Since their release in 2007, Instagram hashtags have been the pillar of the platform’s powerful algorithm. In fact, they can propel your social media effectiveness by up to 40%. Therefore, understanding how to use them is a must for any business or individual trying to grow, engage or monetize their Instagram account.
We know there’s not a lot out there that clearly explains how you can really use hashtags to their full potential, and as the #1 Instagram hashtag tool, we’ve come to learn a lot about how they work, and how to best utilize them. So, we decided to take matters into our own hands, and create this Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide.
Here, we will help you fully understand how hashtags work, allowing you to increase your reach, engagement and follower count. You will learn how to use hashtags effectively, we might teach you a few things you didn’t already know, and finally, we will help you lock in the right steps in order to put together the ultimate hashtag strategy. So strap in, and get ready to make hashtags your new best friend!
- How do hashtags work, and why do you need them?
- What different types of hashtags can you use?
- Answering your burning hashtag questions.
- What we’ve learned from analyzing over 500,000 hashtags.
- Let’s talk hashtag strategy.
- How does Flick make it easier?
- Key takeaways
Understanding Instagram hashtag ranking, and why you should care about it:
Ranking is pretty imperative when it comes to understanding how hashtags can help you grow your Instagram account. Let’s revisit our #love analogy for a second.
Imagine your account has roughly 4k followers, and you post a piece of top quality content. You add the hashtag #love, because it’s popular, right? And then you call it a day. Let’s say that the exact same hour, Kim Kardashian, who currently has around 143m followers, posts a selfie – and adds the hashtag #love. And then she calls it a day. Kim’s post is much more likely to appear in the #love hashtag group because she has a huge follower-base and therefore her engagement will inevitably be a lot higher. This means her post will ‘rank’ in that group. So, whilst adding a hashtag like #love to a post might be useful for Kim when it comes to getting people to view content, it may not be useful for you, as its less likely you’ll rank.
Think of it like SEO – just like you’d optimize your blog post by featuring the top-performing keywords that match your content so that it appears on a recommended search on google, you need to optimize your Instagram posts, so that they appear in the right hashtag searches.
Answering your burning Instagram hashtag questions.🔥
At Flick, we get a lot (and we mean a lot) of hashtag-specific questions – most of which, are pretty helpful when it comes to understanding how to up your hashtag strategy. So, we’ve decided to share the answers here in our Instagram hashtag guide. Feel free to contact us if you have more specific questions that we haven’t listed, we’re all ears.
The truth is, there isn’t a definitive list of the ‘best Instagram hashtags’. Ok, you might not like the answer to this, but hear us out. The best Instagram hashtags are completely dependant on you. It’s really based on your account size, niche, and engagement rate. With Flick, if your Instagram profile is linked, we can examine and pick out the best hashtags for you, based on your specific account and topic search, within a couple of seconds.
What’s trending always changes, so the best way to answer this question is by keeping an eye out for which ones receive the highest DAPC. DAPC stands for the daily average post count, which shows basically how many posts are published into a specific hashtag within a given day. When you search for a hashtag on Flick, we will show you this metric, and you can compare the DAPC across a range of hashtags.
Although there could be more than one answer to this, the number one reason is usually that you are not ranking on the hashtags you are using, or because the hashtags you are using, are reaching the wrong people.
You should try and use Instagram hashtags that are relevant to:
- Your account’s niche
- The category of the content you are posting (e.g. fashion or food)
- Your account size and engagement rate (hashtags that contain posts with a similar average like count to you)
Try to avoid using the same hashtags over and over again. You should aim to rotate your hashtags as often as possible!
Let’s talk strategy.🤓
So, now that you are armed and ready with all the hashtag info you need to know, you’re ready to talk strategy. You can opt for whichever strategy works best for your brand or account, but we’d suggest going for the staircase strategy.
Another integral part of your strategy, once you have it on lock, is understanding hashtag analytics. Just like you’d look at your analytics on Instagram to check the updates on your post-performance, it’s important to understand the data behind hashtag strategy too. Don’t worry if you’re not too keen on data or stats, we make it pretty easy to understand.
The holy trinity of hashtag analytics
There’s three different metrics you should be paying attention to – all of which we also display for you on Flick when you’re completing a hashtag search.
- Average likes. This is the average amount of likes that posts in a specific hashtag group receive. Why is it important? Because it tells us, based on your account whether or not your posts would be compatible with or perform well within a hashtag group.
- Competition score. Just like it says on the tin, this shows how competitive a certain hashtag group is, giving an indication of how difficult or easy it is for your posts to rank well. Why is it important? It helps us tell you whether or not your post in this specific group is likely to rank.
- Opportunity score. Much like your competition score, this shows you the potential opportunity or return you might get if you use this hashtag on your post. Why is it important? It gives you an indication of which hashtags to pick, based on the most opportunity they provide for your account.
If you pay attention to these three elements and pick hashtag groups with posts that have a similar average like count to yours, a relatively low competition score, and a relatively high opportunity score – you’re 10 times more likely to get the results you want from the hashtags you use.
How does Flick make all of this a lot easier?✅
We’re here for you, and our primary goal is to condense all of the above into one platform that helps you achieve the most efficient hashtag strategy to grow your Instagram account. We essentially eliminate the manual side of hashtag research, so you don’t have to try and calculate average likes of a hashtag group, or what topics might work the best for your account – because that would take a long time. In a hashtag sized nutshell, here’s what we do:
#2 We give you suggested filters based on your account.
If you connect your Instagram account with Flick, you can toggle suggested filters, which allows our algorithm to analyze your engagement rate and account size. This helps us set filters for the types of hashtags we will suggest so that you will only be suggested hashtags that you are likely to get results from.