Hashtags are practically a necessity if you want to gain followers on Instagram. This simple tool lets you categorize your posts with relevant tags so that people with those interests can find you. It’s like a roadmap to your content. However, choosing hashtags can seem like an overwhelming process.

You probably know it’s good to use multiple hashtags, but you want to use them strategically. Don’t stress. Just keep reading below to discover how to find the best Instagram hashtags for your account and avoid unnecessary hashtag mistakes.

1. Search on Instagram.

Instagram has its own integrated search bar known as the Explore feature. Just type a relevant keyword in and select the tab marked “tags.” This will produce a list of hashtags that include that word. This search will also show you some posts containing the hashtags.

These insights can help you to make some important decisions regarding which hashtags to use on your own posts. Study the tags to determine which may be overused and whether there are more specific ones you can use for better results.

Trial and error should always be expected in order to figure out what works for you. Spend some time here to generate potential keywords that fit your brand and your audience. Sometimes it really does make sense to start with the obvious.

2. Try related hashtags.

Did you know that you can actually follow hashtags these days? It’s true. Many popular hashtags have their own Instagram accounts. Check out these hashtag pages to find users interested in that topic.

It’s a great way to find people to follow and engage with. Hopefully, they might then choose to follow you. While you’re on a hashtag’s page, take time to take a look at the top of the page for a list of related hashtags.

Just swipe left to preview them. This feature offers a goldmine of potential hashtags for you to try out. It’s often best to pick ones that fall within a particular niche. That way, there’s less competition than you’d find with the more generalized terms. Plus, you’ll be more likely to connect with followers who could truly benefit from your particular offerings.

3. Check out your competition.

It’s always good to know what others in your industry or niche are doing. Spend some time visiting the profiles of your competitors. This exercise can tell you a lot and help to inform your own marketing decisions.

By reviewing their most-used hashtags you can determine whether you may wish to use the same ones or if researching related tags might be in your best interest. You can also look to popular influencers who are posting about things relevant to your brand for hashtag inspiration.

4. Visit past successes.

Your own account can be one of the best places to find the right hashtags to use. Check out the posts that have performed the best and gained the most engagement. Which tags did you use? Perhaps it was a  geotag, which is a specific tag listing a current location. Maybe it was a hashtag related to a particular holiday or trend. Pay attention to what’s worked for you in the past and look for patterns.

Try to tag future posts following these patterns to see what sticks. Be sure you’re using tags that are most relevant to your brand’s purpose and audience. It’s not advisable to use one simply because it’s popular. Any success with this strategy will likely be a fluke and could backfire on you by actually causing you to lose followers who feel deceived.

5. Create your own hashtag.

You can make up your own hashtags that fit your brand specifically. A tag related to your unique product could find traction as people discover that item. You may also wish to create fun campaigns to gain the attention of your followers.

Contests, giveaways, influencer campaigns and more can all be marked with their own hashtag. While it may take some extra time for people to notice, this type of hashtag is uniquely yours and is most likely to bring you followers who are genuinely interested in your business and what you have to offer. Get creative and give it a try.

6. Know your brand.

An often overlooked strategy for finding hashtags is to study your own brand. Hopefully, you know your brand inside and out. You understand its mission and the ultimate purpose you wish to serve with
your product or service. You know the feel or vibe you wish to convey to your audience and potential customers.

Your overall mission is probably drilled deep into your subconscious. In addition, you should have a strong understanding of your targeted customer base, including demographics like age, interests, preferences and more. Even when brands know this information, they can overlook its importance, and that’s a big mistake.

Instead, use this insight to your advantage. Make a list of what your brand stands for, words associated with your overarching message and adjectives that describe your ideal client. Then use those words to launch your hashtag search. You’re sure to find tags that serve your purpose.

These are just a handful of tips for you on how to find the best Instagram hashtags for your account. Marketing research like this can be in-depth and time-consuming, but it’s worth it and should net you the types of results you’re looking for. Taking time to plan a hashtag strategy is a smart decision and will increase your likelihood of engagement success.

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