When there's a variety of users with an Instagram hashtag on their posts, it becomes useless.

The Quick Guide to Instagram Hashtag Research

Written by | Date Updated: August 15, 2016

The good news about researching hashtags on Instagram is that it’s a very easy, straight forward experience. The bad news is that it can be quite time-consuming, especially when you’re posting a variety of content. For this article, I’ll be using the microgenre of music, vaporwave. More specifically, I’ll be looking at Instagram hashtag mistakes within the culture.

Hashtag research really just boils down to searching for it and looking at what types of content are tagged with it. Here are 3 things to look out for when doing your research:

1. Consistency in Content

When there's a variety of users with an Instagram hashtag on their posts, it becomes useless.

I see this problem all the time – a hashtag is used for multiple industries or cultures and it really loses value for everyone involved. If you search a hashtag and there’s a wide range of types of posts, consider it dead. Never use it. You’ll end up disappointing people who just discovered your account or even worse, you’ll gain followers that don’t fit your target audience.

2. Look at Post Volume

Too many people using a hashtag and your message drowns. Too little and not enough people will see it. Sometimes more popular tags can do you good, but you’ll generally want to stick to hashtags that have been used between 300K and 1.3M times. A problem you’ll run into when using very high volume hashtags is that there are a large number of people using bots to auto-comment and auto-like posts. You’ll end up with fake followers and these short strings of auto-comments might alienate your real userbase. Be careful!

3. Create a list of hashtags for each type of content you post.

And I’m talking a serious sized list: 20 to 40 hashtags per type of content. Take me for example – I post quite a bit of travel photography, so I have region-specific hashtags as well as lists specifically for days of the week (#WeekendWanderlust is a great one for travellers). Over time, I’ll test out the effects of individual lists so I have a better idea of what level of engagemment groups of hashtags get me. It’s also important to take note of what kinds of followers I gain with different lists, so I can surgically sculpt my follower base.

When you make your Instagram posts, it’s important to add your hashtag list right at the time of posting rather than later – the new Instagram feed algorithm favors this heavily.

Confused about other aspects of Instagram marketing? Read more on ChrisTweten.com.

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