Popular Hashtags Don't Equate to the Best Hashtags
Lately, I’ve been listening to a podcast by Buffer called The Science of Social Media. They’re great short podcasts which provide weekly updates around social media insights, learnings, experimentation and stories.
The latest one I listened to was surrounding the best Instagram apps, including apps to use for determining the best hashtags to accompany your feed images. This is where this article comes in.
There’s so much misinformation surrounding what hashtags to use and why that I felt it was important to share it with you. Yes, even from renowned sources like Buffer. This is because, choosing the right mix of hashtags can make or break how well your instagram posts perform – you have the power to make all of them perform really well.
Let’s start off by looking at what the mass majority of hashtag apps and websites provide when searching for the best hashtags.
I’m going to use three commonly used hashtag services to emphasize the points I am about to make – not so much as to call them out, but to show just how prolific the misguided information being provided truly is.
Ritetag absolutely has some great features (which are offered for free for 7 days). These include the ability to upload an image and write a caption and through it’s photo recognition, can suggest hashtags based on what’s included in the image. It also provides a legend of what the color coding of their hashtags mean – green means they are hot now, red means they are overused, etc.,
This highlighted text (“Do not use these hashtags, very few people are following them”) from Ritetag is actually really bad advise! While you may want to use the hashtags that are ‘hot now’, you actually probably don’t. We will explain why a little later. But for now, let’s look at the next hashtag tool…
This is probably one of the worst hashtag tools out there. The hashtags which All-Hashtag suggest are not only highly generic, but many don’t have any relation to the searched hashtag at all.
#fakeit, #telegram, #app… these are all terrible hashtags to suggest, let alone the best 30! And, unfortunately, this is what people are using determine the best hashtags to use on their Instagram posts. I truly cannot come up with what #fakeit has to do with Facebook Messenger, nor #telegram. And, while Facebook Messenger is indeed an #app, as of September 9th, 2019, there are over 2 million apps in the Apple Store that people are probably also talking about on Instagram…
Ok, on to the last ‘best’ hashtag tool.
Webstagramsite.com is another hashtag tool that provides more of the ill-advised ‘best’ hashtags to use, however, they also provide some good insight into those that actually would generate some eyeballs to your Instagram posts…
So, here’s why:
There’s a strategy around pulling the (actual) best hashtags based on the number of your followers and how often the hashtags have been used. Here’s how it works: Let’s say you have less than 1,000 followers. Then you should be focusing at least half of your hashtags that have less than 1,000 posts.
This is because if you try to compete with what the big brands, with millions (or even tens of thousands) of followers, are using for their hashtags, your content will never be seen. Webstagram doesn’t just haphazardly provide hashtags to use, they provide hashtags that are related to your suggested hashtag plus how many times it has been used. And, that’s the key.
Even with the ever-changing analytics on Instagram and what causes which images to show first, people still search for images on Instagram through the use of hashtags. So ensuring that you use hashtags that are not as widely used will help ensure that your images get seen more frequently in the search results.
Great! So How Do You Find Them?
Alright, let’s get into the details of how to find the ACTUAL best hashtags to use for your Instagram images.
The first question you should ask yourself is, “What is the #1 aspect of your image?“
Consider what the most important part of your image is portraying. Is it a brand new meatless hamburger that your organic vegan restaurant is now offering? Or maybe it is a new ranch style home you have for sale in Modesto, CA. Whatever word or few words best conveys what your picture is, hone in on that.
For this example, I am going to use the words Facebook Marketing Strategies.
UpRight Avenue just launched in September 2019, so we do not have a very large following yet. So, to use a more popular hashtag, such as #facebook (>20M uses) or even #facebookmarketing (>284k) would provide us with very little in return. Instead we determined that adding another word to the hashtag provided options that had less uses and would help us get to either the Top Instagram hashtags tab or the Recent Instagram hashtags tab (see example below).
Now by using the native search tool within Instagram, we have seven options provided to us, which are going to give us more opportunities to not only be seen in these hashtag search results, but because they are much less popular, we will be found for a much longer timeframe. Win-win, right!?
As seen above, the left image shows the top images for the hashtag #facebookmarketingstrategies and the right image shows the most recent images. If you can imagine how hard it would be to get in the top nine images for a popular hashtag like #facebook or #facebookmarketing, and then how long your image would last in the most recent, you should understand that taking advantage of less popular hashtags is definitely the way to go.
The purpose of using a hashtag, after all, is to make your images accessible to those who may not be following you yet, but have an interest in your post’s focal point (such as facebook marketing strategies).
You can read more about how to use Instagram or you can contact us directly to chat more about Instagram by using the orange chat icon in the bottom right of your screen.