have a ton of hashtags on display when looking at the caption, and to see the comments, you’ll need to click “View all comments”. Here’s an example of an Instagram account I manage. As you can see, the caption looks smart and doesn’t consist of lots of hashtags. That’s because I’ve added the other hashtags as a comment. If you use Sked, you’ll be able to add your hashtags in the first comment of your scheduled posts. This feature is very helpful and I’m always using it, you should too! To try it out, open Sked and click on Upload Posts (see below). Next, select your accounts and upload the image or video you want to use from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive/Photos, and Instagram URL or Canva (see below). If you plan on creating more than one post, you can upload all of your images in bulk to save time. Click ‘Continue’ and review your posts. Click ‘Continue’ to proceed to photo editing. Edit your photos using the Magic Crop & the Image Editor. Click ‘Continue.’ Then, click on the hashtag symbol in the first comment and/or caption fields. Now, choose the hashtags/groups of hashtags you want to add from the drop-down list (see below). All that’s left to do now is to queue or schedule your post and Sked will publish it for you automatically. Takeaway: Enter your hashtags as a first-comment to keep your caption clean and professional. Conclusion Identifying suitable hashtags can be quite hard work and time-consuming, but the results are worth it. If you really want to succeed at something, you should focus and go all in at it. What other strategies have you used to grow your Instagram and reach a larger audience? I’d love to know, leave a comment below. To carve out hours in your social media workflow, start by signing up for Sked’s 7-day 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.