The Answer To: "How Many Hashtags Should I Use?"
First thing to know is that choosing the "right" hashtags is not the secret sauce to growing but they do help. Making sure your account is set up right, having a clear objective for a well defined audience, and regularly serving the world with content that they've already expressed an interest (be sure to add a hint of your own flavour to it) are the backbone to a good start, and community management (liking/following/commenting etc) is the main accelerator to growing an account to 10,000+ followers.
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But that doesn't mean you should ignore tagging. Here are our pricipals towards better tagging.
1) Know your peers, competitors, gatekeepers and industry leaders. Learn from their wins and replicate them.
What hashtags do your peers use?
Hot Tip: Ink361 is a great free tool to help you identify accounts' most popular posts.
2) Stay updated with the changes on Instagram. There are many bloggers who live to know what Instagram will do next. Check this guy.
3) Know that Only 5 Hashtags count. Forget the 30 tags. Focus on 5 good ones.
DONT DO THIS
4) Put hashtags in your captions, not in the first comment, and don't bury them under lines of single dots.
DON'T DO THIS EITHER
5) Choose hashtags that are popular enough that people obviously care about them, and check them. But not so popular that there are new posts being published every second otherwise you'll be lost in a flood.
We recommend choosing hashtags that have between 50,000 and 500,000 posts.
6) Change up your tags each post otherwise they'll get stale and you risk getting "shadow-banned" by Instagram.
Hot Tip: Use Display Purposes to get suggestions for Hashtags and see related tags.
7) Check to see that you haven't been "shadow-banned" by Instagram, or that it's still scraping for your tags by logging in to another account and searching the tags you wrote in your caption. Do you see your posts? How does it compare to what's out there? Does is fit with the other images but stand out enough to gain attention? Or is it totally buried?
8) As with everything you try on Instagram test, evaluate, and learn from everything do. The best way to do this is to only test one new element at a time while keeping all other variables as close to the same, and then giving yourself a week or so to make sure that any success or failure was not just down to all of your audience being offline and at the beach.
Special Bonus: Re-read your hashtags to make sure they make sense ;)
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And as a reminder if you would like to grow you 100 new followers targeted to whatever niche and demographic you desire then sign up for our 7-Day Community Management trial for just $1.