Numbers aren’t everything. Except in the worlds of social media and Internet marketing, they kind of are. If you want to demonstrate the extent of your reach, if you want to continue growing your audience, if you want to demand top dollar for your advertising opportunities, you need to have the numbers to back that up. Advertisers want to see that your readers, fans and followers are actually engaging with your content and that you are indeed reaching a large audience.
What this means is that when you post something on your Facebook page, the hope is that not only are your followers actually seeing the content (which is already questionable), but they’re actually engaging with it. The hope is that they’ll click that “like” button (or use one of the newer “reactions”). The hope is that they’ll share your post with their friends. The hope is that they’ll comment on your post, which further helps with visibility.
Hashtagging Your Way to the Top
Another network where this becomes very important is Instagram. The Facebook-owned social network is very visually focused, of course, and getting those eyeballs on your pictures can be a challenge. One way to game the system, if you can even call it that, is to utilize a good number of relevant hashtags. Unlike Twitter, you’re not really limited by how many you can include.
Within the Instagram app, people can search for and click on the hashtags that interest them. They might start looking at the posts from another user, but they may end up looking at your pictures if you use the right hashtags. The challenge is figuring out what hashtags other users are already using and, thus, what hashtags are most likely to lead someone to your post.
When you start typing in a hashtag in Instagram, it may bring up your most recent hashtags. It also displays autocompleted suggestions, along with the number of posts that have used that hashtag. This becomes much more of an art than a science, because you’re discovering hashtags through trial and error. There has to be a better way.
Finding the Right Hashtags
There are at least two great sites that you can use for discovering relevant hashtags for your Instagram posts. These can be accessed from your smartphone or tablet, of course, but you can also use them within your computer’s web browser and simply post the hashtags as a comment through Instagram’s web interface.
The first of these is called Top Hashtags and, you guessed it, it shows the top hashtags that are currently being used. Each page lists up to 100 hashtags at a time and you’re getting really recent information. The update comes incredibly often — every minute or less, at times — so you can really be on top of emerging trends.
As interesting as this might be, it can also be time-consuming to scroll through such a long list to find the hashtags that apply to your post.
Perhaps a more useful website is Tags for Likes. Instead of relying on an overall list, you can search for a more general term. This will then generate several groupings of hashtags that you can use.
When I entered “selfie” into the search field, I was provided with the groupings displayed above, plus several others. You can naturally edit these lists to you heart’s desire, but they provide a great starting point. Or you can even use them as-is, simply copying and pasting them into your Instagram feed directly. You don’t get the statistics of Top Hashtags, but you do get a far greater level of convenience.
Is Hashtag Spam a Dirty Trick?
Everyone is going to have a different comfort level when it comes to nearly any practice in Internet marketing, blogging and social media. Some people scoff at using hashtags on Twitter. Some people disapprove of “clickbait” blog post titles. And some people may disagree with using 20+ hashtags on your Instagram posts.
Regardless of how you feel about doing this, though, it’s obvious enough that it is a very effective strategy for getting more people to see your Instagram posts and hopefully “like” them too.