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Using Hashtags on Instagram Effectively

In our previous article, How To Create a Social Media Content Calendar, we discussed the importance of Social Media Content Calendars. After reading this article, you will be able to apply your new knowledge of hashtags to the content in your Social Media Content Calendars.

Do you ever post an awesome piece of content to Instagram and think, “If I put enough hashtags underneath or in the comment section, I’ll have everyone viewing my content in no time and be flooded with notifications of people liking and commenting?” This is how we were all taught to think so our content to have maximum reach. Well, I hate to burst your bubble…

Metadata tags have been around for quite some time. Tags were first used in 1988 on a platform known as Internet Relay Chat or IRC to group messages, images, content, and video into categories. The purpose is so users can search for hashtags and find content associated with them.

In October 2007, Nate Ridder, a resident of San Diego, California, started appending his posts with the hashtag #sandiegofire. He wanted to inform people worldwide about the ongoing wildfires in the area at the time.

Blogger Stowe Boyd first called them "hashtags" in a blog post in August 2007. At the time, it was the only thing that showed up in search results when you curiously Googled the term "hashtag."

By July of 2009, Twitter formally adopted hashtags, and anything with a # in front of it beca

me hyper-linked. And the move was later accentuated when Twitter introduced "Trending Topics," placing the most popular hashtags on its homepage. -

The Head of Instagram recently announced that adding hashtags won’t get your content more views or increase its distribution. Here’s what it means for your strategy and your business:

Hashtags are a tool Instagram uses to categorize your content, but the only way the hashtags will result in more reach or views is if the people are engaging with a piece of high-value content, which is content that gives your audience a major takeaway - content that has substance. There are five signals that Instagram uses to determine if the content is high-value:



  3. Saves

  4. Tapping through to your profile

  5. Time spent

Instagram wants people to stay on the app, so if your content achieves that, it will get boosted.

In order to keep your followers on your page and interacting with your content, be sure your content falls into one of these categories; Educating, Entertaining, or Engaging.

  1. Educating - This is the content that is teaching your audience about your product or service. Not just about what you do – but why you need it.

  2. Entertaining - Entertaining content is one of the most fun! Entertaining can be anything from a funny meme to a trending video. It’s usually content that causes some sort of emotional reaction.

  3. Engaging - This content has the specific goal of getting your audience to comment. Asking questions is a great way of doing this. “Pineapple on pizza? Yes or Nah?” There are endless possibilities here.

Suppose your content is sending the right signals to Instagram via engagement and time spent. In that case, your content will be suggested to more people via four main traffic sources: explore, top posts on hashtag pages, hashtags people follow, and suggested posts in the home feed.

This can result in more reach from hashtags. And more specifically, when your post starts performing well in hashtag categories like recent posts or followed hashtags, the algorithm will suggest it to more people and boost it to top posts.

To be clear, your content didn’t get improved reach BECAUSE of the hashtag you used. This is a correlation but not causation. What caused the post to do well in hashtags was the content itself.

Spend less time on hashtag research and more time on creating the best possible content for your followers. How they respond is the first signal that determines how to distribute your post across the feed, explore, suggested posts and hashtags.

The best way for you to get new clients and followers will always be by referral (aka people sharing your posts with their followers or friends).

Growth is hard - especially on social media. Is your business struggling to reach your target audience? That's what we do at Two Six among a long list of other services. We identify your most profitable channel(s), scale revenue, and test other channels so that you aren't reliant on one channel to fuel your entire business. Contact Us today to start the conversation.

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